Bunting Q&A (8/8/02)

CHAPEL HILL, NC--John Bunting answers questions following the 2002 UNC football upperclassmen participate in their first practice.

As first days go, how was practice this morning?

"It's just great to be back and out of the office. This has been fun. We had some fun this morning. We were up-and-at'em at 6:15. We got our testing out of the way—it was great. Our varsity is in tremendous condition, and I was really pleased with a few freshmen that were able to hang in there too.

"The strength and conditioning, for right now, is out of the way. We will continue to do so throughout the course of training camp, but it was a typical first day. Most guys know what they are doing, but a lot of guys don't."

Did you see enthusiasm from your players?

"I think there's a lot of enthusiasm. It's all pent up [because] they've been waiting for this for so long. We had a very short practice because of what we did earlier this morning, but we'll get back into the meat of it this afternoon, and one of these days we'll put the full pads on."

What exactly did you have early this morning?

"We had our 110's, and the kids did great. They are in great condition, but there were a couple on the varsity that didn't make it—the guys who usually don't make it. But, otherwise, these guys are ready to go. I was really pleased that a lot of freshmen were pleased to hang in there too."

Do you treat the returning players a little differently because this is their second time through your training camp?

"My expectations for this training camp are higher than they were last year in terms of the way we practice, the urgency with which we practice, and the speed with which we practice. I don't want to have to tell guys to run from drill to drill. That shouldn't happen. They know that we are on the move all the time, and that we do things fast. We teach on the run. When we get in the classroom, that's when we get to sit down."

Yesterday, you said you would ultimately like to choose one of the two or three guys at quarterback. Can you explain a little why that's your preference?

"That's what everybody thinks is normal, so I guess I'd like to be normal at some point. At the same time, these two and three quarterbacks are all very capable, so I want to make sure that I give them all an opportunity. I'd love to get them tested in the first couple of games if I could, because that gives them the ability to go in, if something happens [down the line]. They all have great skills and are extremely competitive. Only time will tell.

"I don't really care who wins and who loses. At the same time, I know whoever doesn't is [still] likely to play; therefore, I'll think of them as being double starters or triple starters."

Darian's lost a little weight. Is he more mobile, and can you roll him out and use him to run a little more, because of that?

"Darian is in good shape. He's in the best shape he's ever been, and he knows that. He feels good about it. He finished the test today—he did have to lie down a little bit, but he was fine a few minutes later—and I'm really proud of him. He will be more mobile because he's a little lighter and in a little better condition. More importantly for Darian, I think he just has a tremendous outlook, as do the other quarterbacks.

"The quarterbacks have got to be stable and have a positive, stay-the-course type attitude, because a whole bunch of things will go wrong. What I look in a quarterback is a guy who never looks back on the last play—he's always looking ahead to the next play. That's special about a quarterback."

Do you expect Jason Brown's move to be a good one?

"Number one [priority] is that exchange. Nothing irritates me more than to see that ball on the ground. We had one on the ground this morning. It was Jason and another back-up quarterback. I don't want to have that in any drill—whether its nine-on-seven, seven-on-seven, or tossing the ball back and forth. We want the ball off the ground. We won't win many games if we put the ball on the ground."

What do you see as Jarwarski Pollocks' role this year?

"I see Jarwarski Pollock being in on third down, second down. When Tranq goes to three wides, I see him as part of that package, and we are in that packag a lot. Tranq is a master of substitution and keeping people off-balance with various personnel groups, and Jarwarski is a big part of those packages, when we get out of regular personnel."

How much further along is he now than at this time last year?

"It's hard to say. We've just had [one] practice. I think the guy showed a lot during the spring, and I want to see improvement every single practice...

"Throughout training camp we'll see if he's made progress. He's got to know exactly what to do. He's got to catch the ball. And the thing we expect out of him, when he has the ball he's going to make some plays. Look for him as the staring punt returner to start [the season]."

Is one of your most important goals of this training camp to find a replacement for Jeff Reed?

"No doubt about it, and we will have competition at that position all training camp long. We'll be alternating every two or three snaps with those kickers. Danny [Orner] really looked good this morning. He got the ball up fast, and he got it up high."

Will Lafferty see some competition?

"There will be some competition there. Lafferty hit the first one, I thought it was going to land over on the baseball field it was so high and long. John has worked hard this summer—as have [others]. [The returning players] have been here, they know the routine, they know our expectations.

"John Lafferty has great operation time. He has a real advantage there. Between Greg Warren's snap and John, that ball is away. It's hard for anyone to block it, even if they came in unblocked. But I will have competition at the position. We will chart everything. We will work on operation times every single day."

In talking about the backfield, do Willie and Andre have a lot on their shoulders?

"They do, and so does Jacque Lewis. Jacque is penciled in on every one of our special teams. He wants to be on the field, and he needs to be on the field. He has great athleticism, and he is a very competitive, instinctive football player. Among the three of them, they will see equal time, for the most part.

"Andre will only practice once per day. He will practice in the afternoon practice for right now. Maybe that will change later on, but I have high expectations for Willie, Andre', and Jacque. We'd love to have a 1,000-yard rusher, but when you have those three guys, they all have to touch the field."

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