‘We're a 2-2 team'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina will likely again be without the services of sophomore tailback Ronnie McGill this Saturday when the Tar Heels travel to Florida State to take on the ninth-ranked Seminoles.

  • AUDIO: John Bunting (31:51)

    However, UNC coach John Bunting said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday that he expects senior Jacque Lewis to be back to full speed at practice today.

    "Ronnie is progressing, but he is very, very doubtful for this game," Bunting said. "We would have to have a minor miracle."

    When asked if McGill would travel with the team to Tallahassee, Bunting said, "I don't know. I'll have to talk to Ronnie about that. I'd like to have him on the sideline, but anybody that travels better be ready to contribute in another way if you're not out there on the football field."

  • Punter David Wooldridge will return to the starting lineup against FSU, that's already been announced. However, Bunting went on to say that regardless of what happens in future from a legal standpoint for Wooldridge, he will remain on the team in good standing.

    "I have full knowledge of what he did and that's over with," Bunting said. "I know all the facts. There is no question about what took place. It was a bad mistake."

  • It's been obvious to anyone watching the Tar Heels this year that quarterback Darian Durant has struggled of late. Durant, who holds UNC records for career completion percentage (.604), career touchdowns (55), career passing yards (7,101), career total offense yards (7,847) and career completions (568), has not been up to par so far this season. In four games, he has completed 45 of his 81 passing attempts (55.6 percent), which is not far off of his career pace. However, Durant has only thrown four touchdowns to go with five interceptions, and he is coming off his lowest yardage passing output since he became the full-time starter in 2002. And against Louisville, he failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 11 games.

    "If you take a look at the Virginia game and what took place on Saturday, there were four of five plays where if we connect, No. 1, it's a different ballgame; and No. 2, his stats are different," Bunting said. "I know he doesn't feel good about it because he's good, he's extremely competitive, and he's got a ton of pride. But his receivers have got to step up and do a better job also. He's been pressing a little bit – trying to make a big play. Gary [Tranquill] would tell you that his footwork has been off a bit."

  • Florida State has announced it will start sophomore Wyatt Sexton in place of injured senior Chris Rix this week. The Tar Heels offered Sexton a scholarship, but he ultimately decided to play for his father, Billy, who is the Seminoles' running backs coach.

    "It was just hard to beat ‘Daddy' in the recruiting game." Bunting said. "He officially visited us and we liked him a lot."

  • True freshman Khalif Mitchell and redshirt freshman Kyndraus Guy have essentially switched positions this week. Mitchell will move back to defensive end, after shifting to tackle following the season-ending injury to senior Chase Page during training camp. And Guy will move inside to defensive tackle.

    "[Guy] is fired up about it," Bunting said. "It's where he belongs. I've said that all along to my staff. I had a guy in St. Louis like him – D'Marco Farr. He is very quick and very aggressive, all we need to do is put about 15 pounds on him and get him to about 275-280.

    "What we've discovered since [Mitchell] moved to tackle, is that we've not been getting as much [pass rush] production from the ‘three-technique.' We need a quicker athlete there."

  • Finally, Bunting emphasized that despite the level of this week's opponent, the UNC players and the coaching staff are looking ahead, not behind.

    "We as a staff and a team, have put the Louisville game behind us," Bunting said. "We're a 2-2 team; that's the facts. This opponent we have coming up will be the toughest we've faced all year. The defense we played last week was good, but they gave us the opportunity to make plays. [FSU's] defense is not as wild and crazy as what we faced last week; they're just good – real, real, real, real good. They're a better defense this year I think."

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