Bunting's Sunday Teleconference

UNC coach addressed the media following Sunday night...

Opening Statement
We came out of the game very, very healthy. As you know, it was a very physical game. Looking at the tape, I was very pleased with the offensive effort. We played as hard as we have against Florida State at times. We certainly had some opportunities on those third downs. The 0-for-11 was very disturbing to see on paper and even more disturbing when we watched it on tape. We had plays where we had a guy open, but couldn't get it there. We had plays where we got it there, but we failed to connect – the balls were dropped or whatever. That hurts us. The red zone offense is obviously a concern now two weeks in a row. Defensively we played a little bit better; I guess I should say in the first half where we had a few three-and-outs or whatever. I was disappointed in the long runs. That is something that has really hurt us in the past. It hurt us again the other day, and that can't happen. There are some things we just have to get figured out technique-wise. I though we really competed well in our ‘Cover One.' The only reason we did play a lot of man-to-man was to get an extra guy in the box to guard against the run. But when the runs do break out, they go because of the man coverage. We've got to rework it a little bit this week in preparation for State. After looking at the tape, there are some advantages that we can gain. We're going to work hard this week. It's a big game for us – for the kids. Thus far I feel good about the effort; we've just got to play better."

On the improved offensive effort. Brian MacPherson, The Daily Tar Heel
"I think the game plan for Louisville and the game plan for Florida State are obviously a little bit different, but the execution is what it always comes down to – especially on offense. Our execution in the run game was really quite good. But because Florida State is so good up front, they can do some things to absolutely blow out plays. We were able to get some fine execution out of our offensive line and our fullback to break some runs. That was this week's game plan; last week's was different. It goes week to week."
Did you see any of your younger players who handled the hostile atmosphere any better?
"I think they all handled it pretty well. I think we had them all pretty well prepared. Our older players did a pretty good job of letting them know what it was going to be like. I don't think that was a factor in the game at all. I heard after the game that it was a full house, but I never ever once looked up into the stands to see if it was full, half-full or three-quarters full. I got told later on that it was a full house, but that's just the way it is down there."

Notwithstanding the interception he threw just before halftime, did you think Darian looked a little sharper on his passing; and if so, how do you think that bodes for the rest of the season? Andy Britt, Inside Carolina
"I think Darian had a real good game. It was a tough group to go up against. Our total offense was pretty good against them, and last year it was pretty good against them. Darian also took some hits and I'm proud of his toughness. They are a tough group of blockers and they're very good athletes."
[What Coach was saying there is that 363 yards of total offense were the most ever against Florida State and the passing yards were also the most that we've ever had against them," interjected by UNC football media contact Kevin Best].
The increased number of wideouts seemed to be effective for you and is that something that you'll want to keep trying to do?
"We always have that available. Gary Tranquill is a very creative guy. As long as we block it up, that's what always accounts for the most. Florida State is a team that likes to match it up, play man-to-man and a lot of ‘Cover Two.' So it helped us a lot until we got into that red zone area where they did bring it."

In the red zone, do you need to take a new approach instead of just trying to power it in? Eddy Landreth, The Chapel Hill News
"It's a concern and we're looking at that right now."
Could you talk about this week and the overall impact of the game with N.C. State?
"That goes without saying – this year, last year…"

When you think back to your playing days at Carolina, do you have any vivid memories about playing N.C. State? Robbie Pickeral, The Raleigh News & Observer
"Only about the last two years; that's been all I can remember."
Do you think Ronnie McGill is going to practice this week, and if so, when?
"I think he'll practice Tuesday or Wednesday."

Could you assess Darian's play yesterday? Ken Tysiac, The Charlotte Observer
"I think his play picked up yesterday. I think he was very in touch with the plan. He threw a couple of balls hurriedly, and he would probably like to have those balls back. I think his game picked up a lot. I know this; he was very, very tough against their defense. Our failure on third downs was the result of a couple of different things. We've got to keep working to get our quarterback and our wideouts on the same page."

It looked like Rikki Cook played more than he has maybe ever. What's going on with him and Madison [Hedgecock]? Lee Pace, Extra Points
"Rikki had 17 plays. Madison does a lot of great things for us; he is on every one of our special teams. He does a great job every week. Rikki Cook is a good player, too."

Have you changed holders? Neil Amato, The Durham Herald-Sun
"Yes we have – Jared Hall."
Any particular reason?
"That is just something we felt would be best for the team."

Do you get a jolt of electricity when you're playing the in-state rivals? Do you put more energy in practice when you prepare for a team like N.C. State? Bill Cole, The Greensboro News & Record
"All of our players are always a little bit more intense when it comes to playing N.C. State. That just goes without saying. It carries over when we play Wake Forest. Those are natural rivals. It's historical. It's cultural. It's all right out there for every one in the state to see. That's why when East Carolina is on the schedule, it's a very intense game. That's just due to the proximity of all these schools. It makes it more pleasurable to practice and more pleasurable to prepare."
If Ronnie practices, what role do you see for him?
"It all depends on how much he practices and how well he does when he does practice. But he hasn't done anything since halfway through Louisville."

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