John Bunting PC Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina coach John Bunting addressed the media during his weekly press conference on Tuesday from the Kenan Football Center…

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"Kyle Ralph graded out at 91 percent this past week against Utah - played a terrific game, he was our co-offensive MVP with Mike Mason, who had those very significant third-down catches.

"Our team did a good job last night putting the Utah game behind us. We're excited about that win, but now we've got to focus on a team that beat us soundly last year. It was a 10-0 game at halftime, a game I thought we were in despite missed opportunities ... but that team absolutely took us apart in the second half. That team was No. 1 in the country last year in total offense in yards per game and scoring offense. This year they're averaging 42.5 points per game and 510 yards per game, ranked 7th and 10th respectively in total offense and scoring offense. So they're very good on offense, again, and their offensive line is one of the best we'll play.

"We'll have to play very, very well to stay in the game with them. Their defensive is extremely active, as it was last year -- very, very disruptive, takes some risks, dog frequently. They've got to two towering outside linebackers that create havoc coming off the edges and their defensive front four is extremely disruptive. We'll be playing against a team that is very capable of blowing anybody out. We need to keep playing the way we're playing, but I'd love to see us play a complete game over there - that is taking care of our business on defense, and try to get better at that, which I think we can. And then run the ball a bit better. And make the throws and the catches when the defense allows and not take too big a risk when we need to make a play. That'll be what it comes down to on offense.

"Special teams was great to see us improve last week and hope we can carry it over to this week. The things we changed personnel wise on kickoffs payed off and hopefully will do likewise again. I thought Trimane Goddard and Quinton Person did a tremendous job at the point of attack, which is where we made a change on kickoff coverage, and Justin Warren and Mark Paschal did a great job for us also on kickoff coverage. With our gunners, Wallace [Wright], Mike [Mason] when he's healthy, Trimane last week, somebody else has to step in there and help us whether it be a Person or Brooks Foster. We get good coverage out of those guys, but our punter did an exceptional job last week with hangtime - I think he was over 4.1 in 3 out of the five or six kicks he had. That's important to our coverage, also.

"We need to go over and play our best game to have a chance to win."

On new LB Coach Tommy Thigpen's influence on Larry Edwards -

"Tommy has a great deal of pride not only as a person, but as a UNC graduate and football player and that has impacted Larry a great deal. That pride is spilling over into Larry's continued development.

"Larry's maturing, which for the most part, was his biggest nemisis - his biggest problem. Most kids have some maturity things they have to learn and grow from and Larry has thrived under his leadership. Tommy Richardson has taken to another level under Tommy's leadership. I see Victor Worsley playing better than he's ever played before. I see Durrell Mapp starting to grow. Chase Rice is going to be a good player. Tommy's affecting all of them, but he's had a dramatic affect on Larry because Larry has really and truly bought into doing things right. ... He's become a much more disciplined person."

On Edwards' physical play against Utah -

"He demonstrated that against Wisconsin. We had him set the edge against Wisconsin and that fierce running game that they have and he did a tremendous job. ... He's playing really, really fast right now and he's very physical. He's a tremendous blitzer - he's going to make things happen and we need to keep trying to put him in position to make plays because he will do that. He plays really hard - absolutely wears himself out on the field both in practice and on game day. Which is one of the reasons he's getting better - he practices really well."

On the improved defensive attitude -

"I think the whole defensive's [improved] attitude is [evident] on the practice field. We went out last night and I see things that I haven't seen before in terms of a Monday night - everybody's in body position, everybody is working hard to play in the scheme and be fundamentally and technically sound. They're gaining some confidence and really enjoying themselves."

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