The following are excerpts from Tar Heel Head Coach John Bunting's weekly press conference with the North Carolina media on Tuesday.
On opening the Season with Oklahoma
"We're all very excited about opening the 2001 season and we're looking forward to traveling to Norman on Friday. We've had a successful training camp. The season opener will give us an idea of the progress we've made with this football team. That's obviously a measuring stick."
"Nobody expects us to win, except for me and the staff and the guys on this team. That's fine. I like that challenge."
"I'm real excited to see our guys play. They are excited. They feel good about themselves. They feel good about the way we've practiced, about the way we've learned to practice. I think they feel very good right now about the condition they are in. We're very healthy, and I'm particularly excited about that. It's probably as healthy as we've been since the day training camp started."
On OU quarterback Nate Hybl
"They talk of him in terms of being a drop-back passer, but that's not their style of offense, so I'm sure he has other attributes that we don't know about. He's going to be very strong-armed, a very strong runner, a strong kid, a very accurate deep thrower. I've heard only very good things about this young man. Unlike the quarterback last year who we have seen on tape and was a real playmaker - really made that offense go - this young man is supposed to have every bit of the athleticism that Josh Heupel had last year."
On the pregame pep talk
"I've thought a lot about that. I've thought about what I'm going to tell them today. I've thought about what I'm going to tell them Thursday when we get ready to go to sleep that night before we board a plane. I've thought about what I'm going to talk to them about when we get out there. I think about that every day - what I'm going to say to them. It's important that I say the right things. I'm going to be very positive with them. We have an opportunity here. We have a great opportunity. I think this is a great team we're playing. This is a No. 1 team.
"I'm going to tell them that there's no place that I'd rather be than right here at this time. I hope they feel the same."
On playing in Norman
"I've never been there. I've heard a lot of things. I've watched some games when I was a kid, and I've watched some game when I was older. That's what's neat about the college atmosphere. It's festive.
"I think it's fun to play in a hostile environment. I think it's exciting. It's fun to play in front of your own home fans, but I think it's just as exciting to go out and play in front of a hostile crowd. So I hope it's hostile, and I'm sure it will be."
On the matchup with the Sooners
"I'm not sure if there's a better defensive line than what we have on our first team. I think it's hard to picture somebody better than Sims and Peppers and Evans and Chapman up front. That's a pretty stout group. I think our offensive line has practiced against a very good group. That's helped our offensive line, but this will be a tremendous challenge. Their defense does an awful lot of things. They are extremely well coached. Everywhere Bob Stoops has coached - and his brother too - they have had great defenses. We know they'll be exceptionally fast and schemed up, so therefore we're going to have to be tremendously alert.
"Other matchups, I like our kicker. From what I hear, their kicker is very, very good. I know our kicker is extremely good.
"I think we have big-play people. They have big-play people. So it could come down to how our big-play people do against their big-play people. They're excellent in the secondary. They will hit you."
On All-America OU linebacker Rocky Calmus
"He reminds me a whole lot of what Junior Seau does. He's very active and very quick. They will bring him in any gap. They'll bring him outside, they'll bring him up the middle. He's a real playmaker. He's fast. He runs around blocks, he runs through blocks, he runs over top of people. That's where he makes a lot of plays, he just runs around and makes plays."
Bunting: Nobody expects us to win
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