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Dissecting a John Bunting Press Conference

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I have made no bones about my dislike for John Bunting and my firm belief that as long as he is the head coach at UNC it will perpetually dwell in the middle to lower tier of the ACC. So, in light of this stance I have treated most everything he has said or done in a prejudicial manner. And I would like to take the opportunity to do that again. May I present to you the quotes from today's John Bunting press conference complete with THF commentary bold italics.

Opening Comments

Playing a good team this week. Players are excited, coaches are excited. Going down to Death Valley is a fun experience for me, haven't been down there a long time - went down there in '01. Great place to play, great environment[One visit really made quite an impression, of course winning 38-3 will do that] Coach Bowden has done a terrific job with this program over the last seven years, entering his eighth.[Just in case you members of the media wanted to know] The improvements they've made to those facilities. Big stadium, big crowd.[And this is different how?] They've done a terrific job with recruiting the last few years[Never let it be said that Bunting was anything but effusive in his compliments for the opposing team] They've had a lot of coaching changes, but they've got a good staff now in place.[Unlike another program I can think of] Both of those coordinators are guys I was interested in myself[The fact they are there and not in Chapel Hill says volumes] ... Their players are good, on defense they are young but playing extremely well. ... They could easily be 3-0.[Yeah if they had a kicker who even halfway component]

Our players, the focus of this week's practice again - got to get better, hope to see improvement on defense especially[Gee ya think?], particularly in the back end in terms of the passing game. We're done playing the wishbone offense for the time being.[Anyone know what he is talking about here?] ...

This is a different style of offense[Then we are in trouble] coach Rob Spence uses multiple personnel groups[Big trouble], they've got three good runners, tall big receivers who make great catches.[OK, let's just forfeit and save the embarrassment of giving up 500 yards again] ... Their offensive line is as good as we'll play against,[That Rutgers line was pretty good too] that allows them to do a lot of different things.[Some of which you will be unprepared to face no doubt] They'll go from four wides and a tight end, empty backfield sets, to two tights and two backs - they'll really challenge you early, see how you adjust and run their game plan off you.[So is there any chance you have elected to share this information with your players or are you content to be "surprised" again?] Their defense can run - multiple fronts, multiple coverages - and they can play lots of players. They've had two linebackers go down and it looks like they haven't missed a beat. That's a product of some really good recruiting[Yeah, I wonder what that is like]

Hoping that Cam [Sexton] can play well again.[Don't we all] Like to play Joe [Dailey] again, that hasn't changed.[Why? It is like finding a shortcut home but insisting on driving the long way out of some misguided sense of loyalty. So I guess Co-Rookie of the Week is meaningless?] We're going to need our special teams to play as well as they did the other night. Kickoff coverage has done a terrific job and I hope we kickoff a lot.[*Snort*] ... And I hope our punt coverage protection is as least as good as it was last week. I'm not satisfied with that at all. And we'll see how the punters go in terms of who we use to punt in this game.[Could be plenty of opportunity to use both of them]

I'm pleased with Cam getting the Co-Rookie of the Week[Not please enough that you still want to play the interception machine] and obviously pleased with the way Ronnie [McGill] played and Barrington [Edwards] played.[Translation: It is about time those two showed up and played a full game] Hopefully they can do it again. That'll be key for Barrington, to do it again.[Did he just call Edwards performance a fluke?]

On the secondary -[Heaven knows Furman was]

Let me first that we get Kareen Taylor back and he's 95 percent -- and Kentwan Balmer comes back, who didn't play last week. That'll help us inside. But I feel like -- and Marvin [Sanders] feels the same way -- we've got talented guys sitting on the bench over there.[*Bangs head on desk*] The only thing wrong with them is they haven't played.[*Regains consciousness* Well let's see who is in charge of which players are in the game? And if they are talented them why aren't they playing?] Jermaine Strong, Jordan Hemby, Brian Dixon - three redshirt freshmen. ... I think when they become sophomores, they'll be great players, but they may play before then.[You see I imagine if they will be great players come next year then logic suggest they are good players now. I mean what have you got to lose?] I'm all about opportunity, been that way since I've been here.[Oh that is what you call this six year old nightmare I have been living] Had to play too many true freshmen on defense at times in the past -- not that case right now, but those three redshirt freshmen at least, and then true freshmen like Kendric Burney, we're going to perhaps have to pull that trigger and let them play.[How about this. How about we play the best players available regardless of experience. Is this such a hard concept?]

On the state of Tar Heel football -[Oh this should be fun]

... This program was in the Top 10 with Mack Brown - that's what I look at in terms of where we can go with this program.[#1 You are not Mack Brown. #2 See #1] ... With the facilities we have and the facilities I think we're going to build, and the players that we have and the players we're going to get, I think we'll be back there much sooner than later.[Where have I heard this before?...That's right! Every year since Bunting got here!] The majority of this class we're redshirting right now is the best class we've had - that's a great sign.[Then why are you redshirting so many of them, all these other schools play true freshman why not UNC? And no I cannot just assume you know what you are doing. For all I know you are redshirting talent that could help right now] Despite the fact of the Rutgers game, ... and the other night it was very frustrating for everybody that loves Carolina[Frustrating? Frustrating is one season of this crap, this is the sixth one so frustrating is a bit of an understatement] ... but I am really excited about our future at this University.["our" being the operative word there] The players that come out of this state and some of the interest we're getting out of state. And that's exciting. I think it will get done ... It's going to get done.[It just may not get done while you are still employed by the University]

On the team's outlook moving forward this season -[Rain, lots of rain]

... I really believe we can get very good before this year is over.[Just pay no attention to the record] But I can't sit here and bemoan the fact that I was really looking forward to three home games and we're 1-2. In my mind, clearly, we could be 3-0.[*Stares at blankly at the screen* You thought you could be 3-0 with Virginia Tech on the schedule?] I want to keep getting better,[Unfortunate that even has to be said out loud] I've got to look forward and we'll do that. This is the first road game, got another road game before we get back - looking forward to the two, but really looking forward to this one because it's the one this week.[Clemson, Miami, does it really make a difference?]

On what it'll take to beat the tough Clemson defense -

Take care of the football, can't give it to Clemson.[Correction: You can give it to the kicker and he will give it right back to you] Need to establish some type of run game,[Well considering the offense is based on running the ball I would think that might be a priority] establish some rhythm[Hee-hee!] - seen that happen twice, in '01 and in '03 saw us gain confidence as the game wore on.[That '03 team did gain a lot of confidence. Wins not so much]

On Sexton's performance vs. Furman -

He graded out high[Then why play Dailey?], he made good decisions for the most part[Unlike Dailey who you still want to play], he managed the game well[Better than the coach I imagine] and he threw the ball on time and the receivers made plays. Brooks Foster did a terrific job catching the ball for him and Jesse plucked one of the defenders helmet.[Well at least it was on the defender's helmet and not right into his chest] Cam put the ball in a catchable spot each time and the receivers came up with some plays.[Unlike Dailey who put the ball in a catchable spot for the opposing defenders] I was impressed with his poise on the field and this'll be a different atmosphere for him coming up. Being around him, I think he looks forward to that challenge. Frank Cignetti has done a terrific job coaching him.[So tell me again why Dailey is being considered for playing time?]

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First of all, I think Bunting is exceptionally bad at addressing the media and providing the obvious answer to every question. Secondly, I weep for UNC football. The number of asinine statements and backwards thinking presented in this press conference is alarming. During the course of this press conference Bunting effusively praised Clemson like he went to school there, still contends that Joe Dailey should play despite the immense improvement in the offense under Cam Sexton, told us that he had talented defensive players sitting on the bench just because they are redshirt freshman, implied they could have beaten Virginia Tech and be 3-0 right now despite losing to Rutgers with one of the worst defenses anyone has seen in quite some time, repeated for the 1584th time that the program would move forward and return to Top 10 status despite zero evidence that is actually happening, and illustrated a general inability to express anything of substance about the team and the match-up this weekend.

Note to self: Stop reading the John Bunting press conference transcripts before you hurt yourself

Update: Quick confession. Earlier I commented that UNC lost in 2001 to Clemson 38-3 when actuality they won the game. For some reason the big W in front of the score had little meaning for me. Of course this is still Bunting's fault since all of the losing and mediocrity has so overwhelmed me that I cannot even remember the big games UNC won so many years ago.