Thursday Notebook

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- With Saturday's kickoff against Miami two days away, Everett Withers talked to reporters before practice on Thursday.

EVERETT WITHERS
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* First, the injury report from Withers. Ebele Okakpu has been practicing this week and is expected to play. Casey Barth is still probably out, as is Cam Holland. Jon Smith, A.J. Blue, Kevin Reddick are still questionable, with the decision waiting until game time.

Barth practiced kicking some yesterday, but didn't practice today. "Right now we're just taking it day by day with him," Withers said. When will he be ready? "When he kicks and he has no initial pain after he kicks."

But don't expect to hear Withers use injuries as an excuse. "I don't think that list is any longer than anybody else's," he said. "I think if you go to Virginia Tech and you go to Miami, they'll say, ‘Shoot, we'll trade with you. I think we are where we would be in a normal year."

* Withers said there is carry over from the way the team practices and how they play on Saturdays: "The more that they are out there, whether they see the formations, whether they see the plays, the better they move in practice, then hopefully you (see that) on Saturdays."

* With Saturday's kickoff at 12:30pm. Withers was asked about all the team's early games this season. "I don't attribute anything to the time of day you play," he said.

* Withers indicated that preparing to play Miami this week was almost like preparing to play themselves. "They are very much like us in a lot of ways," he said. "Offensively, they try to keep the ball, and they're playing a 4-3 on defense; they've had some guys injured."

The Tar Heels won't do anything special to limit Miami running back Lamar Miller, who is currently leading the ACC in rushing. "We just to do what we do, and do our job. If we do our job, we should have a chance to play well."

* Asked about the portrayal of the way he walks by UNC players on the "ESPNU All-Access" segment, Withers laughed and said, "That's me. That's the way I walk. I know it, I'll own it."

As far as the distraction of having an ESPN crew taping all day, "Once we got started it was pretty much a traditional day, and I thought those guys did a great job of trying to be out of the way."

* Withers stated that he hasn't followed the athletic director search at all, that sometimes he gets "bunkered in a lot" by preparing for and playing football games.


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