Bunting Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, NC--John Bunting had the following to say, just after the morning session of day two of freshman practice:

How important is it to get the freshmen away from the varsity and get them acclimated?

"I think it's very important that the freshmen come in early and get to know one another because they are going to be pulling their weight and working together for four or five years. When the varsity comes in—I remember very well myself, it was very intimidating."

Do you change the way you coach the freshmen from practice one to the fourth practice, or is it 100% from the get-go?

"It's something that we talked about. We changed Saturday afternoon's practice a little—we shortened it some. Then we went back to what we originally planned this morning. Basically, we are working on fundamentals. We are working on some of the plays we run on offense—the concepts on offense.

"We are working on a lot of the secondary calls on defense. Mostly, it's technique and fundamental work, and I think we are really learning our pace of practice."

Is it scary putting true freshmen on the field?

"It's always scary. Down in the elevator with a few, I asked if any had escaped in the last day or two. We're going to put a fence up around Chapel Hill. There is some home sickness.

"We had a great meeting with the parents and the freshmen. It's the first time we ever did that. We had the freshman players and parents together on Friday, and I warned them that sometimes this is a difficult experience, and the Mom has to do a good job of cutting the strings."

When the varsity reports, is there a feeling out process with some of the new coaches?

"Well, we had spring to get some of those kinks ironed out. I think all the players that have played on defense know exactly who Dave Huxtable is. They know him to be a fiery, intense, extremely detailed, conscientious type worker.

"I think our secondary guys feel really good—the varsity do—with what they learned and how they were coached this past spring. I think, to a man, they feel like they have gained an awful lot. Obviously, one, because they are in the defense for a second year, but also with the way Jim Fleming has coaches these guys, they have a lot more confidence."

Could you talk about the 1:30 p.m. game time and if you have tailored your practices and scrimmages to that?

"Number one, I do not believe in practicing in the heat of the day. Almost every coach I've ever been around, ever played for, and most of them that I've ever coached with want to go out at 2:30 in the afternoon and practice. I think that's a bad time to practice.

"Jimmy Haslett, when we were down in New Orleans, we went to a two-one-two-one, which I hope that, eventually, the NCAA mandates that we do. I think that would be great.

"That's a double and a single [practice]. Of course, we'd practice early and practice at night and the next day practice in the middle of the day. Now if anybody's been out in New Orleans at 2:00 in the afternoon, you don't want to do that. That one practice was harder than the two.

"What we are going to do for the first five or six days is we'll go out at 6:00 for our second practice, to avoid the real bad sun. Probably, the last hour of practice will be a little cooler. When it's 100 degrees, it doesn't go down much, but that's our objective until, at one point, we'll switch over to 4:00 p.m. The Saturday before Miami will be a 'Miami day.' Saturday we will practice, we will kick off, we will have everything just like we are getting ready to play Miami, from pre-game meal to pre-game warm-up to when we start practice. It will be a scrimmage, less than full speed, and we will be kicking off at 1:30 p.m."

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