Bunting PC Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina coach John Bunting addressed the media on Tuesday during his weekly press conference from the Kenan Football Center. Read and listen to some of what he had to say…

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LISTEN (19:50)

Opening remarks:
"As the tradition has been this year, I don't want to talk a lot about the past game. We've talked about it a lot. I guess I'll have one more time to do it Thursday night. It could have been a breakthrough game for us if we could have put two halves together. It's a shame we didn't, because I thought we had them in a position where we could, but we didn't. They played really well and we didn't play as well.

"We're playing a team this week with some similarities like the Miami offensive line was, like their defense is – very, very physical up front. There are some similarities in the run game. We're going to have to be at our very best to win. We're going to have to play that complete game that I've been talking about to win. We all know they're ranked. Their offense is ranked No. 3 in this ACC and their defense is ranked No. 4 in this ACC. So we're going to have to play that game I've been talking about – stopping the run, running the ball, converting those high-percentage passes when we can and make some big plays when we can – convert – in order for us to have a chance to beat these guys, because they're pretty doggone good. We need to get that consistent level of play for a whole football game from every phase of our team to have a win this week. That includes special teams. It's still bothersome to me that we had a problem in protection like we did. That's inexcusable. We practice that almost as much as we do snapping the football. I was extremely disappointed and we're going to make some changes there."

Is the size of BC's offensive line as big as you've seen on this level?
"Yeah, they are. I think every one of them is back. They've got a 6-foot-9, 321-pound guy, a 6-foot-8, 315-pound guy – they all played against us last year. The center is back – 6-foot-4, 300. Their right guard is back, 6-2, 325. And the ‘puppy' of the group was a redshirt freshman last year – 6-foot-7, 320. Every one of those guys that mowed us down last [year] in the third and fourth quarter is back."

How much of an advantage is it to have played them in a bowl game last year?
"Well it's one of the things that every player should do – go back and look at last year's game. We as a defensive staff looked at it this morning. I looked at it last night again. It gets a little scary, because they were really effective. But it's reminiscent of last week versus Miami in terms of some of those power runs. So it won't be confusing; that's for sure."

Is Matt [Baker] OK?
"Yeah. He's fine."

What does the offensive line have to do to contain [Mathias] Kiwanuka?
"They have to be extremely sound technique-wise, and sometimes you need some help. So we need what you call a ‘chip,' or put an extra guy over there to assist. He has to be contained. It's kind of like last week against UVa asking me about the ‘spy.' When you ‘rob Peter to pay Paul,' you're giving up something when you do that."

What is it that allows him to be so dominant?
"He's very, very quick. He's got long arms, so he can get his hands on you when you might not be able to get your hands on him. So he's got some ‘gifts,' and he plays hard."

On preparing for the final four games:
"I think an advantage we have is that we know exactly where we are. I think we know even better this year what kind of football team we are. I think there is still lots of improvement we can do, particularly offensively. It will take execution from both our quarterback and our receivers. We need more production out of receivers beyond (Jesse) Holley and the tight end. There's been a bit of a disappearance over the last couple games and we need more production out that element. I think we're starting to get our run game back, which is good, so we'll have more balance. There's no doubt in my mind that we can get that done. We've got good enough players to get that done."

On BC's defensive success against the run:
"They do, as well as anybody on a consistent basis, what is the most important thing on defense - play hard. They play smart, but they really play hard. They're physical, and that's the way the game is supposed to be played, and they are really good at it."

On the mood surrounding the team:
"I think coming off the (Miami) game, there was a sense of, ‘We were that close again,' and ‘That was a great team and we had a chance.' I think there was a sense of despair and frustration, but after reviewing the tape with both the offensive and defensive coaches, I can remember the words of Marvin Sanders: ‘Those guys will be back and ready to go.' And last night, sure enough, they were ready to go again. I fully expect today, coming off Monday night, that they'll be ready to go. They are a group that's resilient. They are a group that has great leadership, and I fully expect that they'll be ready to go. They know that they have a chance to win."

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