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Northern Iowa poised to compete behind quarterback Rennie
In a league stocked with big, physical players, Northern Iowa quarterback Tirrell Rennie is a firecracker waiting to explode. He’s the No. 1 reason the Panthers are taking the favorite’s label in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
At 6-foot and 200 pounds, he’s not exactly small. But finding a quicker skill player will be tough to find this season and the Panthers hope a season of experience will pay off.
Last year, Rennie was the first player in school history to run and throw for more than 1,000 yards each.
“He’s a phenomenal runner, a great athlete and does things you can’t teach,” said head coach Mark Farley.
There are things you can teach him, Farley said. An emphasis heading into this season is to improve his passing game and the overall management of the Panther offense.
“Our offense is our offense and it always will be no matter who the quarterback is,” Farley said, “but there is some change with the dynamics Tirrell brings to the table.”
There’s a lot more on the UNI table than just the quarterback. The Panthers led the league with seven selections on the pre-season all-conference team in a poll of league coaches and media.
Defensive tackle Ben Boothby is on the “watch list” for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the outstanding defensive player in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. Rennie is on the watch list for the Walter Payton Award, which goes FCS’s best player.
Farley said receiver Jarred Herring is an anchor on offense. On defense, linebacker L.J. Fort and defensive lineman Darren Branch are back to help erase a first-round playoff loss last year – a first for UNI.
“We have to fight back from last season is my sense,” Farley said.
By: Jeff Kolpack, INFORUM