"One of the things that clearly has to happen when you play a big, strong running back or receivers, you have to gang-tackle. That's the premise of defense. You can't rely on one single individual to try to tackle any one individual gifted athlete. You've got to get guys flying to the ball.
"The more confident they become in the defensive scheme where they can take care of their responsibility [and] once they know that they're responsibility is taken care of, you've got to get guys running and pursuing and chasing, because it will take two or three guys sometimes to get a really gifted back down."
On improving the ground game:
"Trust me, I would love to have a 1,000 or 1,500-yard rusher at the end of this season. One of the [things] is that we've got to have get opportunities to run with the football. I think our offensive line is gaining some cohesiveness [and] our tight ends, all of the guys responsible for the running part of it.
"It's no excuse from this standpoint, but we've had so much success throwing the football, and in the first couple of games, it would be one run, two quick passes [and] the third or fourth play of the [drive] would be a touchdown and you're back on the sidelines.
"And we've had success in the two-minute drills, like at the end of the second quarter in last week's ball game, you drive 71 yards in a 1:41 and a lot of that's throwing the football. You'd like to think that people would quit stacking the box and playing eight-man fronts on us, and then maybe we'll get a little better opportunity to run the ball."
"For the most part, Woody, we've been very fortunate, with the exception of Chase Rice, who we lost in the first ball game. I just alluded to the fact that Cam Thomas has struggled a little bit with a high ankle sprain. For the most part, just about everybody has stayed pretty healthy, which I think is a great tribute to our training staff and our doctors and a great job that Jeff Connors and his strength and conditioning program did to get this team ready for the season."
On how weather affects UNC's game plan:
"Anytime you go to South Florida, you have to prepare for the fact that you're going to have a chance at getting intermittent rain and showers. Whether you're playing in Miami or Jacksonville, Tampa or Orlando, any of those and it's a possibility. But really, you don't tinker too much with your game plan.
"We are who we are. We're going to do the things that this football team does best, and try to continue to improve on the things that we're not doing well, but you're not going to go down there and say ‘Okay, we're going to prepare for that fact that there's going to be a monsoon and a downpour, and we're going to go down there and just run the football.' We've got our game plan pretty well set, and we think that we have a really successful game plan."
On if Ryan Houston will see the field this year:
"It's still up in the air. We really, truly wanted to get him into the game against James Madison. He had his helmet on, his chin strap on, and there was about 4:30 left to go in the game. The score, I think, was 37-7 or whatever it was at that particular time, and in the game, the very next play unfortunately we fumbled the football and they got the ball. They drove down, scored their last touchdown and the next time we got it, there was 0:30 left to go in the game.
"And in the previous two ball games, there has never been the right opportunity to stick him in the game. He's working an awful lot with the first and second unit the last couple of weeks to really shore him up… You cannot put a kid into a game or situation, unless you feel confident that he's going to have success. You could damage a young freshman's morale and his spirit and his competitiveness by sticking him in. He would be really fundamentally sound handing him the football…
"The bad part is that we don't always run the football. If we have to block and pick up blitz protections, I don't think anybody associated with our football program would love to see T.J. Yates get hit in the back of the head and get knocked out and carried out of the game, because a freshman running back maybe wasn't as in-tune with some of the blitz pick-ups that he needs to [be]."
On the importance of recruits coming out of successful high school programs:
"Guys that grow up in winning football programs from around the country – they have that passion. They've already gone through some of the learning steps of what it takes to be a winner – the due diligence... How much film you have to watch, how much you have to lift and all of the other things. And if you come out of a program where they've already had success and they've already been winning, it's kind of ingrained into your being and you find out who the football junkies are. Who really loves it [and] who wants to be there all of the time."
On UNC's passing attack:
"That's certainly been a highlight of the first three games. No one predicted that T.J. Yates would come in and have the immediate success that he's had these first three ball games. He's thrown the ball extremely well, continues to make good decisions, he's growing, he's learning and he's got a really talented group of receivers to throw to and those guys are making plays for him."
'Butch Davis Live' airs Thursday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.