John Bunting Press Conference Quotes

Opening Statement: "We are approaching the end of the first half of this season. Our preparation is more probably about us than about them. I mean, we obviously always have to prepare for them [the opponent], but we want to get better. We want to continue to get better on the practice field. There are a lot of little things that happened last week that were evidence of us getting better, but there were a lot of things that we did worse, particularly on offense. We got to correct those because we are too good on offense not to move the ball and score points. Too good, and I say that in a very positive way.

"Defensively, there are things that we did better than we have ever done since the 2001 season. I'm obviously referring to the 2002 season and the first 5 games of this season. Some things, we got better. You know what they are. Two linebackers led the team in tackles last week against Virginia. That is brand new.

"We are excited about playing over there (in Greenville). I have been assured that there will be some interest. So, that is exciting. You guys remember that I spent twenty years in Philadelphia, so I've spent a little bit of time in a hostile environment, my own hometown. I'm anxious for that to take place. We are anxious to have a good week of practice and continue to play these young players and mix them in with some of our more experienced players and go over to Greenville and have a fight on the field.

Q: You talked about a hostile environment, what do you expect there?
A: "I met with my entire East Carolina staff yesterday. You know, I want to make sure that they put everything into perspective. I had a talk with Steve Logan and that was a great conversation with him. Of course he's doing, I think, a television show over there. That is why I was talking with him. I anticipate a great intrastate rivalry for the first time in Greenville. That is going to create a lot of fanfare, and interest and excitement. For some, probably a lot of anxiety. For me, I'm just excited about playing, like I always am."

Q: What would a win mean this week?
A: "We are approaching the end of the first half of the season and I would love to close out the first half of the season with a win because it would catapult us into the second half. That is the way I think about things. I take one game at a time, [and] I do know it is the end of the first half. I think there are some things we have done well. I wish we could have put last week's defensive effort in the first half and combine it with a couple of the other first halves of offense and maybe we would have gone out and played a great second half. There are a lot of variables that go into the psyche in football and you know we are a team that has played so well at times on offense this year, battled to the very end in some games. You know we didn't play very well against Virginia. It's a shame. We picked a wrong time to have a bad output by our offense."

Q: Have you thought about how they can put it together?
A: "Sure have. Finish each play and then play the next play. Don't anticipate, don't look back and don't look forward. One play at a time."

Q: Have you identified why you guys didn't play well on offense last week?
A: "We didn't play smart and we didn't play with enough energy."

Q: Is it hard to get the players to focus on what you can still achieve this season?
A: "You have to go back to what I have been saying from the very first day I talked to you folks. It is twelve, one-game seasons. Right now we are having a bad season. But I got a sixth game coming up here. Let's win this one, let's play well this one. Then we will deal with the next one. That is what this football team is about right now. That is where this football program stands right now."

Q: Darian [Durant] has had two down games in the past three weeks, is that because he is trying to do too much?
A: "Well, I don't ever want to change Darian's competitive nature. I don't ever want to change his desire to win and make plays. What he continues to sometimes wrestle with is trying to do a little too much. What's a strength, sometimes can hurt him a little bit. I mean, it's a tremendous strength that he has. I don't ever want him to change. I just want him to continue to realize that the other players have to help him and he has to play within the game plan and everything will be fine."

Q: What did you see out of the two freshman defensive tackles, Isaiah Thomas and Shelton Bynum?
A: "They made some plays, TFL's. For Bynum, that's great to see him get into the backfield and make a play, that's terrific. Isaiah got some penetration on a pass rush move that was good in the game. He has done something good every single week he has been in there. His repetitions are continuing to increase. He is now up to half the game. That's good, he's going to be a good player."

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