Butch Talks About Canes

Butch Davis was the head coach at Miami from 1995-2000 and took the Hurricanes out of probation and built them into the nation's premier college football program. Now the North Carolina head coach is talking about Miami as his next opponent. Read on to see what he's talking about just days before the game...

On Miami:
It is a very experienced football team. Of their top 44 players, their two-deep roster, on both offense and defense, they have 26 juniors and seniors. You can tell the recruiting consistency during Larry Coker's tenure that they've retained a lot of those guys and they are significant contributors in their program. Their overall team speed – I don't know that we'll play a faster team this year. They are certainly faster than Virginia Tech and East Carolina at just about every place.

On where Miami's speed concerns him the most:
Their secondary is fast [and] their defensive line. They have two just terrific pass rushers (Eric Moncur and Calais Campbell) and if you listen to the pro scouts, there are a significant number of these guys that are going to get drafted next year into the NFL. They are a good football team. They got an experienced quarterback that's been starting there for a long period of time and a backup that's played an awful lot and two very, very talented, good running backs.

On going smaller but faster at Miami, starting back in the 80's:
It definitely is true. Some of that is born out of Jimmy (Johnson)'s background as a defensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas and as a player. Jimmy was a nose tackle and if you've ever seen Jimmy, he doesn't remind you of a Ted Washington. Arkansas had built a reputation, when he was a player, they never got the cream of the crop recruits that maybe Texas got or Texas A&M. They were always built on fast and athletic speed guys. Jimmy played under that. Jimmy adopted that when he became the coordinator. When we went to Oklahoma State, we were in a rebuilding effort, competing with Oklahoma, Missouri was one of the best football programs in the country at that time. For us to compete with those teams, it was necessary to get speed and athleticism on the field. If you defensive ends at guys in high school, these guys could become really good outside linebackers. Guys who were outside linebackers who were 6-4 and 215 pounds and ran a 4.7 or 4.8, you could put their hand on the ground, like Danny Stubbs and Greg Mark and Kenny Holmes. Those guys grew into being good defensive ends. Some defensive ends drew into being good defensive tackles. A lot of defensive tackles were former fullbacks or defensive ends. They grew themselves into that type of position.

We were never as big as Penn State or Notre Dame or Florida but we were faster. Some people looked at that and started emphasizing speed over power. We took it to Dallas. We were very small in the Super Bowl years.

On speed of anyone in particular:
They're always gonna have good talented kids. Cooper, number two, is a very dangerous kid. He's fast and he has great vision. When you have a team that is overwhelmingly fast, when your team is built on speed, it's easy to build on special teams.

On what made him proud of his accomplishments at Miami:
Some of the proudest things is the fact some of the guys we had had enormous success in the NFL. I'm equally proud that the last two or three years we had just great success graduating the players. We tried to accomplish something that people said you couldn't do – that you couldn't have great academics and have good Division 1 football and compete for national championships. There are programs around the country and people are in the 40's, 50's, and 60's percent graduation rate. You like to meet the needs of these kids, because not every kid is going to play in the National Football League. The reality is that some are gonna have awesome college careers and then they're gonna go onto good business careers and become good husbands and good fathers. You shortchange the accomplishments if you just focus on one aspect. We were fortunate enough to recruit kids that were able to change the so-called image of the program, that it became the place to go to school rather than the place to avoid going to school.

On coaching against a former assistant under him:
I know it's the first time. I knew Randy as a player when I was an assistant coach. Joe Brodsky had recruited him. He never, prototypically, looked looked like the classic linebacker, but was probably one of the brightest, smartest guys we had during the 80's team I was on. That's a reason we drafted him with the Cowboys. He was a very good special teams player, an outside linebacker. Then, ironically, when I left the Cowboys, Randy was already on the staff (at Miami). Then he went to the Miami Dolphins and that was a great opportunity for him to grow and learn. He came back and he's a good football coach. He had good football instincts. He was one guy who could relay that coaching (we were giving) onto the field and help other guys. He was very smart.

Canes Time Top Stories