Ronnie McGill Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--Tar Heel running back, Ronnie McGill, spoke with media members about his return to action Tuesday after practice.

How does your possible return this week compare to what you expected?

They set a plan and they talked to me at the beginning of my injury and were telling me a time frame, but I wasn't sure when it was. Last Thursday, I think it was - maybe it was game day - I talked to them and they said I was doing pretty good so I could get out there.

They want me to practice to see what I can do this week and see if I really can play. It's not set in stone yet whether I'm going to play or not. I still have to go through this whole week and see what happens

Was there any stiffness or pain where the tear was and the surgery was?

No, it feels normal. The only time it ever bothers me is when it's really cold in my room.

Looking back at the way you have played in the past, what percentage can you be of your old self this week?

It's not my legs so I feel like I can be 100 percent as far as running the ball. I can take a shot on my arm (patting left shoulder) so that's not going to slow me down either, and I carry the ball in my right hand so I'm just about tip-top. Just the fact that I had surgery and I can't move my left arm too far back, that's the only thing that really slows me down.

Have you gotten back on the bench press yet?

Dumbbell bench press - they told me I'm not going to use the bar just to make sure that my right arm is not taking over and trying to help my left arm too much.

So there were no problems today - everything went about as well as it could?

Except for conditioning at the end of practice, which nobody really likes. We ran some gassers, and they hurt.

Even though there was no tackling, when you first got hit were you a little apprehensive about it?

That was last week. They just wanted me to see if I could pass block a little bit. The first time I sort of thought about it because the guy was running down on my left shoulder and I knew I was going to have to stand up there and I did that. It was fine; I just had to readjust my brace. Besides that, I haven't thought about it any.

Coach Powell said that the first time you carried the ball that you did a spin move and got away against this defense. It sounds like you haven't missed a beat almost.

Last year it was my foot that I hurt - if you hurt some part of your leg you have to get [back] the ability to be able to run like you used to. Since it was my upper body, I could still do everything up until this point with running. Making cuts and everything, there is not a difference. I feel the same as I used to. I don't feel like I lost anything when I got hurt because it was my upper body.

Now that you are not coaching anymore, will you yell at yourself if you make a mistake?

I'm not coaching anymore, so I can't put any pressure on myself. I'm pretty sure they will be screaming enough at me, so I don't need to scream at myself.

Coach Powell called you "the catcher" because you catch the younger guys and give them a hug when they get yelled at over something. Who is going to catch you?

It's me - I have to catch myself. Or Rikki Cook could do it because he has been through it too, just to make sure the younger guys don't see me going crazy in there and say, 'You were acting crazy, and you didn't stop yourself.'

Do you think that if you are ready that you should start Saturday, or is it better to come off the bench in this game?

I don't really know [the answer to] that question. That's on the coaches. I haven't been out there, so in some respects the other backs should get the chance to start. But in the same sense, it's whoever looks the best out there when it is time to play. That's a hard question to answer.

How did the discussion with Coach Bunting go yesterday?

He sat me down and he started talking. I listened, and then he talked some more. Then he said, 'Are you ready?' I said, 'I'm ready.' He asked Coach Powell if he was ready, and he said that he has been ready. Then we started talking about something that was on TV, and that was basically it.

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