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December 9, 2011Shortly after the conclusion of UNC's press conference officially announcing the arrival of Larry Fedora as North Carolina's head coach, THI spoke briefly with UNC quarterback Bryn Renner.
Renner has spent the last three years honing his skills in UNC's pro-style offensive set, but now he'll have to switch to a no-huddle, 'spread' approach employed by Fedora.
Having run the 'spread' in high school in West Springfield (Va.) under his father Bill Renner, the younger Renner is confident he'll make the transition.
He's already looking forward to getting familiar with Fedora's playbook.
"I ran the spread in high school, and I'm used to that type of offense. I'm ready to dive into the playbook with his stuff," Renner said. "I really haven't had a chance to watch Southern Miss. I did watched them a little bit when they watched Houston---they looked great, obviously, upsetting them---and the energy he brings is what I'm excited for. I think it's what this whole team is excited for."
Friday was a bittersweet day for Renner and all the UNC players, as they welcomed a new era and a fresh start for the program, but they also had to accept that Everett Withers, led the Tar Heels to its fourth straight bowl this fall, will soon be out of the chair as head coach.
"The character that Coach Withers has, you can't say enough about it. He's just a great guy, handling all this. It doesn't faze him. And that's what we respected most about Coach Withers, and why we're going to play for him when we play Missouri," Renner said.
Renner mentioned the significance of the UNC players staying focused in the coming days and not worrying about the future until after the December 26 Independence Bowl against Missouri.
After all, the younger players owe it to the Tar Heel seniors to give them everything in Shreveport, because they of course won't be around to play under Fedora.
"I think we're looking forward to the future, but definitely we have to focus on the team we still have," Renner said. "We've talked about it briefly, but really we're just focused on Missouri, and getting this eighth win for these seniors."
Renner admitted that he's going to cherish these final couple of weeks working with offensive coordinator John Shoop and the rest of the outgoing UNC staff members.
It will be an interesting time of transition in Chapel Hill moving from the brief Withers era to the Fedora era over the next several weeks.
Renner is going to be a critical bridge connecting the eras together, helping UNC's combination of veteran, young, and incoming players start fresh in hopes of finally reaching the program's immense potential in the coming years.
"We're looking forward to finishing the season out strong and really just getting this eighth win for these seniors, and to have our staff still around and coaching us in this bowl game and enjoying the time that we have is awesome," he said.