ACC Kickoff: Q&A with Ronnie McGill

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – Always candid and comical, except when he comes in contact with a would-be tackler, senior tailback Ronnie McGill spoke to the league's top sportswriters on Sunday during ACC Football Kickoff. Read and listen to what he had to say…

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LISTEN (36:42)

Can you believe you're a senior already?
Yeah, time flew. I remember talking to [Darian] Durant when he was a junior and all the other seniors. They always talked about how fast the time was moving. I never believed them.

What stands out so far in your first three years?
It's just crazy. I remember I used to go home on Saturday mornings after playing Little League football and turn on ACC Football. Just being able to be one of those people on TV and having little kids come up to me... That's the most amazing thing about playing college football.

What is the team on the verge of doing to correct some of the team's past mistakes?
We're just working doing things more consistent. We do things and we stay consistent then will be back in a bowl. Not having those mishaps. Keeping everybody in school. Keeping everybody focused. Maybe we'll be just like that Virginia Tech table over there.

On UNC consistently being picked to finish low in the polls during his career:
Every year since I've been here we've been picked to win one game. We went 5-6, so I guess this year it's been a little bit better. We're getting a little bit more respect. We're not going out there to try to prove everybody wrong, we're just going out there and try to prove what we can do for ourselves and for our team and for our fans. We're not trying to prove any of the critics wrong that would have us picked winning one or two games.

Does UNC have the quarterback to make it happen?
I believe we do. We have Joe [Dailey] and Cam [Sexton]. Cam, he can throw. He got to sit out a year, and that may have been a blessing in disguise. Joe started at Nebraska. He's been out there. He's been around big-time football. So we've got faith in him, too. So if they'll just hand the ball off really good, then we'll play real great.

Has either of them stepped through and become the No. 1 guy?
Both of them have worked really hard. Joe stays in the film room. Cam stays out and throws extra. They do a lot of extra things. Right now I think they're going to take that role and keep panning it out and let Coach [Frank] Cignetti work out and see who he wants going into the start of the season.

How are you physically?
I feel pretty good. Something online… Somebody told me I was hurt for four to five months. So I don't know what that was all about.

Did you wish you had waited to come back this year and still have two years of eligibility remaining?
Not really. I really wanted to play with those seniors, and it gave me just another opportunity to get out there and get on the field. I would have hated to miss the whole season. I would have lost a lot. I would have rather red-shirted earlier in my career than wait until my junior year to do it.

Do you feel like you have something additional to prove this year?
There are a lot of naysayers out there that keep saying I'm just injury prone. But the way I see it is I hurt my ankle and I hurt my arm. That was two injuries, and one of them wasn't even on the football field. I feel I do have something to prove when they say I'm always injured, but it's just two injuries. But they've been pretty bad.

Do you think you're going to get a lot of attention being the only one in the backfield that's been there?
No. We've got a pretty good receiving corps. As long as you've got Jesse [Holley] on the outside catching passes, they can't concentrate too much on you. We've got Jon Hamlett at tight end. He can run over the middle and catch the ball. Both of them take pressure off of you. So I don't think people will be able to just stack the defense and just keep putting eight-man fronts up there, as long as we we've two people we know can catch the ball.

What came to mind when you heard Coach Cignetti's expression of "running downhill?"
I might knock somebody out this year playing running downhill. We didn't even get introduced first. The first thing he said to me was, ‘Are you ready to run ISOs?' To me that just means, getting the ball, going up field and trying to break a tackle or two. It seems to fit right into where I've been playing my whole career with not worrying about getting to the edge, but running in between the tackles. And try and pound them for the first three quarters and then hopefully in the fourth quarter they will be worn out and giving up easy yards.

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