Saturday practice report

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina scrimmaged on Saturday in a practice session that was closed to the media. But <I>Inside Carolina</I> was in the locker room afterwards and took down the following comments from John Bunting, Darian Durant, Chase Page and Madison Hedgecock.


How did the team look today? "Our defense flew around and played with a lot of energy, which is really good. The defense played with energy and tackled pretty doggoned well for the most part.

"We didn't move the ball very well on offense, but we flew around on defense. What was disappointing most to me was all of the penalties. But I'm not surprised by the lackluster offense, because we've put so much offense in and so many players play."

Do you have more depth at special teams this year? "If we're going to have more fresh bodies, they're mostly going to be underclassmen – true freshmen and redshirt freshmen. So I have high expectations of those guys and I'm hopeful that they will come through for us.

"We practiced live special teams today – which I had never done before until last spring – to see who has the courage to play on kickoff and kickoff return teams. We will be able to judge an awful lot by what we see on tape today. I'm very hopeful that the special teams can be led by a couple of the upperclassmen, but basically be formed by some of these very fine athletes we have in our freshmen. It remains to be seen if they can do it."

Who stood out at linebacker? "The safeties really stood out to me more so than the linebackers. I thought they got out there and made some good plays in space."

Along with Dexter Reid, who is battling for the other safety spot? "Kareen Taylor, Tommy Richardson, Michael Harris and Mahlon Carey are all going to get an equal chance."

How did the running backs look? "They looked OK. Nobody really stood out. Chad Scott probably stood out the most."

Have you been satisfied with the offensive line in practice? "Everyday except for today. Everyday they've been right up there. Hal [Hunter] has done an excellent job developing depth there."


How did it go today? "The offense struggled, but we'll do better. The defense just played well."


What were your impressions of the scrimmage today "It was sloppy. We weren't as focused as we should have been. It's getting down to crunch time, and I think our guys need to quit thinking about their legs and start thinking about the next opponent. Some of the guys weren't really focused. The offense didn't really have the intensity that we need to have."

You seem to have become one of the vocal leaders on the defensive line. How do you think you will do in that role? "Coach [Brad] Lawing tells me everyday that you need to be a leader, because the guys are going to look at you practice and what you do. So I'm just trying to practice hard, up the intensity and be emotional."

How excited are you about getting the season started and putting last year behind you? "It's right here in my gut; it's been eating at me all year. I cannot wait to play Florida State. The pain won't go away until we win. And especially right here at Kenan – we didn't win at home – so we're going to beat Florida State at home and all will be forgotten."


How did you feel about the scrimmage today "It was real humid out there. We had a couple of guys out. Tommy Davis had a hamstring that was bothering him. Jocques Dumas – I guess he got sick.

In what way has the defensive line improved the most since last year? "The defensive line keeps the offensive line off of the linebackers. We didn't do a good job of it last year and we've improved it a lot this year. Our motto is ‘redemption,' and that's what we're looking to do this year."


The following players did not participate in Saturday's scrimmage: WR Adarius Bowman (shoulder), WR Daunte Fields (shoulder), FB James Gibson (shoulder), DE Tommy Davis (hamstring), RB Ronnie McGill (cramps) and ATH Bryan Bethea (concussion).

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