ACC Kickoff: Butch Davis Notebook

PINEHURST, N.C. – North Carolina head coach Butch Davis sat down with reporters for nearly an hour on Monday afternoon to discuss all things related to Tar Heel football at the ACC Football Kickoff at Pinehurst Resort.

** As expected, Davis was blitzed by a throng of media members on the recent developments of the NCAA investigation. And while little new information was revealed – Davis has not talked to John Blake, and has not tried to contact him – what stood out from the interview session was Davis's demeanor.

He has at times come across as defensive or irritated by questions pertaining to the investigation over the past 12 months, but on Sunday, the fifth-year UNC head coach was engaging, forthright and confident. Davis welcomed discussion instead of evading it.

Despite his name not being mentioned in the notice of allegations that North Carolina received in June, Davis said that he "fully and completely" accepts responsibility for the ordeal.

"I'm the head football coach," Davis said. "Things that happened… Anything that I can do to ensure that this things don't occur again, whether it's from education to the players, whether it's rules and regulations and policies, anything that we can do to make sure that doesn't happen again, that's my responsibility.

"I regret greatly that these things have transpired, that these things have happened. I don't take them lightly. This is a very serious issue. It's caused a tremendous amount of embarrassment and a tremendous amount of hard times for Carolina alums and fans. But we're going to get through this. And because of it, we're going to come out of this and we're going to be better than we were before."

** North Carolina survived the negative recruiting onslaught during the 2011 recruiting season due in large part to a significant number of commitments being secured prior to the NCAA investigation news breaking.

That luxury wasn't afforded to UNC during the current recruiting cycle. The Tar Heel coaches battled rumors and innuendo during the spring before encountering a new list of obstacles when the notice of allegations arrived last month.

When asked how hard it's been to recruit throughout the process, Davis replied, "It's been a challenge."

His coaching staff has focused their attention on promoting the university and the value of the degree that comes with graduation. Davis indicated that he often tells recruits to think about which school they would attend if football wasn't in the equation.

He also provided some insight into how recruiting has slightly changed since Signing Day.

"We've recruited exactly the same way that we have in the previous four seasons," Davis said. "… We've been very guarded and very selective about the kids [we're recruiting]. We're not out there offering maybe some of the kids that we would have in previous years just because we're taking a long hard look at who we go after and who fits into the future of the Carolina program."

** UCLA transfer Brandon Willis moved into his UNC dorm in early May just prior to beginning first semester summer school, but his availability on the field this fall is still in limbo.

The red-shirt freshman defensive tackle moved to Burlington, N.C. in March to spend time with ailing grandmother and submitted a special situations waiver to the NCAA in May that would allow him to play in 2011 and avoid bylaw regulation that requires student-athletes to sit out a season if transferring within the same division.

Davis told reporters on Monday that Willis has "not officially" been cleared to play. The Duncan, S.C. native has taken care of his responsibilities in sending paperwork to the NCAA. All that's left is to wait on the NCAA's response.

** Davis also provided an update on wide receiver Josh Adams, who sat out spring practice after being diagnosed with ANCA Vasculitis, an auto-immune disorder that affects his kidneys.

"Josh Adams is on the road to recovery," Davis said. "Just because of the nature of the thing that he had, it's like you've got to be very cautious about work overload. You don't want to send him into exhaustive fatigue that would stress his system. It's not an injury issue; it's not those kids of things. And so he's working into it. He may be a guy that goes through the entire training camp and maybe never goes through a two-a-day until he really feels stronger, until he feels like he's back to where he was."

** Davis's measuring stick for the quarterback position has always been if the signal caller can make something happen when everything is collapsing around him.

The UNC head coach referenced long-time NFL offensive coordinator Carl Smith when expanding on his belief.

"He had this term about quarterbacks – he said no matter how many physical measurements that they have, if they're going to be any good, they've got to have a little magic," Davis said. "And if they don't have magic, you probably need to move on."

UNC's coaching staff is confident that red-shirt sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner has a little bit of that magic in his back pocket. And it's apparently been evident for quite a while.

"When you watch the games of Bryn in high school, you would see that magic manifest itself," Davis said. "Protection would break down, a receiver would run a wrong route, this, that and the other, but he would throw a good ball and throw a touchdown or throw a completion. He would turn something bad into something good."

** Davis is all business during football season, which makes the rare occasion when he allows a peak behind the steel curtains that guard his personal life a note-worthy experience. When discussing his son Drew's budding quarterback career, the Tar Heel coach dove headfirst into the difficulties that come along with the unforgiving career of a football coach.

"It's tough being a father when your son is an athlete, just in general," Davis said. "Being a major college coach in any particular sport puts a tremendous amount of stress and pressure in just trying to be a participant. You don't want to be an absentee father. You want to go and be supportive and be a participant and hug them when they lose and high-five them when they win and be there emotionally for them. And it's hard when you're a coach.

"The amount of time that you get to spend with your family – that's hard in and of itself. The seven-day-a-week job for seven months for as many hours, so that puts a lot of stress on it. But I've got a terrific wife who is – she is beyond anything that I deserve. And I've got a great son and we've got a good relationship where we'll able to talk about stuff. He knows when I can't be there it's not because I don't love him. It presents challenges, so you try to steal every opportunity that you have and it's even more important when you can spend time with them."

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