Bunting's Sunday Quotes

The UNC head coach spoke with the media Sunday night via teleconference.

Opening statement
"It's nice to win and it's nice to win at home. It's nice to be 2-1. There are a lot of nice things, but we still have a lot of work to do. If you polled my coaching staff, you would think we lost the game to hear them talk about the way we played. I think we played hard and gave great effort, but we're not playing anywhere close to where we think we need to be in order to be a very competitive team. It's back to the drawing board in terms of getting back into the flow of things. We'll practice on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and try to get better this week. Some individuals played some very fine football for us. It's obvious Jacque Lewis played probably his best game ever. Offensively, we played good, not great. We think Darian will play better. Defensively, Jonas Seawright made some plays for us. Alden Blizzard made some plays for us. Melik Brown probably played his best game for us. At linebacker, Mahlon Carey made some plays. Gerald Sensabaugh made some plays. And the guy that made the big plays for us was Jacoby Watkins. There are some things we did well, and there are some things that we've got to get a lot better on. We've got to just keep working in practice."

How is Ronnie McGill?
"He feels better today than he did last night. That's about the extent of it right now. We're not exactly sure where we stand with him."

You had mentioned on Thursday that Terry Hunter would play. Did he get into the game?
"He did not play. I'm disappointed. I went up to him after the game. I'm disappointed we didn't get him into the game. We'll try to get him in next week. He did not play."

How well did the secondary tackle, and more specifically, how well did they tackle the catch?
"They did precisely that. We had one missed tackle by Jacoby, and then two plays later, he had the big interception. We tackled better the hitches that they were throwing. That's Georgia Tech's favorite passes right now. They throw it well and their receivers are big. We tackled those hitches well."

Can you talk about Coach [Marvin] Sanders and how you're secondary showed a little bit of coming of age yesterday? What kind of affect has he had on that?
"Marvin is a very bright young coach. He has tremendous respect from everybody on our staff and the players. He has developed very good player relationships with him. I think they're playing with more confidence. I'm very pleased with Marvin and the way he coaches. He's a fine football coach."

Is there anything technically that he coaches particularly well?
"He coaches the footwork part of the technique very well. He drills them very well. I think he's very aggressive in his nature with the players, and gives them confidence to play aggressively. I think we're playing with more aggression out there at cornerback. He's also not afraid to make changes to help our defense. Personnel-wise, he's not afraid to make a change when he feels like he needs to sit a kid for a bit. He gets his confidence back and gets him back into the game. We did that with Lionell Green. He did not start the game, but Lionell came in and made a couple of nice plays. I think he did a good job getting Cedrick Holt back on the field. He was a starter for us last year, and I think he's really helped with Cedrick confidence."

Would you elaborate on what you said last night about watching the player's grow up and watching the defense grow up? What specifically did you see? What do you mean by growing up?
"We wanted people like Kyndraus Guy, Khalif Mitchell, Shelton Bynum and Alden Blizzard to take another step forward in their development as players; and play a little more like men and not high school players. All of those individuals did take a step forward. Now we've got to get the linebackers to do the same. We've got to get Larry Edwards to play better and Fred Sparkman to not play like a true sophomore, but to play like a junior. In order for us to get better, that's what has to happen. That's them growing up and learning how to play football better, and that's our job as coaches. It's all relative though, in terms of where they are in their careers. But what we've got to do as coaches is get them to play better and to play smarter and to get them to play more aggressively. That's our job as coaches."

On the contact in practice and whether it would tire out some players and have a negative effect.
"This is a very physical game. If you like football, then you better like contact. The diminishing returns might be if you scrimmage everyday. We went goal line scrimmage for five plays on Tuesday and for five plays on Wednesday. You have to practice hard to be good. That's what we've lacked the first two weeks. We got a little better last week. We got a little bit better on defense, but we didn't play great defense, by the way. We played better I thought."

Will you continue to hit as much this week as you did last week?
"Our practice will be very similar to what we did last week."

You said last night that you wanted to take a look at the tape and see how good some of the inside guys played. Can you comment on some of those guys?
"I've already mentioned Jonas Seawright, Alden Blizzard and Melik Brown. Tommy Davis played really well. But we've got to get better play from the three-technique position. Shelton Bynum, Khalif Mitchell and those guys have some talent, and we're not getting enough out of that position. It's our job to keep coaching them. You're talking about a true sophomore and a true freshman. We've got to get more production out of that position."

After those two possessions in the first quarter where you held them to field goals, could you sense a growing confidence in the eyes of those kids coming off the field after those drives?
"I certainly noticed it in the stands. Our fans were solidly behind that football team all night last night. There was no doubt that gave them confidence. Doing it on the field gave us some confidence, but getting off the field after a long drive and holding them to a field goal after a turnover and six points…that was significant early on and gave us a little bit of a boost."

How about Kareen Taylor? What did you get out of him last night?
"Not enough. It was his first start ever. He's a good football player, but we need to keep coaching him to make him better.

So that position is still open?
"I can't really say if it is. We'll look at that position all week and make a decision by game time – or at least by Thursday. I would say Kareen would probably start next week."

Did you change anything schematically on the run defense since Virginia, or was it a matter of executing better?
"We changed nothing with the scheme. We just practiced better and it helped us play a little bit better than a week ago."

You've talked to us about practicing faster. Has that been something that has been lacking the last couple of years?
"I don't want to disparage any of the players that have played here before, but we have better players than we did in 2002 and 2003. We just haven't seen how good they can be yet. We practiced as well as we could practice last year. Since we do have depth, there is no doubt we can practice better and pick up the tempo in practice. In order to play well on game day, you have to have a high tempo."

Would you say that yesterday was the biggest win you've had since the Florida State game three years ago?
"It was a good win for the fans and a very good win for the team. We overcame some adversity and made some plays on defense. We've hung in there after some tough times early and we've played some good third down defense. That's one thing that we're doing a little bit better this year to date. We're playing well on third downs. Obviously getting turnovers/takeaways…the interception by Fred Sparkman was a great play by him; the interception by Jacoby Watkins, when he went up on the jump ball with Calvin Johnson, was a tremendous play by him; the fumble at the end is a big play; and the fumble on special teams may have been the play of the game. We scored a touchdown. It was caused by tremendous play by a number of players – Melik Brown caused the fumble. Those things really factored into that game; sometimes you forget them. It seems like we played better on defense and we did play better, but turnovers helped us win that football game."

Inside Carolina Top Stories