NFL Draft Prospect Interview – Bryn Renner, QB North Carolina

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Sep 7, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner (2) throws against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

PS: How satisfying was it to beat Virginia Tech?

BR: That was one of the biggest wins of my career.  We beat them my junior year at home.  I think that was my favorite game.  My grandma went to Virginia Tech and my mom and dad went to Virginia Tech and just all my siblings basically went to Virginia Tech and they were all there for the game.    I’ll never forget.  It was a sunny afternoon in Carolina and I could have gone to Virginia Tech very easily and I kind of went against the grain, went against the family and then to beat them and beat them handily was one of my favorite games of my career, obviously.

PS: Was there any pressure to go to Blacksburg or were they just happy for you to go wherever you wanted and we’ll support you all the way?

BR: I think it was a little bit of both.  My grandma still lives in Dublin, Virginia, you know, Blacksburg area.  I think she would have liked for me to kinda go to Virginia Tech, but there was no pressure from my parents at all.  I kind of felt obligated to go to Virginia Tech and I really loved the staff, but was something in my heart that told me to go to Carolina and I’m glad I made that decision.

PS: How is North Carolina different as a football program from when you got there?  Recordwise, you’ve been sort of stuck in the mud in the middle, but how is it different now than when you arrived?

BR: I think everything has changed and I think it’s changed for the better.  Obviously, there was some stuff going on that wasn’t correct when I first got here and that happened while I was here.  The job that Coach Fedora and the whole staff and the whole town of Chapel Hill and how they rallied around our football program and our basketball program with P.J. Hairston this year and just everything that has gone on.

You can’t ask for a better town than Chapel Hill, but I think athletically, we’re still right on the precipice.  I would probably agree with you in the fact that we’re still middle of the road, but with a couple more recruiting classes, I think we can get over that hump.

We need to win that big game.  We need to go on the road and get that victory that we never get.  We’re always right there; close in the ball game, you know, down seven or down three, right there at the end never really could pull away.  But I think having the opportunities to play those games and keep battling and keep scratching and clawing towards the ACC Title is something we’re always going to look forward to as a Tar Heel.

PS: Duke seemed to be that game this year.  If you guys win, it’s 5 in a row and a huge big win late in the year to potentially build around.  It was a one score game that could have gone either way and it just didn’t happen in the end.

BR: The word is like ‘fizzle’.   We get right there and it always just fizzles out and we never take that next step.  Hopefully, in the next couple years, we can take that next step.

PS: What was it like for you to train with Blake Bortles and Brett Smith out in Irvine?

BR: It was awesome.  The experience I had in Irvine was something special.  The guys with Rep 1 did a great of being out there and being a pro athlete and treating you like a pro.  Working with Blake and working with Brett and Keith Priceand those guys; playing quarterback is such a tight fraternity.  Unless you step behind center and make a throw on 3rdand 8 with a guy breathing down your neck, no one can really explain it.  And sharing their stories and sharing their experiences and hearing what they had to say about the game and their knowledge of the game and picking up anything that I could, I think is only going to benefit all of us that were involved out there in training.

PS: In addition to simply rehabbing the shoulder and getting back to 100% with that, what have you been trying to focus on to improve?

BR: Just my footwork.  Having surgery, I know I lost a couple of pounds and my footwork has been in question since I’ve been at Carolina.  And so I really just tried to work with the trainers out there and say, hey, I want to get as fast as I possibly can before entering minicamp.  I want to get as big as I possibly can and then work on my footwork at that weight and at that size.  I think I couldn’t ask for a better weight and size and everything at the combine really fell in place.

PS: Could you beat Brett or Keith in a 40?

BR: I ran 4.87 and I don’t know what Keith and Brett ran, but I think it would be a close foot race with Brett I would hope.  I know I’ve got some pounds on him.  Blake and I had a little bet who would run faster at the combine and I beat him, but he’s got two more inches and then he had one more pound than I did.  So, I was like, that’s pretty fair right there.  I think I’m taking the race right there.

PS: Is that a sore spot for Blake?

BR: Yea, it’s definitely a sore spot.  I texted him the other day and said, hey, how’s your speed coming?  He got a little mad about that, but all of those guys are great guys; just great guys.

PS: Watching the tape, it seems like when your first read is there, your footwork and everything is in sync, but when you had to go to second and third reads, your feet and arm would get out of sync.  Fair?

BR: Yea, I think I would agree with that and that’s something going to the spread, it’s a lot different from being under center the whole time and I think that was a big adjustment for me.  So I did have to adjust my footwork a lot.  I think if you look at my sophomore year, my footwork was ten times better than my junior and senior years just because of the different role that takes and the different offensive scheme.  In the spread, they kind of want a runner threat at quarterback and that’s just not my strong suit as far as running the ball downhill.  Those play actions and those fakes really need to be still in that offense and I think that’s kind of what took away from my footwork.

PS: So you’re a rhythm guy?  3-step, 5-step, plant your foot and go?

BR: Yea, that’s what I got recruited to do with Coach Davis.  My junior year footwork and even somewhat of my senior year, it shows that I can play in the spread and still be successful, so I think I counterbalanced that.  Obviously, I’m a 3-step, 5-step, 7-step guy under center, but the game is evolving and you have to adapt to a lot of things.  What I wanted to show people is that I could adapt to both offenses and have success.

PS: So if Coach Fedora called option, you would basically just cringe?

BR: Yea, you know, it wasn’t my favorite play in the playbook and he would probably tell you the same thing.  It’s probably not what I do best.  The ball’s probably going to get pitched 98% of the time and if I slide and get you two yards, then I think that’s all I’m going to get for you.

PS: You’re real conservative with that goal.

BR: Yea, exactly.  You don’t see guys, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning aren’t running much option and they’ve been pretty well.  You’ve got to do what your offensive coordinator and the head coach want.

PS: Is there a high school or assistant coach you feel has had the biggest impact on your career?

BR: Yea, I think my father.  My dad coached me in high school for four years and just being around him and being a coach’s kid, I think really helped me out and benefited me the whole way.  Just being able to coach me and seeing me since I was coming up in Little League and go to middle school ball and high school ball and being able to coach me and be hands on has really helped me along the way.