"In some respects, there's still some [lack of] clarity. Kendric Burney still has a little bit of an unresolved issue that at some point in time hopefully we can get that to some kind of full resolution. And then Charlie Brown found out that he's going to be put on probation for two semesters. He's got one year of eligibility remaining, so he'll stay on the football team and obviously he'll get a chance to practice and go through spring practice and use this year as a red-shirt year."
On Ryan Houston:
"Ryan and I had a long conversation on Monday… The way it stands is that obviously Ryan has got another year of eligibility and he and I have a pretty good understanding that he has to be prepared every single Saturday to potentially go into a ball game. I would love to be able to sit there and look him in the eye, and say, ‘I'd love to be able to guarantee that you've got that red-shirt year, but in the nature of the business that we're in, and at this particular time with half of the season left, are our two running backs enough to get us through the rest of the season?' And I said, ‘Hopefully they are.' …
"But if something obviously goes wrong with that plan, he may have to [play] with us in the hunt in the ACC and trying to get into the Orange Bowl and with a lot of goals that our football team has, the discussion would have to be revisited depending upon the stage of the season. We're all on the same page… At any given moment, you reserve the right as a head coach to change your mind."
On the efforts of the team in defeating Virginia:
"Our coaching staff – I can't say enough good things about they way that they've worked. They've just stayed positive with these kids every single week, every practice, just trying to get better. And what can you say about a group of guys that refuse to surrender emotionally and psychologically? They just keep chipping away and trying to get better. Everybody that I know that has anything to do with this university is extraordinarily proud of those kids."
On telling players the truth:
"One of the things that our players respect our coaching staff for is that we tell our kids the truth. We don't cry wolf. We don't try to make somebody that's an average team or maybe a below-average team, we don't try to build them up and try to make them seem like the greatest thing that's ever put on a football uniform because when you need to tell them to respect certain players or respect certain teams or aspects of the game, you want them to believe you. Because they're smart enough, they're savvy enough now that they turn on that film and they can look at it and say, ‘Yeah, Coach is telling the truth,' or ‘You know what, Coach is not telling the truth.' You want to always have that trust when you're telling them [things]."
"This is a good football team. They've got a lot of team speed. They've got talent on both sides of the ball. They've got dangerous returners, so this will be one of those challenges – very similar to playing LSU, very similar to playing Clemson – this is a very, very good football team."
Overcoming the loss of Zack Pianalto:
"Well, it's going to be a little bit of a challenge. Sometimes when some of your better players get injured or are not able to play, there may not be one single individual that can step up and take the entire role. It's going to take a collective effort out of a couple of people. Certainly Ed Barham has been playing a lot more at tight end. Christian Wilson, who has kind of taken a backseat role – he played a lot last year when Ryan Taylor was injured – obviously his role will get significantly bigger and Ryan Taylor's role and Nelson Hurst, James Hurst's older brother came in and red-shirted last year, so it will be a collective effort out of a lot of guys to be able to utilize them and try to compensate.
"It's a terrible thing when you lose somebody like Zack Pianalto. He was our team's leading receiver, not only in yards, but also in catches. But this team has been resilient and they'll be some guys that step up and they'll play well and they'll surprise people with the performance that they deliver."
More on Pianalto:
"He is going to have surgery this Friday and have a screw put into the fibula, which is the small non-weight bearing bone on his foot. The tragedy of it is that the injury came as a result of a late hit shot that resulted in a 15-yard penalty. If it's not a late hit, he doesn't break the bone and is probably still playing, so it's a shame that you lose somebody on a play like that."
On T.J. Yates:
"Obviously, T.J. is having an outstanding year. And I think there are several reasons. One of the things that I can tell you from watching his growth and development is that he's a lot more confident in his own personal ability. He understands the whole offense. I think he's benefitting from the fact that the offensive line has gotten better. Every quarterback would love to be able to say that he had a rock solid, good offensive line.
"Last year, it was, ‘This guy is hurt, this guy is gone, he plays right guard, he moves over,' so some of those issues have been resolved. Look at the receivers. Last year, Jhay Boyd was a freshman, Erik Highsmith was a freshman, Todd Harrelson had never played, Dwight Jones had never played. So you had a young, inexperienced offensive line that was injured and new receivers."
Had you seen Dwight Jones's performance against Virginia coming?
Well, a little bit of it. There were a lot of high expectations for Dwight going into last year's season. It was Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate and Brooks Foster, and it was like, ‘Okay, who's going to be the guy that kind of stands out as the next generation of good wide receivers?' Unfortunately, Dwight tore cartilage in his knee [before the season opener]…
"I don't want to say it was a wasted year in some respects, but it clearly wasn't the season that he wanted. But I will tell you – I think every coach on our staff saw what he did in the spring time. He started making plays and got his confidence back and running, and now each week he has gotten better. As much as I love what he did – he caught balls and scored touchdowns and we'll take that every single week – but I love the way he is blocking."
'Butch Davis Live' airs Wednesday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.