UNC-ASU: John Bunting

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--UNC Head Coach John Bunting spoke to the media following his Tar Heels' heart-breaking, last-second loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Opening remarks:

There are a lot of disappointed players down in that locker room right now, and there are a lot of coaches disappointed for them. They've all been working extremely hard to get better every week. To play a team like this that is pretty good and to play them as tough and as long as we did--it's a long game--to lose like that is extremely disappointing.

I'm proud of every one of those kids. They competed, they played their hearts out. I'm very disappointed for our fans, who have been so supportive through this long streak. It would have been a melodramatic win with the passing of Charlie 'Choo-Choo' Justice, but I'm sure he's up there looking at us and saying, 'You'll get there.'

A number of people approached me after this game to tell me how proud they are of what we've done, the direction we're going, and how hard our team is playing, and how well our coaches have coached. I appreciate their support.

I was in a room full of Choo-Choo Justice Era players. To a man and to a woman, everyone was extremely supportive of what we're doing. I wish we had another win or two to show for our efforts, but we don't so we will go back to work tomorrow and try to get better this week. I'm proud of those kids.

What are your thoughts on the third-and-one play where you didn't get the first down at the end?

We needed two feet.

What do you think went wrong on the punt coverage? Was it a good play by their guys?

They were in their wall return team. We played our fannies off on special teams. We did a great job, with the exception of that one play, and it hurt us. It gave them better field position.

What went into the rotation for the punters?

We want to keep punting David Wooldrigde. He has a big leg, and he's going to be a great punter here. Coach Webster and I talk about those strategies. We thought there was a time to punt David. He is a little bit slower than John. At the end, when they are coming after us, we want to get that ball out of there. Between Greg Warren and John Lafferty, that's a speedy operation time.

When a ball is dropped by the opposing offense, what do you tell your players to do?

In terms of a backward pass? Absolutely. Let the official make the call. Always go cover that ball.

What were they able to do to keep your offense on the sideline?

Many times, offensively, we didn't move. There were too many three-and-outs. That's the #4-ranked quarterback in the country by NFL scouts. I talk to those people all the time. He's pretty doggone good.

They ran the ball at times on us. Other times we played well. Again, that's a young team out there playing, and they are going to make some mistakes. But that guy can throw the ball and make first downs.

Larry Edwards had another good game.

He's a special player and plays with a lot of enthusiasm. I think he's going to be a great player for us--and we got Fred [Sparkman] some snaps today. I am always anxious to watch the tape to see how they played. Occasionally, they are going to break down, take a wrong step here, fill the wrong hole there. It will happen, but they will get better and better as they play because it happens really fast out there. What Larry does so well is that he can make a false step and then recover because he has so much speed.

Is this the most painful one of all, because of the way it ended?

It might be the most painful loss of my entire life. The Super Bowl was pretty tough in 1980 because you never know if you are going to get back there again. But we'll be back. This football team will be back. This football team will be ready to go down to Clemson. This coaching staff and football players will get ready to play again.

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