Local News

Two-Headed Monster 2-0 For Tar Heels

Posted October 2, 2001

— John Bunting expected questions about his quarterback situation to stop after North Carolina won both its games splitting time between Ronald Curry and Darian Durant.

The coach of the Tar Heels (2-3) should have known better, especially with Durant putting up better numbers and point production.

``I am not sure why I have to keep talking about this,'' Bunting said Tuesday. ``I have pretty much said the same thing each time. I think Ronald does some good things. I want to keep playing Ronald because he is going to help us win a football game. I like to win.''

Curry, a senior, started in the new coach's opener. But he was replaced each time in the second half by the freshman Durant after poor showings in losses to Oklahoma, Maryland and Texas.

Bunting and offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill then decided to rotate the QBs every two series to see what would happen. The system has produced wins over Florida State and North Carolina State the last two weeks.

Durant's numbers in those two games have been decidedly better than Curry's, prompting more questions about why Durant hasn't been given the job on a full-time basis.

In the two wins, Durant is a combined 19-for-30 for 243 yards and three TD passes, while Curry is 11-for-27 for 151 yards and one TD pass.

On the season, Durant has completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 539 yards and six TDs, while Curry has connected on a lowly 37 percent for 355 yards and just one TD pass for a QB-rating that's 37 points below Durant.

A 39-yard TD run by Curry was called back Saturday because of a holding penalty, but the senior also made a pair of mistakes that cost the Tar Heels potential points.

The ball was picked off as he was being chased by Wolfpack defenders. Another time, Curry allowed himself to be sacked and taken out of field goal range.

The team scored all 17 points under Durant's leadership.

Bunting insisted the QB-rotation system would remain the same for this weekend's game against East Carolina (2-2).

``We've discussed that maybe if somebody really has a hot hand we would make a change or go with one,'' Bunting said. ``But that has not been my perception and I am ultimately the guy making that decision. I talk with Gary, but I am pleased with the way it has gone so far.''

Two senior players said Tuesday there would be no rift on the team if Durant eventually won the job. However, Kory Bailey and Joey Evans believe Curry can still lead the Tar Heels to wins.

``College football is not very much unlike the pros in that it's a business,'' Bailey said. ``You have to go with the guys who are getting it done.''

``Not at all,'' Evans said when asked if the upperclassmen would take it hard if Curry saw less time. ``Ronald is a competitor, but the bottom line with this team is we want to win games. Those two are very good quarterbacks. We can't go wrong with either one of them.''

Despite being last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in total offense and seventh in scoring, Bunting said he was more than pleased with Tranquill's job as offensive coordinator.

``He has done a great job managing this situation,'' Bunting said. ``The two quarterbacks are a little bit different so the offense changes somewhat.''

The Tar Heels rotated quarterbacks twice under former coach Mack Brown. Jason Stanicek and Mike Thomas split time during a 9-3 season in 1992, while Oscar Davenport and Chris Keldorf did the same and went 11-1 in 1997.

NOTES: Former UNC coach Bill Dooley will be honored at halftime of Saturday's game. Bunting played for Dooley, who won 69 games and three ACC titles in Chapel Hill in 11 seasons. ... Willie Parker started the season as the No. 1 tailback but hasn't carried the ball in the last two games. ... East Carolina may be looking for Andre' Williams early in each series. The North Carolina tailback ran it on first down in the first four possessions against the Wolfpack.


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