Spring Practice - Bunting Q&A

John Bunting

There have been some position moves this spring, and North Carolina head coach John Bunting talks about the changes as well as the overall progress during spring practice.

Could you talk about the guys who have changed positions and how they have been progressing?

Well, it just happened this week, so not much has happened. Mahlon Carey, I'm pleased with his progress at safety. We made that change at the beginning of the spring. Madison [Hedgecock], we thought we might do this halfway through, and that's what we're doing. I think he's going to add a lot of fire over there on defense. We need to fire up that defense a little bit. Chris[Curry] came in as a wide receiver. We're going to see if he can make some plays there. He has great hands and has already impressed Coach Brewer and Coach Tranquil with that, so we'll see if he can work his way into the line-up and help us out with some young receivers. He has experience on the field. He's played and he knows the speed of the game. Maybe he can give us a boost.

Is the depth at safety where you want it?

I want to get Rashad Tindall reps. I want to get Mahlon Carey and Tommy Richardson as many reps as I can to help us out next year. I've seen Chris Curry play that position for two years and I want to give him a chance to help us out at a new position.

How intense was the lobbying for Madison on defense?

The defensive coaches have really wanted him on that side. In a very, very short period of time, he proved that he is very reactive at that position. Offense is a litte different. You have some progressions, lots of formations to think about. Madison loves to play football and wants to help this team. We are going to see if he can make a bigger impact over there. Obviously, the other move is Andre Williams. He's playing fullback now. We have to see if he can help us at that position. If things work, they work. If not, we may switch back.

There are some positions where we don't have a lot of depth. I can't make Madison Hedgecock an offensive lineman. I can't make Andre Williams an offensive lineman, and that's probably where we have the least amount of depth. But those guys are on the way. They are in high school and on the way.

Did the logjam at tailback lead to Andre's move?

In part. I want to get Andre some one-back runs like Rikki Cook gets one-back runs and see if he can help us out at that fullback position when I moved Madison over to defensive end. We're seeing what guys can do here. This is the time to do experimentation.

How are the tailbacks looking?

Until Ronnie McGill went down, he was doing very well. Chad Scott has been very impressive. Willie Parker has had his best spring. Jacque Lewis is playing as well as he's played. There is great competition there and competition and with players who try hard and have heart will make us better and make them better too. They push each other.

You seemed pretty intense today about the speed, making sure everyone was going full speed.

That's important. That's been a stress point all spring to have more speed. We are having more contact early and then we back it down, then have a teaching period, and then speed it back up. That's the way the game of football is played. You can not play this game slow. You can't think slow, you can't look ahead, you can't look back, you can't pace yourself, you have to GO. I thought we had one of our best practices of the spring today. I was pleased and thought we got a lot of work done. Coaches have a lot of tape to watch because we got a lot of plays in.

The defense gave up some big numbers last year. It looks like the offense is having a lot of success in practice. Is the defense providing enough of a test, enough competition?

Our defense is doing some good things, and our defense sometimes will give up a big play, and that's where our safeties have got to pick it up. What I see is an offensive line that has much more experience that will create a seam and Chad Scott bursts through it. He's got some great speed. Once he's in the secondary, they have to make a play. Right now, my concern is the wide receivers getting downfield to make a play. We are trying to work on that part of our game. I haven't seen our corners get beat deep at all, but I've seen our wide receivers split seams, get into the secondary and make a big play and I've seen running backs split a seam and make a big play. That's why the safety part of it and trying to get two and three guys at each of the free and the strong to play all the time and get as many reps as possible so they can get the ball carrier on the ground.

It looks Darian Durant has more velocity. Is that a stronger arm, a better motion?

Darian has worked hard in the off-season. He's stronger. He's set some records here. He's a strong, physical guy and he's playing with confidence and enjoying himself, like I always knew he would. He's having a good spring. For Darian, the ultimate competition will be when we get back to start the year. That guy likes to play ball. To him, this is just practice.

How is the linebacker situation coming along?

We need a lot of work there--a ton of work there--and I can't wait for the freshmen linebackers to get here.

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