"One of the things that is so exciting about being a part of the Tar Heel family [is] the fans and the alumni and the people that love this program. From the spring time up until tonight, they have been absolutely unbelievable – all the Tar Heel Tours, the people going around the state – they couldn't have been more passionate about their love for this University and for the football team, and I'm very excited about Saturday night and to go out and make a little bit of a statement about this football program."
On how Davis feels about the team:
"We need three more weeks, two preseason games and a couple of more scrimmages. I do feel good, and part of that reason is that the players have really bought in. They have done absolutely everything that our coaching staff has ever asked them to do – the time, the effort, the intensity, the focus, watching film, practicing. A lot of things have gone well during training camp. More important than anything, we've stayed healthy which I think is important for Saturday night. We're going to have everybody that we think has gone pretty much through the entire training camp ready to play. They're fresh, they're anxious and we'll see."
His impression of James Madison:
"A lot of people instantly take a look at people that are I-AA or [playoff] championship series and they say ‘Well, this should be a lopsided contest.' And as a football coach, I just look at the film to try to look at the players – how talented they are. [Head coach] Mickey [Matthews] has done a great job at James Madison. They're very, very aggressive and their style defensively is all about pressure. They've been near the top the last couple of years in sacks in their division. They've got some big-time division players. They've got three or four guys that the pros have written up as guys that they think have got a chance to get drafted on their defensive line.
"They've got an All-American safety, Tony LeZotte, that's a great player. And the thing that I think is the biggest challenge for our football team is the offense that they run. Watching West Virginia on television – they run the exact same offense. It's a read-option offense – they spread the entire field. They're going to bring in three or four wide receivers. They're going to read your defensive alignment, they've got a 1,000-yard rusher in Eugene Holloman, and a brand new quarterback that's sort of a Michael Vick-type athlete. He is electrifying [and] he's a great athlete, so we're going to be disciplined and play well defensively."
On the offensive and defensive lines:
"Probably the real strength going into the spring practices and into training camp was probably both the offensive and defensive lines. And the defensive line probably holds the lion's share of the experienced players on this football team. When you talk about Kentwan Balmer, when you talk about Hilee Taylor, when you talk about Kyndraus Guy – those are three seniors that are battle-tested. They've been in games, they know what it's all about, [and] they're very talented football players. We count on them a great deal, not only for their performances on Saturday and their ability to make plays, but certainly their leadership in practice and helping some of these young kids as far as their preparation and getting ready during the week.
"The offensive line – Garrett Reynolds, Scott Lenahan – we've got some guys that have been in games before, and we may actually for the first time, at least in my coaching career early on [at UNC], we've got some depth on both the offensive line and the defensive lines. I think that you'll see Saturday [that] we would expect to play probably somewhere in the neighborhood of seven to as many as nine different defensive linemen having a chance to get into the game for us, and I think that as many as eight, and possibly a ninth in the offensive line."
On Trimane Goddard:
"In practice, you can just see how serious he is, he wants to get everything right, he takes every opportunity to get better every single day. The other thing is in his experience, even though it was as limited as it was as a freshman, you can tell that the game has slowed down for him. All that hectic – the shifting, the motion, guys flying around – you can see eyes spinning on a lot of guys and he's back there calm [and] cool, just like a quarterback directing traffic, and he's going to be a real asset to our football team and our defense this fall."
On desired offensive balance:
"At the end of a ball game, if we can have 150 yards or more every single game running the football, I think you'd be very happy. And it's not necessarily about the total number of yards, it's more about the effective yards. We want to average over four yards per carry every time. With passing, we'd like to be somewhere in the eight [or] nine yards per completion [range]… and maybe throw for 250 or 300 yards. If we could get close to having somewhere in the neighborhood 350 to 400 yards of total offense every single week, I think we'd be happy."
On the running back situation:
"We're going to probably start off with Johnny White and Richie Rich – they are going to be the two feature guys, at least initially. Anthony Elzy had a little bit of a set-back early in training camp when he injured an ankle in our very first scrimmage… but I think that he will definitely get an opportunity to play in this ball game."
On how recruiting is going:
"Next Friday is going to be the first opportunity for our coaches to have a chance to go out and watch high school football games… I think recruiting is going very well. We had a huge number of kids that made trips to Chapel Hill this summer. We had a couple of different football camps – we had individual camps, we had a team camp, [and] we had a one-day prospect camp. We had probably close to 700 potential high school football juniors and seniors that came to Chapel Hill."
On Kyndraus Guy:
"Kyndraus is medically cleared and he's been practicing. He's got to develop a little bit of confidence – he needs to get hit one time on that knee to realize that it's going to be okay… I think we'll see him probably play on Saturday… I would put him at probably somewhere around 95 percent."
On any uniform changes:
"We made a little of a change to the game pants – you'll see a little bit more of a wider stripe on the side of the pants that tapers down around the knee… I love the helmet – there's no way you could ever improve it. In my opinion, it's the best-looking helmet in college football… One of the things that the fans talked about was that the names on the jerseys were so small, so they made the names bigger so that the people in the stands could see the names of the players."
Special guest Trimane Goddard comments on what the secondary must do against JMU:
"The primary thing we have to do is communicate with each other. They present a lot of formations and they have a lot skill positions that are very shifty, so you have to play your responsibility. Like Coach [Davis] said, they have the read-option, so you have to prepare for that and then you have to prepare for the pass."
'Butch Davis Live' airs Thursday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.