Bunting: 'I Have High Expectations'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – As North Carolina (2-3, 1-1 ACC) returns to league competition and in preparation for No. 23 Virginia (4-2, 2-2) on Saturday at Kenan Stadium, John Bunting spent a few minutes with the media following practice on Wednesday. Have a read and listen to what he had to say...

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How pivotal is this game?
"Well, it's the first of four of the next five games at home. It's really important. I would not call it ‘pivotal.' Every single game is important and this is really important. I don't know how to state it any better than that. It's a long run in the ACC – six straight ACC games.

"I don't need to go back and talk about Louisville, but it counts for one loss. We didn't play very well. I want to play well every week. I want to get better as the year goes on. With our non-conference schedule done and us playing all of these ACC games in a row. I want to see us compete and win in the ACC. That's what we want to do."

On practice this week:
"We had a very good practice today and I know we'll have a good one tomorrow."

How do you evaluate where you are at the halfway point of the season?
"The Louisville game confused everything. The first four games… I thought we were coming along really well. The Louisville game threw a big damper on that. But just like players, the coaches have to get over that and I have. I have high expectations for this Saturday."

If you get back on track, will you look at [the Louisville game] as a "blip?"
"That's the way I want to look at it. I want us to get back to the way we were playing with great effort, a lot of mental toughness and quite a bit of discipline. We had some errors – things that we can fix. We had some missed assignments, and we had some penalties. And those turnovers are not good. Those things are fixable and are discipline things. We need the effort, we need the mental toughness and we need the discipline of our football program to pick up."

On noon starts:
"Being exposed to the noon starts in the NFL, and playing a lot of them in New Orleans… I enjoyed them and the players enjoyed them. We've had a few here and had a mixed bag with them. We played Virginia Tech in an outstanding game here last year. This year we played a noon game over at N.C. State and won. And we played a 1:30 p.m. game here against Utah and won. So it's fun to play noon games. It's fun to just wake up and go play. Those other games where you have to wait, you just kind of dread the waiting around time."

On the play of the secondary so far this year:
"It's not where we want it to be. It's not. Ced Holt is playing extremely well. Kareen [Taylor] is back on track; he's played very well overall. At the safety position between Mahlon [Carey] and Trimane [Goddard] is not where I want it to be. And we all know, Jacoby [Watkins] has not been the guy he has been in the past. I think we're getting closer every day, and I'm waiting for that thing to turnaround."

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