"The answer to that question is that it's probably going to take a couple of guys that are going to play. We're hopeful that Shaun Draughn will be able to play. We were very impressed with what Hunter Furr did in the fourth quarter, coming off the bench and doing what he did – you can't say enough about that. Certainly, Anthony Elzy is… There were bombs going off all over the field. It looked like it was going to take volunteers at the end of that game, but between those three young men, hopefully we'll be able to have a healthy enough group of guys to play in this game."
On the team being able to overcome the loss of so many players:
"It clearly is a great tribute to our assistant coaching staff. Their ability to coach kids and have them prepared and be able to go in and function and perform and play well… Their positive attitude, their perserverance in finding roles that kids can do, because at this stage of the season, it's more about what the kid can do rather than what the coaches would sometimes like to do. I think that part of it has been underestimated.
"We're very fortunate with John Shoop being our offensive coordinator and Everett Withers being our defensive coordinator – one of the things that both of them bring to our coaching staff is that they both spent a pretty significant amount of time in the NFL. Not necessarily to this extent, but you get challenges like this because you only have a 53-man roster and you have a limited number of guys. You have to have some versatility within your schemes and packages to be able to plug guys in. You only have seven offensive linemen and you may only have four wide receivers. Guys get nicked up in the NFL and you can't cut them and trade them – you've got to play with who you have. I think it's a real tribute to them and the job that they've done with our assistant coaches to get guys prepared for each week."
Is the defensive line finally healthy?
"For the most part. Getting Jordan Nix back a couple of weeks ago on a limited basis, and each week he gets a little bit better and is able to contribute and play a little bit more. We did lose Linwan Euwell last week. Linwan was playing in our nickel packages some at defensive end. He sprained his arch a little bit and he's working his way back into practice on a limited basis so far this week, but he's a significant contributor on three of our four major special teams. Every time somebody goes down, someone else is going to have to step up."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JOHN SHOOP
On dealing with personnel losses:
"We like to use multiple personnel groupings and use a lot of people in a game plan for a couple of reasons. One of which is morale. You're likely to practice and prepare ahrder if you think there is an opportunity of you playing in the game. And two, if you do have injuries or get depleted, you're not shut out. If we only played with the fullback and nothing else, if the fullback gets injured, we're dead in the water. You saw it with the San Francisco Giants this year in the World Series. That's a team that played 25 people every game and the Rangers played nine people, really, and when they got cold, they were out of luck.
"So if there is a personnel grouping that doesn't necessarily fit this week, we won't pound our head into a brick wall. We'll use another personnel grouping. It helps with your endurance in a season with not having to play 80 plays in a game, and it also helps with morale… One of the things I've learned from [Davis] is that coaching morale is one of the most underrated things that coaches have to do."
On Dwight Jones:
"He's really got an intense work ethic. I think T.J. [Yates] would agree, but there was a time earlier in the season when we all thought he was going to have this major breakout game. He played some great games where he only had like one catch, blocking people and such. He knows that if he sets things up by blocking his tail off, he'll be able to get behind guys and they'll think that it's a run. He's done a great job in doing that. He's practicing with a great deal of intensity.
"There's another guy that stands for things that are right. His grades are high, his tutor calls me regularly and says, ‘What a great guy he is.' He's doing a lot of things right and he takes his job seriously and we're sure lucky to have him."
Explaining the 50-50 ball:
"The best we can do as a coaching staff is get a guy 1-on-1. That's the best we can do. Occasionally, you'll see a guy running scot-free, but if he's 1-on-1, T.J. is taught that the ball has got to go to him. He's got to win those 1-on-1 battles. So whenever T.J. puts the ball up in the air, last year there was a few times when we didn't win the 50-50 battle. The defense did. Well, these guys are going up this year and grabbing those balls like it's a rebound. They're really competing hard. A 50-50 ball is whenever the quarterback just gives the wideouts a chance in 1-on-1 situations and trusts that they'll come down with it. It takes a good quarterback not to flinch in that situation."
'Butch Davis Live' airs Wednesday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.