Another ‘No News' Day

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Butch Davis talked to reporters prior to Thursday's practice for roughly 10 minutes, but it only took the fourth-year UNC head coach 11 seconds to deliver the news that there were no updates on the 12 players in question for Saturday's home opener against Georgia Tech.

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* Davis has never been known for his brevity in talking with the media, but his second media gathering of the week provided a wealth of information in the first 17 seconds at Navy Fields. During that time frame, Davis indicated that no one has replaced John Blake as the team's recruiting coordinator and that a replacement won't be decided upon until after the season is over, while also informing reporters that anyone held out of Saturday's contest will not be able allowed to dress out or stand on the sidelines.

Sandwiched in between those news bites was the answer to the question that fans have been clamoring for all week long – has Davis heard anything new about the dozen Tar Heels still yet to be cleared with regard to the ongoing NCAA investigation?

"We have not – no updates," Davis said.

But don't think that the players in question are simply twiddling their thumbs on the sidelines.

"They're working on the scout team, they're taking advantage of individual [drills] to keep their skills sharp," Davis said. "When we go to individual drills, we're just coaching football. Fundamentals [and] techniques at all of the different positions. In groups and walkthroughs, obviously we've encouraged all of those guys to stay mentally involved… If and when the day comes that they are cleared, they'll be able to participate back again in the rotation."

But as the hours before Saturday's noon kickoff rapidly evaporate, the opportunity for any of the 12 players to potentially log serious minutes against the Yellow Jackets also seems to be vanishing.

"It is certainly somewhat limiting," Davis said. "There would be some of them that certainly could make an immediate impact and certainly could help on any given Saturday on special teams… Their role on defense – it would just be who they were. But they would have missed a significant amount of time, and none of them would start. And some of them might not even be able to play as significant a role as backups."

* Despite being pelted with a barrage of questions – 10 in all – pertaining to Chris Hawkins, a former UNC football player and friend of various current Tar Heels that has been deemed an agent by the NCAA, Davis maintained his long-held stance of deferring NCAA discussion to athletic director Dick Baddour.

When asked if Hawkins was still hanging out at the Kenan Football Center, Davis finally relented and said, "He is no longer in our facility and he is not in our facility at this time."

* Shaun Draughn is the lone member of the group of 13 Tar Heels that sat out the season opener against LSU to be cleared by both UNC and the NCAA this week. The red-shirt senior was listed as the starting running back heading into the '10 season.

"It was good to get him back," Davis said. "Obviously, he had spent some time doing a few things with the offense over the previous weeks and had spent some time on the scout team. He's done an awful lot of stuff. Fortunately for him, he's been there a long time, so it's not like he's having to relearn a lot."

Draughn will join backups Johnny White and Hunter Furr, as well as fullback Anthony Elzy, in the stable of tailbacks that North Carolina will utilize against Georgia Tech.

"I think what it will do is allow us to play running back by committee to keep fresh guys in the game and protect ourselves from what happened last game, where guys got overexposed," Davis said. "They were trying to help a little bit on special teams and play tailback, so now we can cut that workload a little bit."

* The defensive line suffered significant offseason losses when E.J. Wilson, Al Mullins and Cam Thomas all signed NFL tenders last April, and that position was hit once again when the NCAA rolled into town. Defensive tackle Marvin Austion and defensive ends Robert Quinn and Michael McAdoo could only watch from a distance against LSU, forcing upperclassmen Tydreke Powell and Quinton Coples to play nearly the entire game on the line.

To help alleviate that workload, the UNC coaching staff moved fifth-year senior Greg Elleby from his offensive guard spot back to the defensive line, where he played his first two seasons at defensive end. The Tabor City, N.C. native will now play at defensive tackle.

"We moved Greg back to the defensive line in the middle of last week, just because he started out in his career [there]," Davis said. "Actually, he started a game for us defensively. He was the guy that probably had the quickest easiest adjustment to be able to come over and help us in the defensive line to give us some depth."

* While the media has feasted on Blake's resignation 12 days ago, little if any attention has been paid to how that decision has impacted the players on the defensive line that Blake has recruited and/or coached over the past three-and-a-half years. One of his pupils was sophomore defensive end Donte Paige-Moss, who spoke to a handful of reporters earlier this week about his position coach's resignation.

"Of course, it's very hurtful," Moss said. "I've been with Coach Blake for almost four years because I committed early in my junior year, so I was with him for basically two years before I even played for him. With him being such a spiritual person and such a good person, that played a role in my life because with all of the other good colleges that were after me, such as Alabama, Florida and LSU, I felt like he as a coach personally wanted more for me than just football.

"So he took more a father figure [role] in my life, more than just a coach. So when he resigned, it wasn't just losing a coach, because if I had just lost a coach, it wouldn't have hurt as bad. But it felt like I was losing a friend, a mentor and a father."

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