Back to the Basics

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.-- When this season's football schedule was announced, UNC Head Coach John Bunting originally was not happy with an open date after just two games. Following two losses in which the defense has relinquished more than 500 yards per game, he has changed his mind.

"This [week] was back to the basics," Bunting said. "This was summer training camp, or in a case or two spring ball."

In addition there are adjustments in scheme, combined with adjustments in personnel. The plan is to polish up on all aspects, but one focus is giving younger guys more of an opportunity to show what they can do. Kyndraus Guy still does not appear to be a candidate to "take off the red-shirt," but another freshman does.

"I intend, this [next] week against Wisconsin, to get Joe Kedra out on the field in some shape or form," Bunting said. "He wants to play and he should play. It will help this year. It will help him, and it might help us win. He will probably start on special teams, but he may move to the defensive field."

When pressed to offer a schedule for inserting freshmen into the line-up for more playing time following the loss to Florida State, Bunting explained that there is no precise formula; there is a lot of judgment involved. It's not a matter of envisioning the perfect blue print for next season's defense and backing up, game-by-game, to the present time.

But whatever the schedule was, it appears to have been put on the fast track.

"I feel that we have abbreviated our plan somewhat, how we will play personnel," Bunting said. "We will go game-to-game. As I mentioned before, if I wanted to get a picture of how I wanted our defense to play next year, if you were to do something like that, you would then back it up.

"What we've done is probably made a commitment to some of the young players [for] opportunities to play. Depending upon how they play, they will earn the right to play some more, or we will continue the course we've been. Also, I think we've created a little more competition at certain positions, and that's also helped. The main goal is to get everyone better--to have our coaching staff make the entire team better, so they can be more competitive. We are not that far off, as evidenced by last week."

Many of the freshmen have been getting reps with the second team, a change of plans from previous weeks.

"So far this week, we have had a lot more opportunities to get in there and make big plays and show Coach that we know the defense, that we know our plays," freshman linebacker Larry Edwards said following Wednesday's practice. "I was thankful that he has given this opportunity. I was just waiting in the wings for my turn to come. I am just trying to prove that I can play. All the freshmen are trying to do that."

During Bunting's recruitment of Edwards, no promises of playing time were made--only promises of opportunity. The game against Wisconsin appears to be the first chance to show his stuff.

"He said if I wanted it, I could take it," Edwards recalled. "He just said that if I came here, it wasn't going to be an easy task. I was going to have to work hard for everything that I wanted, and if I wanted to be great and worked hard at it, I'd be great if I came to UNC. He gave me a good opportunity."

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