Q&A: UNC QB Bryn Renner, Part II

North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner has his sights set on an even better season in 2013. In Part II of our interview, he discusses his new backfield mates, where he wants to improve and where the Tar Heels are finding motivation this offseason.

What have you seen out of A.J. Blue and Romar Morris this spring that gives you the confidence they can replace Giovani Bernard?

BR: The confidence factor and playing experience. You can’t replace that. Just getting in live action, having the feel of what game experience is like, those guys split reps with Gio and also had to start games when he was hurt. You can’t replace that. They know where to go, that’s the biggest thing that’s different. A.J. runs the ball extremely hard, a very physical runner. Romar’s an outside speed guy. It’s a good 1-2 punch to have. Replacing Gio is going to be tough, but you couldn’t ask for two more hungry guys to step into that role.

What about at receiver; we saw Quinshad Davis step up last year. How does that group look?

BR: Quinshad has made a ton of progress as far as his work ethic in the weight room, getting bigger and faster. He missed a little bit of training camp and didn’t have a chance to get that weight on him. Him coming back and having that playing experience -- hopefully he can continue to have a big year. But I think, Sean Tapley hopefully we’ll get T.J. Thorpe healthy, guys like Kendrick Singleton, Jack Tabb, Eric Ebron -- we have some receivers that can make plays. The only thing they’re lacking is making plays on a down to down basis. Once we get into the flow of the season and get more reps in training camp, they’ll be able to step right in there and play good football for us.

Everybody expects improvements going into Year 2. Where do you think you can get better?

BR: As a quarterback, you have to be the leader. That’s the one thing I wanted to focus on in the offseason is really taking the offense and dissecting it. Where can I get better? I looked at every interception I threw, and where I could improve. The biggest thing I have to do is manage the game. Coach [Larry] Fedora says it all the time. I think down the stretch I did a good job late in the season, when we reeled off some wins, of just managing the game and not doing too much. The second year of the system you expect to get better and that’s what I’m hoping to do.

You guys were able to stay motivated last year despite knowing there was no postseason. Do you sense any extra motivation now that you will once again have a shot at playing for an ACC title and in a bowl game?

BR: It’s motivated us even more. We had a lot of expectations last year to prove people wrong, that it wasn’t going to affect us. But now it’s at our fingertips, so we’re using last year as a learning tool, of just perseverance. Now we can go after a conference title and have a chance to compete for a bowl game, that’s what we’re looking forward to. Last year, it was tough on us sitting home watching the ACC title game. It put a chip on our shoulder. That’s our expectation every year, but it starts with practice and one game at a time. We can’t look too far ahead but ultimately our goal is to get back to a bowl game.

One game at a time starts with a big one against South Carolina. Have you guys already started talking about that game?

BR: I think you can’t not talk about it. That’s the biggest thing, enjoying the moment. Not many kids get a chance to kick it off against a very good team and a great player in Jadeveon Clowney. That’s what you look forward to as an athlete. So we’re going to use that as motivation and take that into the summer. After spring ball’s over, we’ll have that motivation to work that much harder. So you can’t take that for granted, and you look forward to that happening.

For those who missed it, here is Part I.