Bunting's Sunday Quotes

North Carolina coach John Bunting has reviewed the Miami game tape and is looking ahead to Saturday's match-up with South Florida. Read some of what he had to say to reporters Sunday evening via teleconference.

Opening remarks -

"Going into the game, we wanted to make some big plays. Anybody that's been successful against that defense didn't do it by running. They did it by throwing. With the receivers we had, and despite the fact our quarterback is so young, he was accurate, and we made some plays. We had a couple of opportunities to make some big plays in that game. We didn't come up with as many big plays as we needed to.

"The interception at the end of the half hurts us. To have them go down and score the way they did is even worse. We can't do that against good teams and expect to win.

"We're disappointed in the injury to Hakeem [Nicks, who suffered a high ankle sprain and likely will miss the next game]. I talked with him two or three times during the game. I talked with him on the bench. I talked with him in the locker room. I talked with him on the bus.

"Our defense played a little better. We gave up a couple of good plays. If we can get those things solved, then we can get back to playing some really good defense."

On Cam Sexton's performance -

"No. 1, we've got to continue to protect him. He got hit a little too much yesterday. We've played against three of the toughest defenses in the ACC. Virginia Tech we all know is good. Clemson is really good. And Miami can really get off and rush the passer. So we need to protect him.

"We've got to try and run the football better than we did. Barrington [Edwards], like I said, I thought he ran the ball tough, and I was glad to see that. We didn't have nearly enough yards. We've got to do that. We've got to run the football in the second half of the season."

Could this game lead to Edwards getting a start?

"There is that possibility, but Ronnie McGill is a guy that has played extremely well for us.

"I think Cam Sexton is going to be a really good quarterback. The Brandon Tates, the Holleys and the Brooks Fosters have got to come through for us."

What particular problems are you seeing in the running game?

"We feel like we're getting the offensive line on track to block the way that we want to. Looking at the tape, we left some plays out there on the field. That is maybe from a run standpoint and a passing one. The passing ones are very obvious."

On replacing Nicks -

"We'll play the other guys."

On the improvement you saw with the defense -

"The defensive staff feels like we were in some positions to be more aggressive – where we brought it, and we need to continue to bring it. Durrell Mapp played some of his best football. E.J. Wilson played some football for us and did some things. We were responsible at times, making sure our eyes were on the right targets. We had some second level coverage flaws that I think are very correctable. I was glad to see us play much better run defense. The one that goes for 62 yards – that's a breakdown we're as much responsible for as the defense. That's on us."

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