ACC Kickoff: John Bunting Quotes w/Audio

HOT SPRINGS, Va. -- North Carolina head coach John Bunting addressed the media on Monday from ACC Kickoff at the Homestead Resort. Read and listen to some of what he had to say.

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    PART I (17:33)

    PART II (11:03)

    On first time you met Matt Baker:
    "I can remember him down on his recruiting weekend. I can remember the exact chair he sat in, in my office. And, I can remember the way he handled a very difficult situation. We were in the running for a couple or three top quarterbacks. We had a fallback guy that has had a great career elsewhere. And, I was kind of new to the recruiting part of it at that point. I knew that he liked us a lot, and I was afraid to offer him directly because I was afraid he might accept it and I would lose the other guy. So I asked him to do something very difficult. I said, ‘We like you and I hope you like us.' We came on him late, and I asked him if the other guy didn't commit to us, would he still accept our scholarship offer at that point? And he said, ‘Absolutely.' So it was a very unique circumstance to talk to a young man like that. We followed through – and we didn't get the commitment from the other player. He's done everything we've asked him to do for us since he's been a Tar Heel. He's been terrific. When I think of him, I think about confidence. He has it. I have a tremendous amount of confidence in him. His team has a lot of confidence in him."

    Can you name the "other player?"
    "I'm not going to; no."

    Where is Cameron Sexton at now?
    "He's making progress. He's out of any kind of contraction around his ankle. He's been doing some throwing. He isn't doing any sprinting yet, but he's making progress – significant progress."

    On Baker waiting his turn:
    "Waiting in the wings for a player like Durant is a difficult thing for any quarterback. But he earned the backup position and he's gotten some playing time. He knew that he would be in a mop up situation or an injury situation. He understood that. He's never wavered. He's always had a tremendous attitude and done what I asked him to do. He's a loyal guy, and we've been loyal to him. It's his time, and he is prepared."

    Has his transition helped him become a leader?
    "I think that's part of it. But, last year, he really stepped up in a leadership role along with Darian to get our spring practice more efficient… to demand more of players. He and some of the seniors have done a tremendous job getting our team ready for training camp."

    On last year's turnaround and how it helped the team:
    "We had some good senior leadership last season. This year, we've got 17 [returning] players – real significant players – on our team. And that's real good. Tommy Richardson, Doug Justice…to name a couple of others. Kyle Ralph…to name another. Those guys are real good leaders. They're real good players and solid human beings."

    On Baker's confidence and patience, and have you ever seen it waver?
    "I think anytime you're trying to press and show the coaches, and show your teammates that you are the ‘heir apparent;' I think sometimes there have been demonstrations of pressing too much. But every time he's gotten into a game, he's done well. He's extremely competitive. And I've talked to my coaches…I talked to [Gary] Tranquill and the new coach, Coach [Hal] Brock; he's got all the tools. He's got a strong arm. He's mobile. He's tough; he's athletic."

    On low expectations by the media and fans:
    "I like to have a little fun with that stuff. We're all pretty serious about what we're up against. We know this year is going to be a very difficult schedule. We know we have some strengths and we have some weaknesses. But there is a great spirit on our team. The guys that are seniors now learned a lot from last year's. I know they don't want to go back. With a schedule like that, there could be some close games and some heartbreakers. But the thing that I've talked about since I got to Carolina was changing the culture and the mental toughness. I think we've got some of that. When I think about the ups and downs of last year – what would I like to change – we want to become a more consistent football team and be consistently good."

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