Houston Likely to Red-Shirt

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach Butch Davis spoke with reporters prior to Thursday's practice, touching on Ryan Houston's likelihood of red-shirting, Kendric Burney's ongoing drama and Quan Sturdivant's status for Saturday's game at Miami.

* Last Thursday, North Carolina announced that senior tailback Ryan Houston has been cleared to play and would make his 2010 debut at Virginia last weekend. But the 44-10 throttling in Charlottesville came and went with Houston left standing on the sidelines.

As Inside Carolina reported on Thursday morning, Davis and Houston discussed the situation earlier this week and decided that the Matthews, N.C. native would attempt to red-shirt the remainder of the season, provided no injuries or other issues forced the head coach's hand. Davis offered more information on that topic prior to Thursday's practice.

"The resolution is that if we need him to win games, we're going to play him," Davis replied when asked if a resolution had been reached on Houston's status. "… The ideal situation would be that we would like not to."

Davis indicated that there will be a hard cutoff date for Houston to potentially play, saying that once the team reaches Week 10 or 11, the coaching staff would not put him in for just a couple of games.

* North Carolina also updated the status of senior cornerbacks Charles Brown (out for '10) and Kendric Burney (out vs. Miami) on Wednesday, and Davis indicated during his weekly radio show on Wednesday night that Brown would be placed on probation for two semesters but would red-shirt this season and return to the playing field in '11.

Davis could offer no information as to the likelihood of Burney's return to action.

"I have no idea," Davis said. "It's something that's just got to be resolved and it's going to take a little bit more time."

Several news outlets reported that Burney would be able to play against Miami following a Honor Court proceeding on Monday night, but Davis indicated that No. 16 has kept his head up through this entire ordeal.

"He's like everybody else – he's disappointed," Davis said. "He would like to be able to put this in the past and move on with it. Kendric's a good kid and he's a strong emotional kid. He's handled some of this adversity about as well as anybody could expect him to handle it… He's dealing with it as well as I think anybody could."

As for Brown, Davis deflected a question about his return in '11 being a potential blessing in disguise.

"Right now, we're just focused on this weekend against Miami," Davis said.

Brown joins fellow defensive backs Jonathan Smith and Brian Gupton as Tar Heels suspended for the current season that will be able to suit up next season.

* Here is this week's injury update before the official injury report:

Reporter: Is linebacker Quan Sturdivant still a gametime decision?

Davis: "Yes."

Reporter: How about cornerback LeCount Fantroy?

Davis: "He's probably less of a probability than Quan."

* The questions about Davis's time at Miami remain a fixture in the media – just see the multitude of Miami topics broached during Wednesday's ACC teleconference – so it's understandable that a portion of those questions would center on his emotions in facing his former team.

But Davis appears ready to put that discussion to rest.

"It has a little bit more significance simply because I coached there, but this is Year 4," Davis said. "… In 2007, it was odd and unique to stand on the sidelines and look across the field and see the team that you coached for many years. But I guess some of that has worn off over the last four years."

* While North Carolina's four-game winning streak has been impressive, the Tar Heels now face a tough task in the second half of the season if they want to duplicate their 4-2 record through the first six games on the schedule.

Miami (4-2), Florida State (6-1), Virginia Tech (5-2) and N.C. State (5-2) all stand in North Carolina's path to the Coastal Division crown.

"Obviously it starts this weekend with Miami and you try not to look too much farther into the future, but there's a lot of very challenging games remaining," Davis said.

Inside Carolina Top Stories