Butch Davis Q&A (w/video)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- UNC's head football coach Butch Davis discussed the team's progress following Wednesday's practice ...

(Inside Carolina video is available to IC premium subscribers. To watch the video, you'll need an updated version of Windows Media Player - click here to download the software.)

Part I: (5:11)
Part II: (4:53)


Are you feeling any effects from the chemotherapy?

Again, as I said, let's try to limit questions to just about the football and the team. As I said yesterday in the release, I feel great, I feel very good. I don't plan to miss anything. I'm looking forward to the rest of spring practice.

We've got 13 [more] days that we really have a chance to get better. With the way they are working--we've had two days in shorts. Friday's practice we have a huge coaching clinic coming in. We are hoping to have somewhere close to 300 high school coaches. We have some junior prospects coming in on Saturday. We are looking for a big weekend and just trying to get better every single day that we go to practice.

You've got a real 'can-do' attitude ...

This is about this football team. These kids are so excited and the coaching staff ... we've had an awesome two months -- there's been great recruiting, a great offseason, we had a good spring break, guys came back eager and they are eager and hungry to learn and hungry to practice. They're infectious - their attitude, the way that they're practicing, the things that they're doing. It's fun to be out there.

Where you able to get a feel about the offensive line--any of the guys who will be able to help you?

Sam Pittman is doing an excellent job with these guys. I think there are some really good, talented offensive linemen. We are changing some guys around. We are interchanging them. We haven't settle, obviously, at any position on who is first team. But that [group] looks like it has a chance to be one of the real strengths of the football team.

Not only are there some good players who might be first team, but there is the possibility for some good depth. They are hungry, they are working, they are good athletes. One of the things I have been impressed with is their ability to play in space. They run really well, so that has been a real positive.

The other things--and this is what spring practice is all about--it is about experimentation, defining roles for guys, finding out, 'How can you help us win games next fall?' and putting guys in the right spot. We made a statement after Monday's practice that we are tinkering with some players, moving some guys, moving a guy like Joe Dailey. This kid is a winner. He's brilliant, he's smart, he's a heck of an athlete, and it would be a poor job coaching on our part to not find great roles for him to help us win. I love his attitude. He's been very, very receptive to the move.

But he's just one of a few guys that we've asked to experiment at different positions and we are taking a look at some guys. If you had a chance to watch a little bit of today's practice, Johnny White stood out today. He made some nice things happen as far as the running game is concerned. Defensively, I have been very impressed by the poise of these players. We are throwing a ton at them. We've got enough in, probably, after two days that we could play two or three games because we are trying to find out how quick guys can retain information and how much they can learn and how much they can absorb. So far, so good.

What have you seen from the quarterbacks so far?

Well, we're rotating the quarterbacks -- we've got four guys, and we're pretty much splitting up the repetitions 25 percent, just rolling them in, so they're not locked into any one particular position group. I think it would be a fair assessment to say after two days that Cam Sexton, because he has played, shows a little bit more poise and a little bit more polish than the other kids. Because the other two kids, B.J. Phillips and T.J. Yates, those guys they basically have absolutely zero game experience, playing and scrimmaging, so they're kind of coming from behind, but they're doing some nice things. They throw a nice ball, and they're hungry to learn. And it will be interesting to see as this spring goes along -- hopefully there will be a great quarterback competition.

Will a starting quarterback be decided during Spring Practice?

I think every head coach, if you were really truly honest, you'd love to have a starter coming out of spring practice. That may or may not actually happen. I've had teams where that wasn't the case, that maybe a lot of times it didn't really unfold until at some point during training camp. Maybe as late as either the first week of training camp - by then you pretty much need to know that this is going to be the guy that we're going to ride for the next couple of weeks and give him the majority of the reps, get him the best opportunity to start the season off. But right now it's all being pretty much split pretty equally.

Tell us about the pace of practice ...

I told the guys on Monday that we have a two-hour and 15 minute practice and we were finished in an hour and 58 minutes. We want a fast pace, we're trying to get a ball snapped somewhere around every 40 seconds during the course of all of our team periods because we want to be a fast paced, aggressive offense and we want the defense to feel challenged. When you're efficient and organized in what you want to do, it gives you more opportunities go out there in practice, run more plays and get better.

Do you have a feel yet for the speed of this team?

Not yet. You really truly don't until you go 100 percent, until you start actually tackling and putting players in scrimmage situations where it's full speed and you see that catch-up speed in the secondary and you see some of the other things - running backs getting to the second level, getting to the secondary. Can they take a play to the house? Can a receiver make a great play? That's when you'll find out. Right now everything is so scripted and so organized, and everything is kind of 'touch and tag off.' It's hard to tell.

Your coaching staff, not only are they getting things done, but they look like they're having fun doing it -

... They are good men, they build great relationships, they're having fun. I think we've got outstanding chemistry. We've got a group of guys that love being together and love coming to work. I told people I don't think I've laughed in the last six years as much as I've laughed the last two to three months. It is fun to come to work. You walk in that door and every day it's a lot of fun being around these guys.

Inside Carolina Top Stories