©?r Daily (Tar Heel
Are you ready for some
UNC vs. N.C. State
North Carolina quarterback Ronald Curry takes a knee
with 28 seconds ticking away on the clock. The battle done,
his fellow Tar Heels lift their voices in tri
umphant screams and race onto the field
toward their band and their fans.
They sing, they laugh, they enjoy the
17-9 victory. And when the song has
ended, they turn to the center of Carter-
Finley Stadium, to N.C. State’s defeated football team.
Awkwardly, they stand for a few moments, but then, in a great
wave, they fall to their knees and pray with the Wolfpack.
The Game’s End
Greg Woofter is the first Tar Heel off the field. He walks
with a man in North Carolina regalia and gestures with his hel
met, shaking his hands and helmet back and forth.
Tight end Zach Hilton runs in seconds after Woofter reach
es the field house. The 6-foot-7 Hilton beams, having caught
the first two passes of his career in the game.
There are plenty of other smiles. Assistant head coach
James Webster claps hard as he strides to the locker room.
Senior wideout Kory Bailey uses his helmet to punctuate his
feelings. He looks as if he’d like to cry. Center Adam Metts
walks next to offensive lineman coach Robbie Caldwell, grin
ning ear to ear. But he stops, turns and hugs a teammate.
Finally, UNC’s first-year head coach John Bunting makes
his way to the field house. Under the blaring sounds of Lee
Greenwood’s “I’m Proud to Be an American,” Bunting smiles,
hugs and shakes hands with friends, players and staff.
Sports Information Office
Tucked away beneath the Dean Smith Center in the Sports
Information Office is Kevin Best, assistant athletic communi
cations director. He and five other UNC athletics officials and
student assistants are compiling information from Saturday.
Best’s task is to prepare information for Bunting’s 5 p.m.
teleconference. The process involves sorting through and
updating player statistics, gathering newspaper clips, and
preparing a fist of reporters and questions for the conference.
“It just takes time,” Best says, as he sifts through statistics, cir
cling numbers and highlighting names. Best also writes “Today’s
Game,” one of six features in the program that he edits.
The phone rings. Best brushes aside the stacks of graphs,
press releases and programs that have gathered on his desk
to answer it. It’s a reporter from The Chapel Hill News.
Best responds with quick “yes” or “no” answers. And as
soon as the conversation ends, he is back to work. Best casu
ally nods tow ard the phone. “Somebody has to coordinate and
run (the press for football) - that’s what I do,” he says.
The Army ROTC practice begins to wind down. Students
walk away from the Naval Armoiy on South Columbia Street
with a knowledge of what they need to do to improve their
individual presentation. Presenting the colors and handling the
arms with precision, finesse and fluidness is key.
As for the cadets’ spirits, they are high in the Army ROTC,
says Nate Williams, the leader of the presentation. “We always
have a lot of patriotism,” he says. “But when we see everyone
else being patriotic and supporting us, it builds morale.”
10:45 a.m. #
It’s 15 minutes before the Tuesday press conference. Reporters,
joined by Bunting, are streaming into the Kenan Football Center.
Dressed casually in jeans and sweatshirts, 30 members of
the press lug tripods, microphones and laptop computers into
the John D. Swofford Auditorium. Papers are shuffled, notes
are written, and reporters chat about the recent UNC wins.
Only moments later barrel-chested Bunting charges into the
room, wearing his standard-issue Carolina blue UNC polo
shirt. The walnut-sized Super Bow l ring on his right ring fin
ger is a visual reminder of his storied histoiy.
The reporters converge on the table where the coach sits
and deposit a dozen or so tape recorders in front of him. The
moderator announces the time for the next game and, like the
herald of a king, informs them Bunting is now ready to speak.
Bunting gives a brief account of the N.C. State win. He says
he is pleased and gives his expectations for the ECU game.
The reporters begin their questions all at once and gener-
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Archie Cheek, who works for Party Showcase, a local party supply provider,
sets up tents for Tar Heel Town in Polk Place on Thursday afternoon.
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Co-captain Stuart Mintz leads the UNC Dance Team in a Wednesday night practice (above). Superintendent of Athletic Facilities Bobby Gales works with Rusty Nipper,
Kevin Robinson and Ben Saunders to put anew goalpost in the ground at Kenan Stadium (below left). Members of the ECU class of '54 dance the night away
at a Pirate Club pep rally held in the Durham Bulls Athletic park Friday night (below right). UNC football players practice Tuesday afternoon (bottom).
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ally defer to the most assertive voice.
Bunting breaks from his stoic pose only occasionally. At one
point when a reporter mentions that the team has had “no seri
ous injuries,” he knocks his ring on the table for good luck.
Defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta fakes a throw to a line of
defensive backs spaced five yards apart. They’re running back
ward, and with each fake of Tenuta’s hand, they twist in uni
son and run in the direction the ball would have traveled.
As they run, they shout what to the casual observer sounds
like gibberish, but occasionally one clearly yells, “Pass!” Once
the four - UNC’s starting secondary - reach the other side of
the field, another line of four begins.
Tenuta, dressed in a gray Carolina T-shirt over a long
sleeved white shirt and shorts, is in charge of the entire defense,
but is known for the magic he works in the secondary. Later,
Tenuta will stand behind his defense and critique its perfor
mance on each play, but for now, he’s working on his defen
sive backs’ ability to follow the ball.
It’s way too early for football,
not to mention waiting in line at
the Smith Center for ticket distri
bution. But most students weren’t
planning on having to wait.
When Florida State was in town,
there wasn’t even a line at distri
bution. But it’s different this time.
Hopes of getting the tickets
and getting back fade quickly, as
students pull up to find all the
parking lots full.
Dance Team Practice
Things get serious when
UNC Dance Team coach Don
He quickly places the 15-mem
ber team into two game forma
tions, shuffling dancers around at
random. The dancers must be on
their toes. Here, the ability to
adjust one’s performance to on
the-spot changes in formation is
tested. Any deviation could result in spend
ing Saturday in the stands.
The coach surveys the dancers. With a
quick motion of his hand and a simple
“out,” three performers are sent to the side.
The remaining dancers swirl into fren
zied motion. Beads of sweat glue stray
hairs to foreheads. The dance ends with
each girl frozen at attention, and they
smile up at imaginary bleachers and fans.
The coach looks over the lines of dancers
and simply says, “Again.”
Painting the Field
Five groundskeepers are fighting
nature to keep the lines on the football
field crisp bright blue and white.
They carry long pipes with hoses
attached, several rumbling pumps push the paint through the
hoses to the pipes, where it sprays out of the end.
After a full day’s work all of the groundskeepers are wear
ing Carolina blue. “His shoes didn’t come that color - it was
the paint,” says supervisor Mark Gaines, pointing out one of
his co-workers wearing shoes the color of Papa Smurf.
Gaines says the repainting is painstaking. It takes the work
ers’ total concentration to follow the old lines. But he says the
work pays off. “The best part is when we watch them play.”
Marching Band Practice
Brilliant green AstroTurf blankets their feet while just across
South Road the flags of the UNC colorguard paint the air in pink.
In fierce preparation for the upcoming game, 333 members
of the Marching Tar Heels warm up in a semicircle around a
drum major perched atop a ladder platform.
Marching in place, their feet rolling from heel to toe, they
hold one eye on the waving arms of the drum major and the
other on the music stand.
Director Jeffrey Fuchs barks commands from loudspeakers.
“32,16, back 16.” The language is lost to the outsiders watching.
With Linebacker David Thornton
“Yeah, it was a busy day,” says North Carolina senior line
backer David Thornton, finally having walked through the
door of his apartment.
Thornton started his day with an 8 a.m. breakfast at the
football center. Thornton then headed into the weight room
for a light workout for half an hour. Tuesdays and Thursdays
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Thornton has two classes (at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.), so he
met with his coach after his workout to discuss what the mis
takes he made in Wednesday’s practice.
After class and a quick stop to pick up a bite to eat,
Thornton presented himself for a 2:15 p.m. meeting and then
walked with his teammates from the football center to the
practice field next to Henry Stadium.
When practice was over, Thornton headed back upstairs to
the dining area of the football center for the feast laid out for
the post-practice meal. Ribs, collared greens, barbecue.
“Healthy" food, Thornton calls it, being completely sincere.
That’s probably because on his way from after hitting the
books at the University’s academic center, Thornton made a
slight detour to Wendy’s. “1 had to get some late-night food,”
he says with a laugh.
See FOOTBALL, Page 6
Friday, November 9, 2001