The 'Process' Has Begun

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina football coach Butch Davis met with Inside Carolina on Tuesday. He laid out a timetable for his team's 2007 preparations, his immediate recruiting plans and his overall philosophies for rebuilding the Tar Heels football program.

"It will be incredibly important to make a great, concerted effort to recruit this state," Davis said. "It's a very good level of football. You can tell the quality of coaching has been very good."

Despite fielding several questions regarding his potential staff, Davis simply stated that no assistant coaches have been hired or fired that have not already been reported on. Davis stressed he wouldn't hurry this process, but mentioned he hopes to have his staff completed in the next three to four weeks.

"I don't want to rush to judgment on anyone," Davis said. "When you're putting a staff together it's so important you get the right chemistry – the dynamics of what they can bring to a staff. It may take three or four more weeks, but I'm not really in a rush.

"The guys you put on staff have got to be extensions of the university."

  • Davis has held three team meetings since his announcement as the Tar Heels new coach Nov. 27. He talked with players about finishing the semester strong and the importance of academics, their plans for the holidays and athletic goals for the future. Davis emphasized all positions are up for grabs, and everyone is starting over from scratch.

    "Unfortunately, everywhere I've ever started coaching has been a major rebuilding project," Davis said. "Everybody has a fresh slate. You can write your own role. We are going to provide you with the tools to help you meet your dreams."

    While he's been getting acquainted with players both in person and via video tape, Davis said his emphasis has not been on what each player has done so far as much as what they've experienced.

    "I don't want to watch tape specifically for the kid," he said. "I want to watch to see the level of exposure they've had on the field. I want to learn where they've been."

  • As evidenced by IC's recent recruiting coverage, Davis has been actively speaking to commitments, while making substantial additions to UNC's list of prospects. He's also been busy canvassing the state meeting high school coaches, including many in South Carolina during the Shrine Bowl activities last week.

    "Things couldn't have gone much better," Davis said. "We're getting great responses from the kids, and it's going to get much better. We're fielding calls from players that haven't even been on the radar and we'll start building those relationships. However it's kind of like jumping in midstream. The limited opportunities kind of slow you down.

    "Intangibles are things we look at with regards to recruits. I'm very interested in looking at (extracurricular activities) they did in high school. Do they go to church? Are they active in their community?"

    Davis said he expected to field a balanced recruiting class this year, and explained how he prefers to recruit the best available athlete as opposed to recruiting to fill positions.

    "You don't draft for need, you draft the best available," he said. "I would like for this incoming class to be balanced. Recruiting is the lifeblood of every institution."

    The recruiting dead period which began last Sunday at 8 p.m., will all but suspend recruiting activities until after the New Year.

    "There will be a little bit of a lull, but come January we'll amp it up considerably, and the first place we'll hit is North Carolina," Davis said.

    And while not able to discuss the specifics of unsigned recruits, Davis said he does intend to honor those scholarship offers of players enrolling in January.

  • This year's Spring Game will be Sat., April 14. Spring practice will begin immediately following Spring Break.

    "We've laid out the calendar through August," he said. "We'll have some athletic evaluations done before spring practice starts. All the practices are going to be intense. It's a process, and there are no steps you can miss."

    In future years, Davis said, he hopes to begin spring practice a few days earlier in the event there are injuries that could heal over the mid-semester vacation period.

  • Davis and John Bunting did meet for about a half hour over lunch within a couple of days of Davis' hiring. He said the two mostly just spent the time getting to know each other and talking about UNC football history

    "I have a lot of respect for John," Davis said. "It's a tender time for him. He is a true Tar Heel and he will always be welcome here."

    Davis said they didn't talk at all about the current team situation.

  • Davis and new N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien spoke briefly at the Shrine Bowl. The two know each other well as former Big East foes while Davis was at Miami and O'Brien at Boston College.

    However, "We rarely ever recruited the same kid," Davis said.

    When asked to comment on the UNC-State rivalry, he responded, "We're everybody's rival."

  • Davis and new UNC assistant John Blake go way back to their days in Oklahoma, where Davis was his high school coach.

    "I met John when he was 15 years old," Davis said. "I used to take him home from practice each day."

    Davis and Blake also previously worked together as members of Jimmy Johnson's staff with the Dallas Cowboys. Blake joined the Dallas staff as defensive line coach after Davis was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1993.

  • Davis said he wasn't aware of the situation regarding former defensive tackle Terry Hunter. A team spokesperson confirmed that Hunter did in fact re-enroll in classes at UNC, after being kicked off the team following the 2004 season.

  • When he's able to get away from football, Davis said he likes spending time with his family. He's an avid reader in his spare time mostly preferring books about history, leaders in fields of politics and business, as well as spiritual and motivational books. He also likes play golf but that often rather than concentrate on his handicap, he sometimes likes to park his cart under a tree and simply meditate.

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