Renner not running away from run responsibilities
CHAPEL HILL One of the most glaring questions that emerged at North Carolina after Larry Fedora became coach was this: How would Bryn Renner, who fits the mold of a traditional drop-back quarterback, fit into Fedoras spread offense, which works best with a mobile quarterback?
Nearing the end of camp, Renner has impressed his teammates and Fedora with his understanding of the offense. What remains unclear and likely will until the start of the season is his ability to run.
Austin Davis, who was Fedoras quarterback the past four years at Southern Mississippi, ran for 352 yards a season ago, and for 452 the season before that. Renner ran for minus-88 yards last season, his first as UNCs starting quarterback.
Even so, Fedora said Renner and Davis posses a similar ability to run.
They are very similar athletically, Fedora said. Really, I mean by no means was Austin a great runner. Austin was a guy that we felt like could get us 4 yards when he needed to, and Bryn can do the same thing.
So (theyre) very, very comparable that way. Andrew Carter
Blue Devils sporting some Swag and some swagger
DURHAM Upgraded Swag is the term defensive end Kenny Anunike used to describe Dukes new helmets at the annual Meet the Blue Devils day this weekend. But, really, that term could be applied to the way the Blue Devils feel about the program.
I think weve really turned the corner, Anunike said. This is it, this is it for us. Coach (David Cutcliffe) has done everything he could All the pieces are falling into the puzzle. All we have to do is go out there and play.
Playing and earning wins is easier said than done, especially with a schedule that will feature Top 25 teams Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Stanford and two others that received votes (North Carolina and Georgia Tech).
But even though Duke hasnt been to a bowl or turned in a winning record since 1994, excitement surrounding the program is building. More than 1,500 fans came to meet the team, the largest crowd in at least 25 years.
A real Duke football fan has got to go up at the top of the ladder of the most loyal fans in all of college athletics, Cutcliffe said. Its in my heart every year that, for so many people, you want to be successful because so many people deserve that.
Anyone searching for signs of a bright future doesnt have to look further than the pair of freshmen running backs, Shaquille Powell and Jela Duncan. Powell led Duke in rushing in both scrimmages and Duncan turned in a nine-carry, 29-yard performance in his most recent action.
Cutcliffe expects both to contribute this year.
Im not afraid to use either one of them going into the first game, he said. Laura Keeley
Junior college transfers finding way for Pack
RALEIGH N.C. State has successfully mined the junior-college ranks before for help on defense, and the Wolfpack hopes defensive tackle Deylan Buntyn continues that trend.
Buntyn, at 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds, is one of the biggest players on the roster. Buntyn spent the past two seasons at New Mexico Military Institute, the same college that produced former defensive tackle Natanu Mageo.
Sophomores Thomas Teal and T.Y. McGill return at tackle, but with the losses of J.R. Sweezy and Markus Kuhn, theres room on the defensive front for playing time for Buntyn.
Hes a big kid, coach Tom OBrien said after Sundays scrimmage. Hes a guy, whether he gets a third or a quarter or half of the plays, we dont know right now, but hes going to play some.
Buntyn enrolled during January and has been ahead of the learning curve. Progress has been slower for linebacker Robert Caldwell, a transfer from College of the Desert in California. Caldwell missed about a week of practice while his academic record was cleared by the NCAA.
When Terrell Manning entered the NFL Draft, the coaching staff sought someone who could contribute this season, which is why it added Caldwell late in the recruiting process. Now, OBrien said, theres a chance Caldwell might redshirt, despite the need at linebacker.
Hes still swimming, OBrien said. There are a lot of things going on that hes fighting through and trying to get through.
OBrien said the younger players took most of the reps Sunday. The coach released team stats from the scrimmage and said the Pack ran the ball 40 times for 98 yards and completed 16 of 25 passes for 192 yards. The defense had five sacks. Joe Giglio