Bunting: 'It is what it is'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina head coach John Bunting met with the media on Tuesday fielding tough questions concerning the recent indefinite suspensions of sophomores Adarius Bowman, Fred Sparkman and Isaiah "Puff" Thomas.

Full Press Conference Audio (29:06)

While Bunting explained much of the process will be kept in confidence, he didn't leave much hope that either player would be available to make the trip to Utah.

"This is a process that is confidential," Bunting said. "There is a policy here in place. There have been discussions with the players and their parents. When I have other information, you all will be informed. Until that time, it is what it is. We have 125 players doing the right thing every day. I'm very pleased with the status of our program as it pertains to this."

So as it stands right now, Bowman, Sparkman and Thomas aren't allowed anywhere around the Kenan Stadium except to see the trainers.

Bunting said nothing has changed concerning the players' status since Monday when he released a statement concerning the suspensions. He also said there is no timetable in place for their potential reinstatement at this time.

"It's an ongoing process," he said.

Bunting did say there was counseling available to those players.

While the absence of Bowman will be felt, there are still plenty of options left on offense. But, the loss of Sparkman and Thomas may be the most critical.

"I don't see the season going downhill," Darian Durant said. "‘AD' made a lot of big plays for us, but we've got some guys who can also make big plays. I'm definitely going to try and find Mike Mason."

Bunting said that Kenny Price and Victor Worsley would be moved up from the scout team to help out on defense, while wide receivers Daunte Fields and Wallace Wright would play more of a role.

  • Tailback Ronnie McGill is expected to practice at full speed this week and is listed as a co-starter with Jacque Lewis on the depth chart.

    "Ronnie McGill is going to play," Bunting said.

  • Bunting also said that Madison Hedgecock could be used at tailback again if the right situation presents itself.

    "Madison has earned the right to continue to play there," Bunting said. "I would anticipate him getting a lot of reps in practice this week."

  • Senior strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh aggravated his back while making a tackle on State tight end T.J. Williams on Saturday. There seemed to be a little confusion as to whether or not Sensabaugh would practice today – Bunting said he wouldn't, Sensabaugh said he would – but Bunting didn't think the injury would slow him down too much.

    "I should be able to play Saturday," Sensabaugh said.

  • The return of Larry Edwards to the starting lineup couldn't have come at a better time. Edwards, who recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass, will move to middle linebacker to help out in Sparkman's absence. Bunting also said Edwards, along with Doug Justice and Tommy Richardson would also contribute to the defensive signal calling, which was previously Sparkman's responsibility.

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