John Bunting Quotes + Audio

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

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LISTEN (22:36)

Opening remarks:
"Two-game season. Let me start by saying that the game we played the other day, usually in a big game like that, one team wears down physically or surrenders mentally. People write a lot about Texas and USC, but that was actually was a hell of a football game for people to watch. Two desperate teams playing really hard. Instead of it coming down to three or four or five games like it usually does, there were probably about 25 plays in that game. And this game Saturday could be very well the same. Two teams that are desperate to win. One has won four, and one has won one. Both teams want to win.

"It's a great rivalry -- we all know about that. It's the last game for our seniors at home. It'll be a great day to honor our seniors. I hope we'll have a great crowd -- they certainly deserve it. They've worked extremely hard this season to be in position that they're in right now.

"I talked with them yesterday about getting over Saturday's game, and the nice thing about it is unlike a big game that you might lose in the NFL playoffs when you're done, the nice part about this is they get to play. They get to play again. They get to feel good again with a win. And to be honest with you, that happens. We need to win a football game to feel good about ourselves again. Therefore, I think by the end of the week we'll be a desperate team again. That's what we were last week, and that's what we need to be this week.

"As far as Duke goes, watching them play, they're a very aggressive team. They do a lot of the same things, maybe a little bit more on defense than they did last year -- they fly around. You watch them on offense -- they're becoming more and more aggressive. Their freshman players are very, very interesting to me. The receivers, terrific blockers, are being coached extremely well. They're very aggressive."

On putting the Maryland loss behing them:
"They do that every week. The thing that I did kind of show them is some other games that I've been involved with is that there might not be another game to play. When you play the Super Bowl and you lose and you're really devastated, you can't play. All you can do is think about it for the rest of the off-season. If you play in a playoff game like I showed them the other day -- we played Indianapolis, bye week, we're 13-3, we're the NFL's leading defense, the No. 1 defense in the NFL. We're 13-3, we have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, lose in the first week. Over. Done. We've got something. We get to play two more games. We've got the most important week of the season this week vs. Duke. We've got a lot. We've got a lot going -- because that was difficult loss. It really was, as I've said. Some people don't appreciate that game for what it was. It was a great football game in terms of ebb and flow and the quarterback taking the ball with 2:13 to go and no timeouts and going down there and having a chance to win."

On Matt Baker:
"It's not surprising to me because I think he has that kind of ability. Due to the fact that he's a first-year starter, I think -- unlike other guys who have started more games -- he may have had some difficulty at the midpoint handling frustration. Frustration from himself, frustration from other players, frustration from not being able to score as many points - because we went through a spell there. Of course, against Boston College, we still didn't score a lot of points. But we scored enough to win, and we controlled the ball, and he had a pretty good game."

On winning back the Victory Bell in 2004:
"I think that was very important. I think they understand the significance of all of that. This is a longtime rivalry, given the circumstances that both teams may have had more or less significance in terms of the records. But it's a big rivalry game, and the players understand that. Important to them is to continue to play well, is to get back and win. I think there's a double reason for North Carolina to be at the top of its game as we go into this game. We're desperate to win, and we want to beat Duke. We don't like losing to Duke."

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