About As Good As It Gets

Well folks, UNC's win over Clemson was about as good as it ever gets on this planet. Whether we will admit it or not, we all want a perfect game every time out, knowing full well that such a thing is an impossibility, but the win in Death Valley on Saturday was pretty doggone close. Other than a couple of penalties and a missed kickoff, there really isn't much to say about the game that, in any way, could be construed as negative.

At the outset, I got that "Oklahoma" feeling when we started deep in our territory. However, on the second series we proved we could move the ball and it only got better as the game progressed. I shudder every time the word "swagger" is used to describe the Heels because I think it comes awfully close to meaning "cocky" but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that this team is now confident and it seems to build with each passing game. Now if we can just avoid a letup.

Coaches tell me that you "can't go to the well every Saturday" meaning that in the course of a season, you are going to have a game when you don't play with emotion or execution is off. I just hope the first quarter against East Carolina was our bad period and, thank goodness, it didn't last a complete game. I really have trouble thinking that we won't be emotionally prepared for Georgia Tech and I feel if we lose to the Bees it will be because of play on the field and not preparation or mindset. I think we are a better team than Ga. Tech. but that's why they play the games on the field rather than on paper.

Obviously, the Clemson game has significant ramifications beyond being the victor on the field. I'm talking about recruiting, and I have to believe that those prospects being recruited by both UNC and Clemson have to realize that UNC is a program on the way up. I not naive enough to think that recruits make a decision based on the outcome of one ball game but the results of games with Fla. State, Clemson, State, East Carolina and Virginia have got to send the right message. The program is on the upswing and we already can play with the big boys.

Wasn't it nice to hear a crowd of over 83,000 silent. One S.C. writer had said before the game that UNC hadn't played in a environment like Death Valley and suggested that it would be too much for us to handle. As ole Frank Howard used to say, "It takes a couple of good hard hits to knock some of that school spirit out of them" (opponent). I still am amazed that FH was Phi Beta Kappa, a fact I didn't learn until a couple of months ago.

I really don't know why I don't tape games anymore because there are a couple of things I would like to see again. I think one unnecessary roughness penalty was caused by a Clemson player blocking our player into the Clemson player who was on the ground and I would really like to see exactly what happened on the "missed kick". If it was truly missed, isn't there a penalty that goes with that like offsides? Subjective judgment by the officials I guess. I think the reason I stopped taping is that one has to draw the line, at some point, on how much time they are willing to spend on sports and maybe taping is where my line is currently drawn. Of course, not taping has it's drawbacks since I had to race around desperately to get a copy of the Florida State game tape for my personal treasure chest but it would have been impossible to tape it in Richmond since the game was not televised here.

Peppers improved his status with his game and it looks like just about everyone is now on his wagon. I don't know if he will be the number 1 pick in the NFL draft or not, but I think it is safe to say that he will be a multi millionaire very shortly. I don't even like to think about the fact that he has another year of UNC football eligibility not to even mention basketball.

Another positive aspect of our success in the last 5 games is the fact that our reserves seem to be getting quite a few reps. I don't have numbers to support this but I have a feeling we won't be quite as decimated next year as I earlier thought. I just want us to emphasize offensive linemen in our recruiting because this area has been neglected for so long. We are finally pulling out of a deep hole but it has been a long struggle.

I'm not going to say much about this next topic but it is being discussed among Carolina people and needs airing. To avoid any confusion, let me say that I am a strong supporter of Bunting, his staff and the new attitude he has brought to Chapel Hill. But if I understand correctly what he said about the quarterback situation for next year to a group after his radio show several weeks ago, then I am concerned. While I don't have the direct quote, several persons have said that Coach Bunting referred to Stevens (Fla. transfer) as Carolina's likely quarterback next year. It is purported that Stevens is looking very good with the scout team in practices.

Now I see nothing wrong with praising the performance of someone who is looking good in practices but to say that this person is likely to be the quarterback next year defies explanation to me. I would like to be able to say that Coach Bunting didn't say it or what he said was misunderstood but too many people have said they heard it so I can't pretend it didn't happen. Others say that possibly he said it to motivate Durant but I can't buy that. This is the kind of thing you say in private if it was being used for motivational purposes. I just know that I have a great deal of empathy for Durant in this situation because, quite frankly I don't know how he could have done much better than he has. I'm not at liberty to divulge everything I know but keep in mind that he is not from North Carolina and there are schools in his home state that I'm sure would accept him as a transfer if he decided he wasn't properly appreciated at UNC. I'm not talking about Clemson.

I really don't know what Coach Bunting can do publicly but the story is out there and some people are trying to read into the interview with Durant's parents in the stands yesterday, signs of discontent. I'm not saying that but I wish the issue, if it exists, would be resolved and that Durant will be satisfied with it's resolution. I think he is an outstanding quarterback and he is just going to get better.

So we get a week off now (10 days). I imagine the practices at the beginning of the week will not be intense and that serious preparation for Georgia Tech will not begin until later in the week. I can't wait until Nov. 1st when we tangle with the Yellow Jackets in the oldest football stadium in continuous use in the country (1913). Got that from the game announces but I've still got to do a little research on Franklin Field (1895).