John Bunting PC Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Nestled in between the spring recruiting period and the coming camps and summer workouts, UNC head coach John Bunting hosted his annual summer press conference from Kenan Stadium on Wednesday. Listen to the audio and read some of the transcript excerpts here...

LISTEN (37:56)

"I think we had a great spring, our spring recruiting is going extremely well - I think that's evidenced by four commitments in this state. We're off and running there and I expect that to continue throughout the summer. ...

"Matt Baker, Chase Page and other players on the offensive and defensive side have really taken a major step forward in terms of leadership. This will be the largest number of seniors I've ever had on scholarship -- 17. Had 14 my first year, 10 the following year and then 13 and 13. We've got 17 seniors on scholarship here now and I'm really excited about their leadership."

On Darian Durant's departure -

"I can't tell you how much I'll miss him. I miss him already - I missed him the minute that game was over in Charlotte and I told him so. That was hard saying goodbye to him - real hard. And all of our team is watching and hoping for the best for him in Baltimore. We don't have Darian anymore - we have Matt Baker. Matt Baker's a one-year starter for us. I think he'll have a tremendous year. Gary Tranquil has had tremendous success with one year starters before. ... I have confidence, and Matt has confidence ... Matt has great leadership skills. We get the right people around him, we protect him, we get the running game going, Matt Baker will be just fine.

"Matt has seen a ton ... he grew a great deal during the spring and he got better."

On Skip Seagraves' health -

"He is back full go. He is ready to go. He's doing everything the other players are doing at this point. So he is full go and without pain and has been turned loose by the training staff as of last week."

On hopes for Barrington Edwards this fall -

"I had never seen what I saw last fall in terms of a player participating like he did on the scout team. Every day it was his game day and that's how he took it. And quite frankly, at times, he torched us. And one thing about Barrington, he was one of those days who would like to talk about it, too [laughs]. He did a tremendous job, he was very impressive. ... This past spring he was very impressive, still needs to learn our offense, our routes and our protection schemes. So he's got a lot to learn. This summer will be extrememely important, which I've stressed with him, for him to learn our offense so we can count on him to start our season at Georgia Tech.

"He's a slasher and also has some Chad Scott in him in that he can evade and make people miss. He's powerful, whether he's durable remains to be seen, but he's given me the appearance that he can take a hit because he's a big back. He may not have the Chad Scott breakaway speed."

Importance of a strong start for the defense -

"In order for us to have a good season, our defense has to get way away from being ranked in the 100s. What we saw in the last four games after Utah was a defense that started to know what to do - played together, more more organized and more disciplined. And we saw probably half of that in the Tire Bowl against BC. Two things happened in the second half - we started making a lot of mental mistakes and then we got worn down. ... We must be on top of our game to start the season against Georgia Tech and then Wisconsin - to play as good a defense as we have since the first year - to give our team a chance. ... Our front, which is as good as it's been since our first year, we should be much improved up there. The linebackers? I think we'll be much better. There's competition at those positions now. And if we find a strong safety to replace Sensabaugh, we'll have a sound, sound secondary."

On scheduling -

"A lot of the scheduling was done before I got here and you know I like the challenges we've had on our schedule. I'm glad we played at Oklahoma - I think it helped our football team that year. I can't say I'm glad we played Utah last year [laughs]. We played what most people believe was the No. 1 schedule in the country last year and they're now saying we're playing the No. 1 schedule this year and I can see why - we dropped William & Mary and picked up Wisconsin.

"Nobody knew this ACC [expansion] was on the horizon. We want to play a national schedule. I love the fact that I've been able to sell in recruiting that we've played Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Utah, Louisville and on the horizon is Notre Dame in 2006 and in 2007 is Colorado. I think that is terrific, but we have to also be more sensible now in terms of our schedule. We're playing every year Virginia Tech and Miami - those two teams were on our schedule before ACC expansion because we wanted to play those types of national programs because we should be a national program - and we will be."

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