The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday September 26th

Durant To See Earlier Action

UNC coach John Bunting said Wednesday he plans to field Durant earlier than normal in the Sept. 22 game, when the sixth-ranked Seminoles come to Kenan Stadium for a noon matchup.

While Bunting declined to give further specifics about his and offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill's plan, it seems certain that Durant will see action before the waning minutes of the third quarter, the earliest he has entered UNC's three games this season.

"We've made a decision: We're going to have a plan in place to get him in the game earlier," Bunting said. "So there's a switch in my quarterback situation."

Curry, a senior, and Durant have posted similar numbers this season.

Curry has gone 20 of 48 for 240 yards, thrown five interceptions and rushed 33 times for 15 yards and a touchdown.

Durant has gone 23 of 48 for 260 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, including a 152-yard, two-TD performance in the Tar Heels' season-opening loss at then-No. 4 Oklahoma.

Of course, Durant has done his damage in fewer minutes than Curry and flashed big-play potential many expected of his elder teammate this season.

"It has a lot more to do with Darian, what has Darian done when he's gotten in there," Bunting said. "In a situation which evolves sometimes with a breakdown in the offensive line, Darian has a good feel sometimes for scrambling around and trying to make a play."

Durant said Thursday he doesn't see the new plan as the coaches giving him a chance to challenge for the starting job.

"I wouldn't say that," Durant said. "I think they want to see, really, what I can do in the early situations of the game because every time I've been put in it's been real late in the game."

Durant said he doesn't know how much time he'll see on the field next week. But he's excited about his new role.

"I don't know how much I'm going to get," he said. "It really doesn't matter. Just to know that I'm going to be in the game a little bit earlier than I was is a big thing for me."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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