First Practice: John Bunting Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Tar Heels head coach addressed the media following the first day of practice...

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Best opening day yet at UNC?

"My first year, knowing what we had on defense that was pleasant, but this has been exciting to watch this group of players because they have great leadership. And I have a very good recruiting class -- this freshman class -- is talented, you'll see it right away they've got speed and size and numbers and talent ... it's pretty exciting to watch those kids work."

Do you often work extensively with the LBs like you did today?

"Since Tommy Thigpen has been here, yes. Work work together, he lets me coach a little bit and that's fine - I get very excited as you might have guessed."

Can you talk about your concerns with depth at QB and RB?

"Concerned, yes. Same thing I said 6, 4, 3 months ago. We're concerned at the depth at quarterback - we'll what happens with Roger [Heinz] and Joey Bozich to see who can back up Matt [Baker]. And there are a lot of freshman who have played running back across the country every year. One of these guys is going to step up, it's just a matter of who. We're going to give them plenty of opportunities."

You have seven quarterbacks out there with the red jerseys on - is that too many?

"They are going to work with the defensive guys primarily, they'll help us out throwing balls to DBs. They are also guys who a couple of them will work on scout teams, punt rushes, being wide receivers, being tight ends. They are great kids that have worked hard in our program and deserve to be at our camp."

Paschal's at linebacker rather than fullback?

"That's where I'd like to start him at because it gives him the best chance to help us on special teams. We'll see if he has the change of direction and the tackling mentality you have to have to play special teams. If he's going to help us this year, it's going to be on special teams."

On Skip Seagraves being here --

"What a price he paid, his parents and everybody getting involved with getting him a sixth year, really worked hard to get it done. I said from the beginning, 'He deserves it, but that doesn't mean he's going to get it.' He worked very hard to do things right and it paid off - I'm hoping he has a great training camp. He's a great kid and has a lot of talent."

What do you want to see the defense do this year?

"We need to stop the run and then we need to get off on third down and then we need to create more turnovers. I have a little bit more depth at defensive line. I think back at where I was in 2002-03 and watch the front four today and it's a world of difference. I look at the linebacker situation in 2002-03 and where we're at now and it's a world of difference. I'm excited about where we're at right now with that front seven, we have a chance to stop the run. We have enough speed to create turnovers, but we've got to get off on third down. ... This defense should be much improved [from last year]. ...

"Larry Edwards killed it in the conditioning tests this year. What a difference from last year to this year. A little bit more serious about his conditioning and it paid off. He was probably a leader of the combo group, which is the linebackers, tight ends and running backs. He led the skill guys in the conditioning drills. This guy's got talent, Tommy Thigpen's done a terrific job with him and he's got a second life and I'm hoping he takes full advantage of it because he's got a lot of skill and can help us on all downs, but particularly second and third down."

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