Buck: Believing in Butch

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- As reports circulate about Butch Davis' introductory press conference in Chapel Hill yesterday, they will all convey the same thought – he made a great first impression.

IC's Butch Davis Intro Coverage
  • PC Quotes (w/audio)
  • ICTV: Full Press Conference Video
  • Photo Gallery I
  • Photo Gallery II
  • ICTV: One-on-One Interview
  • Player Quotes (w/audio)
  • Contract Details
  • Lewis: 'Coach Davis is a Winner'
  • Davis' physical stature gives him a commanding presence and his speaking skills exceed those of most college football coaches. His impressive credentials were mentioned, but not shoved down anyone's throat.

    He thanked the right people, he said the right things about North Carolina, he gave nothing away he didn't want to give away, and didn't step on anyone's toes. He should get an "A+" from his audience. But he addressed a different, and perhaps more important, audience a little less than an hour before meeting the press – the members of the UNC football team.

    It wasn't a very long talk. Evidently, however, it was equally impressive as his hour long talk with the media.

    "He was just straight forward; direct," UNC safety Trimane Goddard said, "He just said what he had to say, and said it in a way that makes you trust him and believe him."

    "He brings a lot to the table; respect, trust, and he's a great motivational guy," kicker Connor Barth added. "I think everyone is ready to go and play for him.

    "We just trust him coming in. It's hard to come in and just trust someone, but just the way he's brought himself in with the character he has, he's a very trustworthy guy, as you can see."

    The word "trust" is one that keeps popping up in connection with North Carolina's new head coach. Of course, his resume plays a part in creating that trust. His years as an assistant on Miami national championship teams, his Super Bowl rings won as an assistant with the Dallas Cowboys, rebuilding Miami into a team that won a national title the year after he left to coach the Cleveland Browns – all of those credentials make Davis worthy of trust as someone who knows how to coach football.

    But there is more to it than that, at least from the tone of the players.

    What the players seemed to convey was more than just a trust in his abilities as a coach, but more of a sense that Coach Davis is someone with personal integrity – someone who'll be honest with them and expect them to be honest with themselves.

    With the fans and the press, Davis has refused to set a timeline for success. He's made no bold predictions about immediate, dramatic improvement in the win-loss record. The consensus opinion is that in time Davis will bring UNC football back to respectability and perhaps beyond.

    That's the one thing the current UNC players don't have – time. Improved recruiting classes that result in perhaps a major bowl bid down the line are the goal, but a goal unlikely to be obtainable during Barth and Goddard's UNC careers.

    But what they do have is a coach they can trust – trust in his abilities as a coach and trust in his personal dealings with them. What that might mean to the 2007 UNC football team is speculative at best, but the players have put their trust in Davis.

    That has to be a positive for 2007, and beyond.

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