UNC Football Notbook

UNC Football Notbook

  • To begin his weekly press conference, Coach John Bunting recalled a quote that reminds him of a valuable lesson: "A man learns from his mistakes directly proportionate to how much he suffers from them."

    "I think we've all suffered enough from this past Saturday's game," Bunting added. "I told the players that I wanted them to suffer a little bit with us, as we did as a staff, but that is over. The staff has done a good job thus far getting ready. We'll be back with the players today, and we look forward to three days of practice to get ready for Clemson."

    "People were still having trouble smiling in here [on Sunday]," senior offensive guard Jeb Terry said. "Especially as a senior, you try to put on a good face after a loss and come in here and keep guys focused and upbeat, but it was particularly hard after this game. You could tell the attitude was pretty downtrodden all Sunday, and even a little bit yesterday while we were lifting. I think we'll pick it up today and put it behind us."

  • Bunting is pleased with the running game for the second week in a row, with over 150 yards on the ground, and he hopes to continue that trend or improve upon it. He feels the team is working together better as a unit up front.

    "I think finally it's starting to click and we are more synchronized with the backs. It's very encouraging, and we need to use that as something to motivate us even more and keep it going throughout the season."

  • Darian Durant is currently UNC's career leader in the following:
    --touchdown passes (43)
    --pass completions (430)
    --pass completion percentage(.614)
    --pass attempts (790)
    --passing yards (5,461)

  • Unfortunately, Durant also leads the team in rushing on the season. "Coming into the season--I'm not going to lie--I thought we would have had a set back or maybe two guys to carry the load," Durant said. "We can't win like that. We have to have one guy and give him 20 or 30 carries and give another guy five to 10 carries like that. It's hard for a guy to get into a rhythm when he's being rotated every series."

  • Durant needs 256 yards in total offense to take over first place in that category.

  • Larry Edwards has led the team in tackles for the three consecutive weeks with his latest total of 15 tackles (13 solo) against Arizona State and was named the ACC Rookie of the Week.

  • The decision to go for it on fourth-and-one on the last offensive Tar Heel drive of the game "crossed my mind," Bunting said. "[But] that's a lot of field position to give up if you don't make it. We had stopped them twice in a row on defense--one punt and one on downs. Before that, they missed a field goal, I believe. Three times we had stopped them from scoring a touchdown. I thought the long field in the long run was the best way to go."

  • In situations when the offense is on the field and trying to use clock--but they are going to call a time-out--the offense is instructed to wait until the play clock is at one second to call the time-out.

  • In trying to build the UNC football program, Bunting says that one of the most important aspects is building the character of the team. "You want players that care about winning, that care about their teammates, that care about doing the right things and making the right choices in terms of the way they live--players that go to class, that stay out of trouble, that care about the football team."

  • With the limited contact that the NCAA allows, determining the character of a recruit is made tougher, according to Bunting. "That's why it's very important for the recruiting coach to be held accountable for getting that information. In the NFL, that's the number one priority as far as I was concerned when I was evaluating a player. I talked with everybody that I could possible about that player, from the equipment manager to the trainer, to his parents, to his friends, if I could find out who they were, to assistant coaches, to head football coaches.

    "The NFL does an immaculate background check on all these players, which affects their draft status. You can go to their home towns, in the Indianapolis combines, back to the university where they played. You have them into your home town, you have them out with players you trust who find out more about their character. We are able to do some of that on official visits and have our players host them. I always will have a meeting with a player who hosted a [recruit] to find out what kind of character he thought that player had--that's important to me.

    "Some of the same things we could do. We don't have back ground checks--no FBI involvement or anything like that. You want to explore that. It's important to me, win lose, or draw. But I do want to get players that I know a lot about. That's another reason why we want to start in this state, because we have much better access to information about the player's background in the state of North Carolina."

    And recruits have even been marked off of the recruiting list after an official visit, if they don't measure up.

  • Bunting didn't get a hand shake from Arizona State Head Coach Dirk Koetter following the game in Kenan Stadium on Saturday.

    "I never saw him," Bunting said, and he has yet to hear anything from him or the ASU Media Relations office. "I'm surprised. Would I like to? I don't necessarily have to--that's just kind of a common courtesy. His last words to me were, 'Good luck. Hope nobody gets injured. See you after the game.' It's not a big deal."

  • What does it mean to have a wife who understands competition, has played and coached, particularly when things don't go well?

    "I knew this would be a hard job. I didn't know it would be quite this hard, because it was impossible to evaluate all the things that we had to get done. But, without her this would be a much, much harder job for me. Right now, it's difficult, but I'm able to go home every night and wake up every morning knowing that I'll have an opportunity during the day to talk with her and talk with her about the various situations that have occurred during the course of the day and the direction we are going. I have asked her for some advice on things on occasion because she has such an extensive background in athletics and coaching. I never hesitate. (Grinning) And she never hesitates to give me advice either.

    "When all the people cleared out of the house on Saturday night after that game and I thought I'd been through all the venting and all the 'This' and all the 'That,' I still had one more person to deal with."

  • Bunting sees improvement in the defense but believes there is still a long way to go. Areas of improvement include better tackling by the corners and an improvement on "fitting" the run plays. For the most part, the called defense is being executed, but there is still not enough pressure on the ball.

  • Punter David Wooldridge is getting faster in his operation time, but his 2.1 seconds still trails John Laffery's 1.9-2.0 seconds in operation time.

  • Despite the 1-6 record, Terry ensures that the team will refuse to give up on the season. "If you lay down and let the rest of the season roll by, you are going to regret that the most. If you blow an opportunity to win a game by not giving your whole effort is an awful thing to do, and I don't think we have any players like that on the team. We have players that want to fight and want to earn respect of people, especially our own fans. You don't want to let those people down. They want to see us win also..."

    "When you go through something like we went through on Saturday, that's the worst way you can lose. It makes us even more determined to put a team away. Don't let any one play slip away from you. Any one play in the game could have altered the outcome--any single one because of how close it was. Maybe if we taken 15 more seconds off the clock on a play in the third quarter, they wouldn't have had the time to drive like they did. And if we had blocked that last [offensive] play perfectly and gotten that one yard, that game would have been over. I think it instilled the fact that every play is a deciding factor in the game, no matter when it is, and make sure you execute it to the best of your ability and finish it. I think it gave us more of an understanding of that--you have to capitalize every chance you get."


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