With 30 seconds to go, two timeouts, trailing the seventh-ranked Clemson Tigers by seven points, and the defense handing the ball back to the UNC offense with spirited play after a UNC turnover, Interim Head Coach Everett Withers had UNC quarterback Bryn Renner take a knee to close the first half.
Withers' decision stuck out like a sore thumb. And if Lawrence "Bubba" Cunningham, UNC's new Athletic Director, has anything to do with winning and never giving up, he is likely to find this decision very fateful for Withers.
There was no excuse for this decision. Yes, Renner had been inconsistent. And yes, the offense was sputtering.
But for the morale of the team, the well-being of the offense and team, and the future, Renner and the offense had to be given the chance.
This effectively concluded the game. Clemson knew that UNC had no confidence. And UNC knew the coach did not trust the offense.
The second half was a mere aftermath of the last 30 seconds. Clemson went on to win decisively.
And Withers has lost a permanent head coaching job.
Some may claim that Withers had no choice. That despite two timeouts, UNC could not have scored and risked another turnover.
But the most important part of a football team is confidence which, along with tempo, is missing from this post-Butch Davis era.
There is great danger that UNC will have lost their confidence for the rest of the season based on this one decision at the end of the first half.
And Withers could well have lost his head coaching job.
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