John Bunting PC Quotes (w/audio)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina coach John Bunting addressed the media during his final weekly press conference on Tuesday at the Kenan Football Center. Read and listen to what he had to say about the Tar Heels' upcoming game at Duke.

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Part I (14:00)
Part II (13:19)

Opening remarks –

Any time you get to the last game of the season, there's always the last "lasts" - with practices - and I reminded the players of that last evening. And of course, with the situation as is, there will be some lasts "lasts" for me. This will be the last Tuesday press conference - sorry [laughs]. I enjoyed it.

It's important that we stay focused this week while we're going through some of this closure in order to be successful against Duke. They are a team that has not won a football game as you know but has been close to winning some football games and played some really good football at times during games. I'm extremely impressed by the way they played Alabama and Miami. Defensively, they play as hard as anyone in the league; they really come after you, and they're going to pressure you all the time. The kids run to the ball as good as anybody I've seen. Offensively, they are all over the place in terms of what they do with their personnel - in, out, who's in, who's playing what position. Therefore, it creates some difficulties in terms of the preparation. I've got a great deal of respect for Ted Roof and his staff. We're hoping to get over there and play another good football game and come away with some more success for our players. And I'd love to have some more success for our staff, who I've remained steadfastly behind in terms of them finishing here also at Carolina. I hope things go well for them and they are treated with dignity and class because they are a great group of coaches.

On Duke dealing with key injuries and struggling to stop the run –

That always happens. And sometimes games get out of control some. I've been a part of that at every level of football. And when you pressure a lot, sometimes you can get burned some, too. Last week, we were able to run the football effectively against State for awhile. and then they started blowing up our run game starting sometime in the third quarter and extending into the fourth. Stopping the run game and running the football are still probably the two most important things in college football - and then turnover margin, where we are absolutely horrid. But last week we got up on that, and it helped us win the football game.

On the seniors last game –

With this being the last game for the seniors, they will be very up to play well. Putting that jersey on for the last time, it's a very emotional time. I've been through that and I understand it, too. Putting that jersey on for the last time.

On what the difference was last week –

We played our most complete game. That's what you've got to do to win football games. Most teams can't just roll the ball out there and go out and win at this level. Some can, probably. In most games, some could just roll it out there, play bad in one phase of the game and win. Not this football team. We need to play a complete game, and we did that moreso last week than we have at any other time. Getting off to a great start, particularly running the ball, was very helpful to us. We're playing a little bit better on defense, and that helps also. Special teams we played our best game. Our punter did a terrific job, our kicker did a great job, and we had no breakdowns.

On his emotions this week –

The finality of things were easy to come by because of this being so long - five weeks. I don't know if that's ever been done before. That's something we have been going through, so the numbing part of it to begin with you start to kind of get used to. And, now that the last "lasts" are happening, it's fairly easy to deal with. I know that when the game ends, there will be a great deal of emotion. But you know what? In the course of a game, any game that's played, there's always a bunch of emotion anyway; this just will be perhaps a little different. But I'm not going to do anything different to prepare for that. I'm going to do things the way I was taught how to do them and the way I've been teaching my football team how to do them. I'll stay strong in that way.

On if he has any regrets –

There's probably a number of things I would have done differently. But I'm proud of 95, 98 percent of the things that we have done. And I feel really good about the things that are now in place here. From getting the grade-point average up, which was awful when I took it over, getting some players that were misbehaving under control, creating a behavior policy here that can help all of the student-athletes here at North Carolina. The recent recruiting I think has been outstanding. The only thing I regret is that we didn't have the patience to stay with this staff another year and see what we can do.

On the successes he's had on a more personal level - with the players –

The reason why you coach college football in my opinion is to help young people learn how to become adults that can be role models, can live a good life, do the right things - and have some success in the sport that you coach. We've had some success here. There's a couple of seasons that I have tremendous regret over that I had less control over - the early seasons. This season has been very much a struggle and one that I'll probably think about for a long time and will always point to and have kind of a question mark in my mind: what happened there? I'm pleased that the players have continued to play despite the fact of what the situation became, and I think all those guys have learned from our coaching staff and possibly from me on how to handle tough times. So those things are things that are important to me, have always been important to me. That's why I came - there's only one place I'd coach college Division I football. Because the recruiting part of it is nasty, gets ugly, bad things happen, bad things are done. I knew at North Carolina I'd never have to do those things. I love the game. This is the place I'd always wanted to coach D-I; I'd never coach any place else. I think most people know that that's a fact and the truth, and I only speak the truth.

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