Thursday Notebook

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Butch Davis spoke with reporters prior to Thursday's practice, touching on recruits' responses to the NCAA investigation, Greg Elleby's knee surgery and Quan Sturdivant's status for Saturday's game at Virginia.

** North Carolina's recruiting efforts have seemingly increased recently, leading to several recruits commenting on the NCAA investigation. Davis was asked on Thursday how his staff is responding to potential recruits and commits about the ongoing probe.

"[That] we're going to get through this," Davis said. "The thing that we've told them is that anything that we've done that we need to do better, I'm going to make absolutely certain that we're going to do it, we're going to fix whatever issues that come out of this, and we'll be better for it, and this is going to be a great place to go to school."

Some recruits have reported that they've been told certain things about UNC's situation vis-à-vis the NCAA investigation by the coaching staff. What is the staff able to tell them at this point?

"You can look at other previous cases, you can certainly look and draw conclusions from Southern Cal, Alabama, or any of the other institutions, whether it is in basketball, football, or any of the other sports, and kind of get a general idea," Davis said. "To be honest with you, all we're trying to do is to cooperate completely and fully as an institution with the NCAA and their review, and help them expedite this, and draw it to as quick a conclusion as possible. And we think we are on that track."

Quite possibly the most pressing concern revolves around Davis's future in Chapel Hill, but that consistent answer has been short and to the point.

"I am going to be the head football coach," Davis said.

** On other fronts, Davis was asked about the extent of defensive tackle Greg Elleby's knee injury and how the senior is coping with treatment.

"The good news that the doctors shared with us and shared with Greg is the fact that anytime you have an ACL injury, people can overcome those things and not lose speed, so an offensive lineman or a defensive lineman is going to be okay," Davis said. "The good news is that there was no damage whatsoever to the cartilage, that the one thing that orthopedic surgeons are always concerned about."

** The most significant injury concern centers on linebacker Quan Sturdivant's hamstring, and Davis sounded a little more positive about the potential for the senior to return for the Virginia game.

"Is Quan any closer? The answer is ‘Yes,' he is a little bit closer," Davis said. "It will still be a game-time decision. He's been doing some things, but he's not 100 percent yet. We're still a couple of days away, but we'll see."

** Davis was also asked about "The Curse" in Charlottesville that has existed since 1981. The fourth-year UNC head coach said that there had been little or no discussion about the streak this week with the team and he promptly dismissed the notion of a curse. He then indicated that the focus is on this year's UNC team and this year's UVA team.

"What happened in the past, as far as I'm concerned, has no relevance as to what's going to happen on Saturday," Davis said.

** Getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks has been hit and miss this year, as the Tar Heels obviously miss the production of ineligible defensive end Robert Quinn, but Davis said that when it comes to the younger defensive linemen – players like Kareem Martin and Tim Jackson – instead of focusing on production in terms of sacks or tackles for loss, the focus is on the effort the players are giving in the opportunities they have.

"How many true legitimate opportunities do they have and do they really get a chance to get any pressure?" Davis said. "Was it a screen? Was it a three-step drop? Was it in the shotgun and they were throwing bubble screens and jailbreaks? Those are thankless opportunities because you rush and you know you're not going to get there."

** While the NCAA investigation has garnered the bulk of the media attention in recent weeks, North Carolina's strong play and resilience has not gone unnoticed. Davis provided some insight into what the coaching staff has preached to the players to keep the team together during this stressful stretch of time.

"Be each other's supporters," Davis said. "Team unity is important in any team sport. For them to continue to step up and accept the challenge to play, as a lot of kids are playing in roles that they never dreamed they would be playing in this year."




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