Thursday Notebook

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina head coach spoke with reporters prior to Thursday afternoon's practice, touching on Charles Brown's return, recruiting and the competition for kickoffs as the Tar Heels prepare for Rutgers on Saturday.

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* The last time Charles Brown suited up for North Carolina at cornerback, he tallied five tackles and a tackle for loss against Pittsburgh in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 26, 2009. After missing the last 14 games due to his involvement in the NCAA investigation, the Maple Heights, Ohio native will return to the field and provide an immediate boost to a position group lacking age and experience.

Anxiety is apparently not an option for Brown, however.

"I don't think I've worried about Charles and jitters at any point in time since I've been here," Withers said. "Rust, maybe a little bit, but I think he's worked really hard in the first two days of practice this week on his fundamentals and getting better. We're just glad to have him back for his leadership."

With Brown's return, defensive backs coach Troy Douglas doesn't anticipate major changes, but did highlight a few adjustments in an interview with Inside Carolina on Wednesday.

"What we're going to do as of right now is to move Tre (Boston) over to right corner and let Charlie play left corner," Douglas said. "And then Tim Scott will be the nickel."

Scott, a true freshman hailing from Fredicksburg, Va., started at corner against James Madison in Brown's absence and registered five tackles.

"Tim Scott played well beyond his years in his first game," Douglas said. "As a matter of fact, he probably looked the most solid out of anybody back there. So you like the way he's coming on."

* Withers has stressed the importance of his team making significant strides from Week 1 to Week 2, but the evidence has begun to show up well before kickoff on Saturday.

"I think when you go inside and you watch the tape, you see guys communicating," Withers said. "A lot of [the growth] has to be done through communication. You see guys making calls and communicating more so than the week before, especially the young guys and the veterans to the young guys. So we do get to see it during practice, but definitely when we go inside and watch the tape."

* Once training camp begins in early August, college coaching staffs turn their attention from recruiting and talent evaluation to teaching and game preparation. But given the unique situation that the UNC staff finds itself currently in, more attention has been paid to staying in touch with recruits.

"What we've done is that we've tried to do a good job of being diligent in writing and calling kids and getting our message out there on what our plans are, obviously, with what's going on with the university," Withers said. "But we have to stay positive and focused on what our plans are. I think that's what we've done with recruiting. And we've had a good response. We've talked to a lot of kids and it really has been positive."

* Casey Barth's thigh injury was cited as the reason for Trase Jones and Thomas Moore sharing kickoff duties in the season opener, but that injury has apparently healed and the kickoff role is still up for discussion.

Withers indicated that he would make a determination as to who would handle the kickoff duties against Rutgers after Thursday's practice.

"I think Casey's well now," Withers said. "We just want to make sure we get the right guy that's going to kick the ball as deep into the end zone as we can and as close to the sideline as we can."

* There has long been a perceived friction between the basketball and football factions at UNC, but Roy Williams has always been a vocal supporter of all Tar Heel sports. Withers is taking a similar approach and explained his stance when asked by a caller during his Wednesday night radio show if the basketball and football programs can coexist.

"I think we can help all 28 sports," Withers said. "We can all live in a community together. I was visiting with Karen Shelton the other day, just to be around the other sports that have done well. Coach Shelton has won a number of national championships. Coach Williams has won national championships. I would like to know what their secret is in winning championships. I'm not too bashful or too proud to ask."

"So I think it's important that we can coexist in basketball and football. If they've got a recruit that plays football or we've got a recruit that plays basketball, we want to make sure that he's involved in the process. I want to be involved in the process that we have on dual-sport guys. That's what college is about."


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