Bunting Q&A (8/9/02)

CHAPEL HILL, NC -- UNC's Coach Bunting answers questions following the morning session of the second day of practice.

I know it's only the second day, but what did you see out there that you liked?

"Good football practice -- real good football practice. We got a lot done. Guys were flying around, offensively and defensively.

"Today we'll put in our last special team, so after just two days of practice, we'll have every single special team in. We're working on PAT and field-goal block with multiple kickers. All three of them look good. Danny Orner is really getting the ball up high. He's really strong. That's encouraging.

"Durant threw the ball well. C.J. threw the ball well. Our recievers are looking good. Sam Aiken was unbelievable.

"We've still got a long ways to go with our offensive line, but that's not a surprise.

What is your preseason practice schedule in a big-picture sort of way?

"We want to be a better football team than people think we can be. We want to be the best we can possibly be. That's a given, right? Everybody knows that. In order to do that, you have to work. You have to get out there every single practice. Every single snap is most important. You have to have a great attitude. You have to wake up with energy.

"I asked them this morning, 'Were you guys tired when you woke up today?' Nobody said 'Yes.' I said, 'I was. I was real tired, but once you get over here, you've got to put your game face on.' It's all about having your game face on, and that's what we're doing. We're playing and competing against each other. At some point we'll turn more of our focus on Miami (OH) I've already spoken about Miami (OH) two or three times, but we're done with them right now. We'll get back to them when we're closer. We'll get back to it before game week. We'll have a practice or two for Miami (OH) only. We will practice the Saturday before at 1:30 p.m. just like it's [game day]. We have time to work on Miami (OH), but we're working on getting to be a better football team right now."

Talk about the fullback position. How far has Hedgecock come, and what about the guys behind him?

"Hedgecock made a giant leap in spring and will continue [to do so]. I can't imagine him not getting better and better throughout camp. The guys behind him, it's a wash right now. We expect James Gibson to help us. We expect James Faison to make a push. He's been here a while, and he knows what it takes to win."

What did Hedgecock do so much better in the spring?

"He was stronger, faster, and had more of a concept of what he needs to do in our offense--his function as both the two-back and what we did in the one-back attack."

So will he carry the ball more this year?

"I hope for him to, and if I hope to, that means we need to practice it. At some point, really soon, we will get Madison Hedgecock the ball in practice."

Do these guys have a better understanding of the speed and intensity that you want. I imagine there were some shocked faces the first few practices last year.

"No doubt, and it's much further along already. You can see it."

How can you see it?

"You see guys flying around today. When we get into team periods, that's where you really see it. You don't see anybody walking around between drills. You see guys working hard through individual drills. When you get into team drills, you see them moving a lot faster. You see them in and out of the huddle a lot faster. Everything goes quicker. We ran a 20-minute period, and we got 28 plays done, so we are getting better than a play a minute."

I recall you talking about how you needed to do things faster last year and with more intensity.

"The reason being is because the game is fast, so I want to make practice as close to being game-like. We don't practice as long in terms of how long a game is, but we've got to make sure all our movements are fast and all of our reactions are fast to make it as game-like as possible."

What do you see from the defense right now?

"What I see on the defensive side is I see guys understanding what to do. What I can't see them doing right now is whats most important—tackling. How are they going to tackle? That's the linebackers and the secondary. And can our defensive front put pressure on the quarterback? I can't see that right now."

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