JOHN BUNTING (8:07)
[Practice] went great. We had fun. We had a scrimmage at the end for the guys that are redshirting and other guys who are not playing so much. They had a blast--had a 20-play scrimmage. We also had a good session of 'team run,' which was also live [and] I think our players did a good job.
What did you do differently today than you have been doing during a game week?
Well, this was going back to training camp, which is what I said we would do. So we went ones versus ones, twos versus twos--there was no scout team work. It was all about practicing against each other trying to make each other better, which we do a little bit each week too, but we did more of it today. It was all against each other; it was all against each other. It was all what I call a competitive situation.
Is that something you might have been doing regardless of how the Clemson game went?
Oh yeah. We always do that. It depends on where it falls. If it falls early, we are going too go back to the training camp mode. If it falls late like it did a couple of years ago against Utah--first of all we limped home [and] we didn't have any players to even practice with. So it all depends on where it falls.
After the Clemson game you mentioned that everything else in the program is going the direction you want it except for inconsistency on the field. Can you speak to some of that other stuff?
Well, we are doing great with our kids in terms of the academic side. This is old news, but we don't have one player going into the fall that is under a 2.0 [GPA] so that is one thing. Recruiting is going extremely well.
I think we've had--being able to redshirt a majority of this class is really also a very good thing. I look at these seniors that I have now that I wish I had another year like the Kareen Taylors and the Melik Browns, and the Jesse Holleys, the Jon Hamletts, the Shelton Bynums--there might not be more than three or four more but that is a fairly lengthy list. We weren't able to do that back then; we are able to do it now. I think this class is going to be really, really talented--this class we have here now and the class that we are recruiting right now.
At what point do make the final decision on the guys you will redshirt and the guys you won't?
I think we are done unless we get into some desperate situation. Of course, you know D.J. Walker was injured again. Kareen is fine now. That guy played his fanny off against Clemson. Cooter [Arnold], when he got all those reps, I think that helped him become a little bit more football savvy on that side of the ball. That is the position I'm a little concerned about right now, safety, if we keep losing guys.
Can you talk about when people start focusing on your job and "Coach Bunting" this and "Coach Bunting" that?
I don't listen to that because I know what we are doing with this coaching staff and with these players. We have a lot of football to be played, so if I was to get consumed by something like that I think I would probably absolutely lose my mind.
Right now, it is pretty hard because of the way we lost. I look at that Rutgers game--we let one get away. I look at that Virginia Tech game--we let one get away. We didn't play very well against Clemson--we all know that. I'd like to kind of move on from that game, but I can understand why people would be very unhappy by that performance. But there are so many other things that are going on that are very, very good in this football program.
Do you ever look back at the Miami tape from a couple of years ago, at the Barth kick?
No, and I haven't thought about doing that either, but that's not a bad idea.
Is that something that you would show to the guys?
We are always trying to motivate them in different ways. I showed them a guy paratrooping in here about two weeks ago with no legs today. He paratrooped in here. It was a guy who came in here and spoke. You talk about having some courage--that's how he lost his legs: parachuting. He has the shoes and the prosthetic legs. We are always trying to motivate those guys with different things. I might use that for our players.
I think our players know we've played well after bye weeks. We've played well, for the most part, against Miami. Those are motivating things, but the thing that they need right now is to practice extremely well today--which they did--tomorrow, Thursday, gain a little confidence back.
I was asked after the media session about what would we do. It really comes down to assignments. I talked about trying to reach these guys in a different way so they can respond better. That's what we have to do--we have got to really hone in on the assignments. We had too many busts in that game.
When you look at your defense, do you ever allow yourself to think, "What if we had Khalif Mitchell, what if we had Fred Sparkman, what if we had those guys?"
I don't ever do that, ever. I never even think that way. We have good kids; we have good character on the team, and that's going to help us win.
Do you have to inspire these guys these two weeks? No matter what they say, they've got to be down some. That was humiliating the other day.
Absolutely, but we have a staff that stands behind them, a head coach that stands behind them and believes in them. I have a great deal of belief in these kids. I really have belief in the leaders that were chosen. We just need to get a heck of a lot better over these next couple of days and gain a little confidence back, doing the right things over and over again--the process.
Would you describe your defense as more of a read-and-react or more of an attack-type defense?
We have not been attacking. We have not been attacking, and we have got to change. That's one thing--there are discussions with Marvin [Sanders] and the rest of the staff. That's got to change.
Does that start with the front four more than anything?
No, I would say it starts with everybody. It starts with the front four aligning right and playing the blocks. We need to establish the line of scrimmage better, and then our linebackers need to attack the line of scrimmage much better. The secondary has got to become more aggressive.
What did you see from them today when you got back out on the field after these first four games?
I would say that I saw a team that was ready to go back to work. There were several players that dropped by the offices on Sunday and Monday, saw us, and said, 'We want to get back out on the practice field.' I think they are hungry to get better, which is always a good sign. It gives you a chance.