North Carolina’s ‘fainting goats’ prank goes viral

North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora has shown he’s willing to inject a bit of youth and enthusiasm into the program under his tenure. He came in last year as a bit of a Red Bull-fueled energetic character. But can be down with the youth movement, as well.

Last year, UNC wore chrome helmets and this coming year, the Tar Heels will don alternate uniforms. And the team has plenty of fun, too. Quarterback Bryn Renner has never been shy about expressing his emotions on the field, whether it’s through his now-infamous lawnmower celebration or just showing disappointment after a mistake.

Backup quarterback Caleb Pressley, who has made a series of funny videos, poked a little fun at Renner’s celebration with a mockumentary. That emotion makes Renner a prime target for pranks. He’ll react to just about anything that happens.

And he did not disappoint when some of the offensive staff at UNC decided to “punk” their starting QB during practice last season. Renner snapped the ball, and as he dropped back to pass, his teammates — on offense and defense — fell down, as if they had fainted, leaving Renner the only one standing.

UNC director of football and video technology Christopher Luke was reviewing video of a practice — just a normal Wednesday, he said — when he saw the successful prank. He cut three separate angles of the prank, and the next day when the team was reviewing video, everyone had a good laugh at Renner’s expense.

And then they forgot about it.

Luke and the video staff put out videos during spring football, and they were looking for something to fill the offseason. He went to tight ends coach Walt Bell and asked about the prank on Renner. “Oh, you mean the fainting goats?” Bell said. “I have no idea what that means,” Luke told him.

Bell told him to Google it.

“So I type in ‘feigning goat,’ and I don’t get anything. I type in ‘fainting goats’ and pull it up,’ Luke recalled. “(Bell said) ‘Let’s make this video, let’s add to the front of it what a typical day is and then let’s put the inspiration behind it because nobody else is going to get this.'” And that’s why the end of the prank video includes the inspiration for the prank.

The fainting goats are a weird phenomenon where a person opens a multi-colored umbrella in front of a goat, which then stops dead in its tracks and keels over in a faint. Fainting goats. Of course, they don’t really faint — when startled, the goats’ muscles freeze for 10 seconds, causing them to fall over. But it’s still hilarious.

As the video shows, after the prank Renner spiked the ball and ran off the field in mock frustration. But some of the 873,000 or more who viewed the video on YouTube wondered if Renner was actually angry. He answered that charge:

Luke said that while the team does have plenty of fun, he doesn’t have any more pranks or bloopers from practice, soon to be the next YouTube sensation. Of course, it’s hard to re-create the Renner prank.

“It wasn’t one of those where we went out to make it. We were just trying to say, ‘Hey, this is something that’s fun,'” Luke said. “(Coaches) are going on the road recruiting. We’re trying to say, ‘Hey, it’s fun to be at practice.’ It’s not where we’re all just very rigid, practice, practice, practice, no fun. It is fun.”It’s fun to play football, but it’s also fun to be a college kid and have some fun every once in awhile and play a few jokes on people.”

Whether or not fans of opposing teams will be opening multi-colored umbrellas at Renner whenever he drops back to pass next year, though, remains to be seen.