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The Unintentional Comedy of a John Bunting Press Conference

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[Author's Note: A commenter pointed out that the Inside Carolina transcripts are partial which may lead to me drawing some wrong conclusions on certain statements. So take it for what it is knowing some of the quotes might be out of context therefore my response to them would equally be out of context]

Let me just say that for a majority of coaches, press conferences suck. These guys are not good at this aspect of their job. They are coaches and while PR and media relations is part of their responsibilities it is so far on the back burner in comparison to the real work they have to do that I wish they would limit coaches to fewer press conferences in general. Some coaches like Roy Williams, Jim Grobe, Steve Spurrier(when he is not ambushing an assistant coach) are entertaining and handle the media quite well. Bunting, Chuck Amato, Bobby Knight all have tendancies to say things they shouldn't(thought Knight does so intentionally) or they are simply not very good at answering questions in a concise manner. Bunting is the latter and couple that with the realities of what is happening with UNC right now his press quotes are ripe for running commentary. Most of this is meant in good humor, though I do harp a little on some previous criticisms. So do not take it too seriously, I am just having a little fun here.

Tuesday

South Florida’s run and pass offense -

"They’re going to do both.[Because we all thought they would just run the ball which may have been a consideration when facing the 113th rushing defense in the country] They’ll jump into the two tight end offense and run the ball. They’ll run the ball with one tight end. They can do all of the things like Furman did in the one tight end offense.[Let's just hope they do not to ALL the things Furman did because Furman did 521 yards and 42 points] Those things are all available to them. They’ve got a talented group of receivers. They’re all on the same page."[As opposed to being a completely disorganized offensive unit which does not execute?]

On Cam Sexton’s play -

"He got banged from both ends (against Miami). The next play he completed to a perfect pass to Jesse Holley. One play he gets killed; the next play – perfect and we move the chains. He’s in with the scheme of things.[So the scheme of things is to allow the QB to get crushed on one play and the complete a pass for a first down on the next? Is Cam aware of this?]

"Barrington [Edwards] did a good job on pass plays. We like to use our backs in pass plays."[I am sorry but that last line just sounds like a child saying "Ice cream is very good to eat. I like ice cream in a cone"]

What indications do you have that the defense will play better this week?

[Let's count the number of things that need to get better]
"I believe that having Larry [Edwards] and Durrell [Mapp] play their best games last week got their attention and focus. We want that to continue. That gives us a chance. Kareen Taylor is playing great football. We're still working with Cooter Arnold.[1] D.J. Walker has got to go out there and play the whole game.[2] Those are the things you’re juggling in the air when you’re trying to run a defense. Our corners have to play really terrific.[3] We’ve got to get a pass rush going.[4] There are a lot of different things to get handled here. They played better last week, except for two plays that gained over one hundred yards. Both were extremely preventable. We need to do a better job of seeing things.[5] We’ve got to d a better job of coaching.[6] Other than turning their tight end lose a couple of times, we stopped the run better."
[Okay, you just named of six things that needed to get better along with hoping all the things that went right last week stay right this week. No wonder this defense is so bad, there too many things that need fixing plus you admit the coaching needs to get better. How can the rest of it get fixed if the coaching needs to be fixed?]

On staying positive during the difficult season -

"I am fired up about this week. I have to look ahead to Virginia because we’ve got plans to be made in terms of practice schedules. For me as a head coach, I have to look ahead and do that. but our football team is focused on this game. Playing at home on Student Appreciation Day and Youth Day – it’s a great opportunity. That’s what it’s all about.[No, not so much]

"I’m trying to win one game.[That is what it is all about, but just one game?] That sounds like something I said to Dick Vermeil a few years ago.[Oh, dear Lord] I said, ‘Coach, if we could just win three in a row…’ He said, ‘I’m trying to win one.’[Yeah, I know, one game at a time, I get it though is too much trouble to ask that we win more than one?]

"I talked with the offensive staff first yesterday. They felt great about last night’s practice. Defensively, I think our kids are pretty resilient on that side of the ball.[Resilency is a good thing to have when you are routinely getting run over by opposing running backs]

"I believe that they paid a price in the off-season conditioning program. There have been no issues in my opinion with they’re conditioning.[If you are talking about the offense, they are not really on the field that long so I just do not think you get tired watching from the sidelines] When you face three top defenses in the ACC that can smack you in the face a little bit in terms of production, what I want us to do in terms of an offensive staff is say we’re getting better.[You know you have that one down pretty good, what I want you to do in terms of an offense is to actually get better during a game] We just need to have the performance on the field[No, it can't be that simple can it?], so you can show them all the good plays."[As opposed to all of the fabulous interceptions and inept running of the football we have seen thus far?]

Wednesday

How have you seen the team build on the positives?

"This team is dying for a ‘W,’[They aren't the only ones] and they know what it’s going to take – better execution and making more plays.[I want these six words on John Bunting's grave stone when he dies. I have heard this for six years and about 164 times this season alone. If you need to execute and make plays then for the love of my sanity do it!] Those are the things they’re focusing on. South Florida is a program that represents a great challenge.[Based on what we have seen so far this season Charlotte Independence would present a great challenge] They’ll play hard-nosed football, and we’ve got to meet that energy level and then execute. To me, that’s what this scheme will come down to."[Isn't all football hard-nosed? So the scheme does not come down to exploiting mismatches, getting penetration against their offensive line and pressuring the QB or does it and the players have either been out of position or not executing? I am not trying to be difficult, I'm just asking because I don't know]

"What have you seen to give you hope this week that this will happen?

"It’s happened."

It’s happened?[What happened]

"It’s happened. It’s a day-to-day basis; period-to-period; play-to-play."

[What does that mean? What happened? Did aliens invade and suck the brains out of all the players and give them new ones? Did Dawn Bunting show up with a pagan priest and start sprinkling pixy dust on the field? Some people say defecation happens but he cannot be referring to that because that started against Rutgers and really hasn't stopped. This is the vauguest comment I have ever heard a coach make. Of course I also may have just found my headline if Bunting resigns or is fired]

On the running game, as it pertains to helping the quarterback -

"There’s no doubt about it. I don’t think it could be more evident that an efficient offense starts, for the most part, with a good running game. Few can rely upon the pass only. We’re hoping we can do that this week."[Wait a minute. That actually made sense. But please stop with the hoping, "it has forsaken these lands"*]

On the offensive line -

"Protection-wise, I think we’re doing well.[No argument there] The run game is staying on track.[You are better than Notre Dame, Florida State, and Virginia Tech running the ball, for some reason it does not seem that way] It has a lot to do with the tight end. The fullback has a lot to do with what we do,[But I thought it had to do with the tight end] whether it’s Bobby Rome or Nick Starcevic; the receivers.[So basically any player not running, throwing, or catching the football needs to be involved in blocking a defender.] It all works together, but it starts up front.[Probably because that is where a majority of the defenders hang out at] With our style of run, there’s always going to be players that need to work absolutely well together. The harmony, the staying on track together is what it’s all about.[Was is this a symphony?] That’s the way most offensive lines are. We’re not that much different.[If most are doing it that way then I would not expect you to be different] We’ve just got to continue to get better at what we’re doing.[*Bangs head on desk*] The accumulation of football knowledge has got to start to show, as far as our system."[Yeah that would be nice, particularly if it started with the coaching staff.]

On the pressure to sellout home games -

"Anybody who’s ever coached knows the pressure to fill these stands. I’ve played here, and these stands were, for the most part, full. We’ve had great fans here. We’ve had great stadiums here.[UNC has had more than one stadium?]It’s important to put a product on the field that they want to come see."[You know for all of my criticism of Bunting it does seem like he gets it. Does it appear he is capable of doing anything about it? No, but at least he understands]

More on fans -

"I think they’re great. I’ve never wavered or deviated from that. I am tremendously appreciative of the way they’ve supported this football program and team.[He must not read this blog] It’s been difficult this year.[And last year, the year before that...] In years past, there have been some great crowds here. We need that. The early game is always tough around here;[Why? NC State does not have a problem with the early game, neither did Wake Forest last week. In fact I am willing to bet Carter Finley will have more people in the stands at 11:30 on Saturday than Kenan will have by kickoff] I know that. We played Virginia Tech and noon, and we had a great crowd.[Too bad so many of them were wearing maroon] The night game against Furman, the students helped us win that football game."[And had you taken some of those students and put them in the game they might have fared just as well against the Furman offense than your scholarship players did]

On coming home after two tough road environments -

"The team understands from the previous two games, how we need to play to be competitive[With understanding and doing be two mutually exclusive concepts] and be in the game like we were so many times last year to win in the fourth quarter. A lot of games go down to the fourth quarter.[Since it is the last quarter of the game I would imagine if sees it share of decisive moments] We want to be one of those teams again this year to win in the fourth quarter."[I agree with the premise but his articulation of it was horrible. He could have just have easily said, "We need to be competitive and put ourselves in a position to win the game whether that means seizing control early or making the plays on both sides of the ball in the late stages to give ourselves a chance to win" That sounds infinitely better than saying "fourth quarter" almost three times in a row. I think everyone understands how games get played out with that pesky fourth quarter. It should be noted that UNC did win the fourth quarter at Clemson 7-0, it was the other three that ended up being problematic]

Okay, that's it. I think there is only so much you can make of the whole media/personality aspect of a coach. But with all that is wrong in UNC football it does not help that Bunting stuggles to articulate things better in a press conference and give the fans something fan can grab onto and give them confidence. There is a perception that Bunting is clueless when it comes to managing the the game and the schemes because all we ever get is "we hope" "we need to" "we think we can" without any articulation of what that looks like. Like I said it can be a very minor thing but when you are not winning and not even competitive the fact you struggle to adequately articulate things in a press conference can act as a confirming agent that you are not a very good coach.

*Quote Source: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Press conference transcript from Inside Carolina