Miami is 'Scary'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina will likely have the services of four-year starting quarterback Darian Durant when it meets fourth-ranked Miami on Saturday, head coach John Bunting said during his Tuesday press conference. There was no news on the three indefinitely suspended players.

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There is not a white flag currently flying at Kenan Stadium and Bunting promises to have his team ready. But few give the Tar Heels (3-4, 2-2 ACC) any chance of defeating the Hurricanes (6-0, 3-0 ACC).

"You have to be near perfect in your execution," Bunting said. "One thing we can do beginning this Saturday, is play better. I think they're extremely similar to Florida State…they may be a little faster."

Carolina is 0-3 in games following a bye week, since defeating then sixth-ranked Florida State in 2001. Miami, coming off a 45-31 win over N.C. State last week, is the only ACC team still unbeaten and one of seven teams nationally without a blemish on its record.

If UNC could pull the upset, it would be the highest ranked team the Tar Heels have ever beaten. The aforementioned win over FSU now holds that distinction.

Bunting said he did watch most of the Miami-State game live and then caught it again on tape.

"It was just as scary on replay," he said.

Carolina held only minimal workouts from a physical standpoint last week, Bunting said. The Tar Heels did practice on Monday, and the coach said he was pleased with his team's effort.

"We accomplished some things as far as all facets of Miami," he said. "We went out and I thought we had a pretty good practice [Monday]. We'll get back to [physical] practice today."

  • Miami return specialist Devin Hester is a major concern to the Tar Heels' special teams. He leads the Hurricanes in all-purpose yardage. He has four returns for touchdowns this season, including a school-record 100-yard runback of the opening kickoff last week at N.C. State. The return was more like 105 or 106 yards, but NCAA stats only recognize it as a 100-yard return.

    "Devin Hester is a guy you have to be aware of," Bunting said. "Everybody is going to know where No. 4 is. We would intend to kick away from him, but I'm not going to kick it out of bounds on the opening kickoff."

  • Durant, who sprained his elbow against Utah and didn't return to the game, is expected to be ready to play against Miami. Bunting said he was happy with the way Durant was throwing the ball on Monday.

    "He threw pretty well," Bunting said of Durant. "He's got a little pain, but about everybody playing football right now has some pain."

  • With the injuries to tailbacks Jacque Lewis (back) and Ronnie McGill (ankle), Bunting said that Daytona Beach true freshman Vince Wilson should play. He also said that Madison Hedgecock will continue to play tailback, as well as fullback.

    "[Wilson]'s learning," Bunting said. "He's tough and he's young. That's all he is -– young."

  • Mike Mason has been moved to the "X" wide receiver position, in an attempt to make the best use of his speed and get him more involved in the offense, Bunting said.

  • Larry Edwards will remain at the MIKE (middle linebacker) position, and will be spelled by Doug Justice.

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