John Bunting PC Quotes + Audio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach John Bunting spoke to reporters on Tuesday during his weekly press conference from the Kenan Football Center. Read and listen to what he had to say...

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PART I (15:06)
PART II (15:20)

Opening Remarks -

"We had two young players making their first starts last week, and they played really well. We had nine players making their first starts, and several of them played pretty well. Others need to get better in their second starts. The team we're playing is obviously the team of the ACC – 14-2, 8-0 on the road – that's a pretty awesome record. It is a team we've played real tight with for three of four halves. The entire game down here in '04 was real tight game – we were one play away from tying or winning. Last year, it was a 6-3 game at halftime. It was an important game to us, and we didn't come out and play very well in the second half. I'm looking forward to having them down here again. I'm hopeful we make that tremendous improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 with our defense. I think we can. Our staff feels the same way. I think our players when were done with practice today will feel the same. We had a good practice last evening. I've always enjoyed Monday night football since we've gone to that schedule. It's been good for our guys to have the entire day Sunday away from football – at least the players, that is. The coaches work on the upcoming opponent. Once again, I loved the way our players responded on the practice field last night, and I'm expecting the same thing today."

On the timing changes and the new rules –

"It just made you a little more urgent in change of possession. That's basically what it has something to do with, in addition to after defensive penalities, they're going to restart the clock again. It's just being more alert, something I talked with the officials about before the start of the game, not knowing how they're going to call it. The big key is when are they going to start that game clock, and of course, it also will kick start the 24-second clock. With those things going at the same thing, we've got two things to deal with. I just think it's an awareness issue, and I think we did a pretty good job handling it. I thought the referees did a pretty good job handling it, too. So I don't think it had much affect on our game. What was unusual in the game, but it was mostly due to the long drives…usually you have between 12 and 13 possessions. We had eight. That's relatively few possessions in a game."

Assessment of the defense after watching the tape -

"I liked some of the play of the front seven. I've already been through this once Sunday night. I wasn't very pleased with the fits, the linebackers and the safeties, and the inability to make a play or two in the secondary when we had a chance. That's what you have to do as a good defense – make up for the lack of precision in terms of fitting the plays, you've got to come up and make a play in the back end, and we didn't do it. So back end, front end, front seven, front four, back seven, we didn't play well. I've discussed that both with the media and the players. Now were moving on to Virginia Tech."

Have you been overly harsh on the defense?

"I'm being very positive about what we can do next game. I'm excited about playing again and seeing what we can do as a defense, because I have high expectations of them. In order to be a successful team, be a good team, to have a championship team, you've got to have great defense. I think we can."

On throwing the ball down the field more -

"That may not always mean a post or go route. We through in the seams a couple of times and we're intercepted twice. Joe [Dailey] threw about as good of a ball, and Jesse [Holley] made about as good of a catch on a deep seam which got us down to the three-yard line. That's a part of our offense, but, once again, we'll take advantage of what we get. Rutgers' scheme in some ways is a lot like ours, so there are some three-deep things that are sometimes hard to throw deep on. We tried to throw it deep in the seams, and we were successful a couple of times – Brooks Foster on a dig route, and of course the seam to Jesse. That's what we were looking for on the two INTs."

On getting more playing time for Durrell Mapp and Victor Worsley -

"We practiced Mapp last week, and as everybody knows, he was a player we had projected as our starter at the WILL linebacker position going into the season. But when a guy doesn't practice all during the summer, it's going to be hard to play. He practiced more last week. We'll see how much he practices this week. If he practices more this week, he'll play more this week. I had intended to practice and play Victor more in the game, and we didn't get that done. That's our fault as coaches. You're looking at the guy that didn't get that done - me. We'll see to it that Victor gets some more reps this week and he will get on the field and play. We're not giving up on those other two players at all. They are our future also, they are good players, and they will keep playing."

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