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September 4, 2012

Fastbreak football

Do not be surprised if Coach Larry Fedora appears similar to Roy Williams on game day, waving his arms and yelling, "Faster, faster."

The new Carolina football offensive scheme is a lot like adapting Williams' philosophy of running at every possible opportunity to the football field.

Call it fastbreak football.

"Our tempo was still not close to where we want it to be [against Elon]," Fedora said. "Hopefully we identified some of the problems and with Bryn [Renner] having a sense of urgency between plays. We want to get the ball snapped as quickly as possible.

"The transition time between plays, on average, the officials are going to be able to set that ball somewhere between six and eight seconds from the end of one play to when it's ready to play. We would love to get it snapped at that point.

"That means we have to get back to the line of scrimmage, in a new formation and have communicated the play and snap count and get it gone."

Just as it is the point guard's job to move the offense as quickly as possible for Carolina basketball, Renner agrees his responsibility is to get this offense in gear and going.

"It starts with me," Renner said. "It is something I had to get used to in a game. I thought I did better in the spring game than I did on Saturday.

"I got kind of lackadaisical where I wanted to watch the play develop from scrimmage. That is a bad habit I was in from last year when we were able to huddle."

Running back Giovani Bernard said the team saw on film how it can easily run more plays.

"We can get a lot faster," Bernard said. "There were four or five times we could have gotten another play off."

The word run is key with this team, which begins with the offensive line. This line is blessed with a huge, talented group of experienced players. If this group can remain healthy and continue to improve, the possibilities for the offense are enormous.

"They know and I know that everything is because of them," Bernard said. "[Offensive guard Jonathan Cooper] had two or three amazing blocks. When we watched the film, we rewound it five or six times. [Left tackle James] Hurst had an amazing game. He is that blindside kind of guy.

"Travis Bond lost like 30 pounds, and he doesn't look as tired as he did."

The spread offense evokes thoughts of passing because it puts so many wide receivers on the field. But Fedora's offenses have been truly balanced, and so were the Tar Heels in week one against Elon.

UNC ran for 243 yards and threw for 281. The weapons at offensive coordinator Blake Anderson's disposal appear to make these guys an ideal group for this offense.

This may be the best line at Carolina since the Bill Dooley groups in the 1970s. The running backs are potentially the top group collectively since the 1990s. The wide receivers are young, but as a unit they appeared promising on Saturday.

Then there is Renner. He has a great arm, a competitive spirit second to none, and now he has experience now as a collegiate starter.

The Tar Heels could not be in better or more eager hands.

"I threw 13 interceptions last year, so that is one thing I am trying to change," Renner said. "I have to be a good game manager and protect the football first.

"There are enough skill players around me if I do that for us to be a good football team. The more we run plays and the more we run tempo like we want, the more confident we will feel."

This opportunity, this position is what Renner has spent his young lifetime working toward. No one will take the idea of improving every day more seriously than he will.

"This is my fourth year here from my redshirt year to now," Renner said. "It's actually been a dream. As a little kid, you get excited. You want to be a college quarterback. You want to have that spotlight. You want the pressure to be on you.

"I've welcomed it. I've been waiting for this the whole time, so I don't want to give that up for anything. I don't take any day for granted, but it is a dream come true."


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