The rebuilding Heels showed glimpses of their vast potential in the spring game, writes Andrew Jones.
By ANDREW JONESFS Carolinas
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Led by third-year starting quarterback Bryn Renner, North Carolina's Blue team clobbered the White team, 34-10, in the
Tar Heels' annual spring football game on Saturday at Kenan Stadium.
UNC played two quarters as if it was a real game, though the punts included just the snapper and punter. The last two quarters were played with a running clock before the announced crowd of 15,000. Here are a few things to take away from North Carolina's game:
1. Coach Larry Fedora said he isn't comfortable with his team's depth at any position
Fedora could have just been talking about Saturday's event itself, as several of UNC’s top players did not dress.
In particular, though, he couldn’t have meant the tailbacks. That group is deep with Romar Morris, A.J. Blue, Khris Francis, and T.J. Logan coming in this August. The second-year coach could not have meant wide receiver, either.
UNC has plenty of talent at receiver, with sophomore Quinshad Davis leading a group that also includes Sean Tapley, (six catches). Many of the Tar Heels that will run pass routes are a bit inexperienced, but Tapley says having a veteran QB like Renner will help speed up the process of lifting so many gifted receivers to his level.
Seventeen different players caught passes Saturday, even with some of the best receivers sitting out.
2. True freshman quarterback Mitch Trubisky is as quick and fast as advertised, and he definitely has potential as a passer
Trubisky, who enrolled early in January, started for the White team, UNC’s second team on offense. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Trubisky struggled throwing the ball when on the move and the speed of the game appeared to be an issue at times. He did perform better when with the first unit for a couple of series in the second half. He threw a touchdown pass then, but was picked off on the next possession.
A native of Mentor, Ohio, Trubisky was a four-star recruit and 15th-best quarterback prospect in the class of 2013, according to Scout.com. He was also named Mr. Football in Ohio last fall.
"I didn’t not expect him to pick things up and grasp the offense as quickly as he did and command the offense as he has, which is tough for a kid to do," Fedora said about Trubisky.
3. Kareem Martin had a sensational spring game
Martin registered seven tackles, six for loss of yardage, including four sacks. Those six TFLs caused the opposition to lose 32 yards.
Saturday heroics aside, Martin also had a very good spring. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound senior must be a consistent producer for the Tar Heels, as they must deal with losing some of their best players from a year ago.
Martin should be ready, though. He was thrust into a starting role in 2010 because of attrition hitting the Heels. This year is his final go-around.
For his career, Martin has 96 tackles, 25 TFLs, eight sacks, 10 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
Star Watch: Romar Morris
Romar Morris isn't Giovani Bernard, but the talented sophomore tailback offered more than a few glimpses of why he can have a big year.
Morris carried the ball 15 times for 80 yards and a touchdown; he also caught two passes for 25 yards. He runs hard, uses blockers well -- something Bernard did really well -- and is a receiving threat. Morris converted a few bubble screens into nice gains, churning those wheels.
Last season, Morris also ran for 386 yards and two scores, while catching 12 passes for 204 yards and two more touchdowns.
"He's a guy that take it from goal line to goal line," Fedora said. "There are only so many backs out there that can do that ... Romar's not going to get run down from goal line to goal line because he can explode."
Impact Player: Bryn Renner
Renner is poised to have a special season; and if Saturday is any indication, he's well on his way to achieving that goal.
He threw one ball that might remind fans of his old gunslinger ways, and it was picked off in the end zone. Otherwise, Renner was excellent and quite efficient, completing 16 of 27 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns.
Renner completed a bunch of short stuff and only threw the ball downfield several times. But the Virginia native was also working with a lot of reserve wide receivers.