"I reviewed the season with our football team – at times we've beaten a Top 25 team, at times we've come close to beating a Top 25 team. Now Duke's not a Top 25 team and neither are we … it's great we've beaten a couple, but like them, we're struggling to continue to play at a very high level. They've done it at times, they've played a play, a series, a quarter, a half … we played a great half at Miami, but so what?
"You don't take anything for granted in this game. Not one single day, not one single minutes. I think our team understands that quite well. For us to enjoy this football game, we better go out there in the right frame of mind, our week of preparation has been very good, our team is focused is extremely well. I think [the Blue Devils are] coming here with blood in their eye, wanting to spoil everything for us and get a big win for themselves to close out there season.
"These seniors certainly deserve everybody's greatest efforts in the game on Saturday, regardless of how many people attend. Would I love to see a full house for them? Yes. Do I think they deserve it? Yes. Will we get it? Probably not. … It's a 1:00 start, get there, support these kids, they've been through some really tough times and have played hard and competitively and they deserve it.
"Ronnie [McGill] is back close to 100 percent. Ronnie is obviously a tough kid, smart kid, does things right. Last week he was a little off in terms of hitting the holes the way we wanted him to hit it and he wore down a little bit towards the end. This week look for us to play three backs. I want to get Ronnie as many carries as he can – that will be important for us to win. We need to run the football better and that starts up front and then goes right to Ronnie. He's got to make some plays for us.
"I don't want to focus on next year, but I'm excited about what we have returning. I'm excited about the offensive line, I'm excited about the running backs, I'm excited about Cameron Sexton and Joe Dailey battling for the quarterback position, and maybe Joey Bozich can get in there – Bozich has shown he can get better and I'm encouraged by that. We should be a team that is contending here in the next couple of years. We have a much better schedule next year. … We need to bring this recruiting class in and get that done, because we have a great one going, and I ain't stopping …
"This football program is very close to being a Top 25 team - we've beaten two Top 25 teams this year, and could have easily beaten two others that are in the Top 25 ... so we're just going to keep pushing, driving, doing the right thing, making the right choices and getting the right people in the program."
John Bunting Live airs Thursday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.