When asked on Monday evening if Renner would start against the Hurricanes, Fedora replied: “Yes, definitely.”
Renner injured his left foot in the fourth quarter of UNC’s loss to East Carolina on Sept. 28. His limited mobility during the next week in practice led to Fedora and offensive coordinator Blake Anderson starting sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams at Virginia Tech.
In his first career start, Williams completed 23 of his 35 passes for 277 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while also rushing for a team-high 56 yards on 18 carries against the ACC’s top defense.
Anderson indicated that Renner (91-of-152 passing, 1,117 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT) wasn’t quite ready on game day in Blacksburg due to an inability to cut off his left foot. But after two days off the following Sunday and Monday, Renner returned to full participation in Tuesday’s practice.
“For the most part, [I] haven’t really seen any signs that anything is bothering him,” Anderson said on Monday. “By the time we really asked him to go full speed later in the week, he was fine. He’s had a good week of practice.”
Renner told reporters his foot “feels great,” while also acknowledging the difficulty involved in seeing his streak of 29 consecutive starts snapped.
“As a competitor, you always want to be out there and help your team,” Renner said. “With it being my first experience on the sideline in about two years, it was tough for me not being out there with the guys. But I think [Williams] did a great job.”
Williams’s performance at Lane Stadium has boosted the coaching staff’s confidence in his ability to deliver a unique look for UNC’s offense in addition to Renner’s more traditional style.
“He’ll play a bit,” Anderson said of Williams. “Every third or fourth series, he’ll go in for a series. He’s got some sub-packages where he’s going to be used. We make no secret – we’re going to use him. He did a good enough job in the Virginia Tech game if you get rid of a couple of critical errors. He creates another dynamic that I think may help the run game a little bit.”
Anderson noted that other schools are utilizing sub-personnel packages with a second quarterback and sees no reason why UNC can’t do the same thing.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” Renner said. “We’ve added some different stuff to the game plan, trying to get a read on Miami’s defense. Any advantage can help.”
Miami currently leads the nation in both passing yards allowed (141.4 ypg) and passing efficiency defense (83.08).