Wednesday Butch Davis Quotes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina head coach Butch Davis spoke with reporters Wednesday for his weekly ACC teleconference.

Opening remarks:
"Getting ready for Miami is always a challenge because they're physically gifted. They've got a tremendous amount of team speed. Their receivers and secondary guys can run as fast as anybody in the country. They've got a very aggressive defensive line. Their quarterback is playing very, very well for them. They present a huge challenge.

"They're coming off a very impressive performance in a road victory at Texas A&M. And with us playing with two new quarterbacks, it basically compounds the challenge. But our football team is practicing very hard and we're preparing for the game and we'll make every effort to play as well as possible."

There seems to be an increase in quarterback injuries in college since your time at Miami. Any idea why that is, and how do you determine how many reps to give your quarterback in practice, with regard to preventing injuries?
"I think a lot of it is based on the experience of your quarterback. If we had an experienced junior or senior quarterback that didn't need to take as many reps to get prepared each week, then you certainly would give a little larger portion of the snaps to the backup player or maybe one of the players that's going to play somewhere down the line, whether it be next year or two years away. We've not been in that situation. Last year, with T.J. Yates being a red-shirt freshman and given that all of the quarterbacks on the team are very young and very inexperienced with the coaching staff.

"The answer on the injuries is that a certain element of it has to be looked at and evaluated is the number of offenses where the quarterback is a significant part of the running game. Whether it's the read-option or just moving the pocket, he becomes a target as opposed to just being a pocket passer. I think that probably can explain some of it… And certainly in college football, they're a little more liberal with how much contact that they allow to the quarterback than they do in the National Football League."

Does the offense change depending on which quarterback is in the game?
"It really doesn't. The approach that we've taken once we found out that T.J. [Yates] was going to be out for six weeks – one of those weeks is the open date, so he's probably going to miss five games – was that we knew we needed to get two quarterbacks prepared. The reality of it is that you can't go into a game and put 100 percent of the practice reps on one quarterback, because if he goes down and the other one is not prepared… so we've got to split the repetitions.

"Fortunately, if there's a minor silver lining in this, it's T.J. missing all of spring practice. It kind of puts us back to where we were back in March with two quarterbacks that basically split the reps at that time. We're preparing both of these guys to play, not only in this game, but probably for the next five games."

Can you talk about your running game, and has it been frustrating for you?
"I don't know specifically off the top of my head, but I think we're averaging over 150 yards a game rushing the football. I think what people have to somewhat come to grips with is structurally, if you just say, "Okay, we're going to hand the ball to the tailback and we're going to get 150 to 175 yards a game…" We've basically played three eight-man front football teams that make it a long hard day because they've got more guys than you can block.

"Against Virginia Tech, in some respects, it's almost like a nine-man front in the scheme and they way in which their structure is. So you can approach it two ways – you can run the ball to the perimeter with your wide receivers or you can throw the football, and against all three of these teams, that's been the approach. And whether Brandon Tate gets it or Brooks Foster gets it or Hakeem Nicks gets it on the perimeter, it's still a part of the running game. But until we can [get past] the amount of the eight-man fronts, that might be the way we have to go."

Do you plan on announcing a starter at quarterback before the game, or will it be a game time decision?
"I would suspect that you'll see both of the quarterbacks play in this game. That's the approach that we're taking. We're preparing both of them to be ready to play and then we'll decide as the week goes along which one will actually get the start, but that in and of itself won't make much difference. I would still suspect that we'll play both quarterbacks in the game."

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