Moving Past Charlottesville

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Head coach Butch Davis spoke to reporters following Wednesday's practice, as North Carolina prepares for a visit from No. 23 Boston College on Saturday afternoon.

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Butch Davis Wednesday Post-Practice:
(11:34)

* As has been the case all week long at the Kenan Football Center, Davis' post-practice interview with the media centered around the final minutes of regulation against Virginia that led to the Cavaliers' come-from-behind 16-13 overtime victory on Saturday. In an attempt to exhaust this topic of conversation, the second-year head coach will now take this column's podium.

"Here's the bottom line on the last couple of minutes of defense," Davis said. "You obviously look at the history of what the team has done in any other two-minute drives, and you try to speculate, ‘Okay, if it comes down to this, this is what we think would be the best thing to do.' You also have to look at several things – score, field position, [and] your matchups. How good do you actually match up with their personnel? How efficient have they been?

"In retrospect, you'd love to say, ‘Gosh, I wish we would have done something differently than what we did do.' But at the time going into that last drive, I think they only had about 160 yards of offense for the entire game. And they basically hadn't done very much. And then all of a sudden, the plays that they didn't make in the first three quarters, they were making a couple of plays [and] making a couple of catches...

"I've lived both scenarios. In the Super Bowl years, we pressured the Buffalo Bills one year and the very next year we defended against it, just based on how they were playing."

But Davis understands that coaching is, at times, a no-win situation.

"The immediate reaction is, ‘Why don't you blitz them? Why don't you come after them?' And that's the same question that you get on Sunday, if you blitz them, and one of your corners or a safety gets beat on one play that goes 75 yards. And then they're like, ‘Well, why would you be that stupid? Why would you come after them? There's so many different scenarios."

Possibly more frustrating for Davis than anything was North Carolina's offensive possession prior to Virginia's touchdown-scoring drive. On 3rd-and-7 on UVa's 20-yard line, Cam Sexton found Hakeem Nicks for a crucial first down, only to have the play called back due to an illegal formation.

The following 3rd-and-12 play resulted in a two-yard pass play to Nicks, and Casey Barth soon ran onto the field to kick his 40-yard field goal to give the Tar Heels a 10-3 lead with 2:22 left.

"The reality of it is that that scenario should have never happened," Davis said. "They should have gotten the ball back with about 22 seconds left to go, and us either leading 10-3 or 7-3."

* As Inside Carolina reported on Tuesday, Davis confirmed that red-shirt sophomore Johnny White has returned to the offensive backfield at running back after a trial run at cornerback, citing Greg Little's move to wide receiver. He also mentioned true freshman Jamal Womble as an option behind Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston.

* One red-shirt freshman that has shown drastic improvement over the course of the season is kicker Jay Wooten. While Barth is handling the field goal and extra point assignments, the Laurinburg, N.C. product has overcome some early season difficulties to excel in his kickoff responsibilities.

"I think it's confidence and I think it's experience and getting him in the game," Davis said. "We don't rely so much on his directional kicking as much as the hang time… That's where he's really gotten better – his hang time has improved."

* Davis and Boston College's offensive coordinator Steve Logan battled one another as high school coaches in Tulsa, Okla. back in the late 1970s, before working together under Jimmy Johnson at Oklahoma State University for a short tenure.

But the football field is not where this two Midwestern coaches first met.

"We both attended the same exact surprise Amway dinner," Davis said of their first encounter. "Somebody was trying to get us to give up our jobs and sell Amway."

Speaking of Logan, the former East Carolina head coach and NFL Europe offensive coordinator has blended some elements of his Pirate days with Jeff Blake and David Garrard under center with his professional experiences to create a unique offensive matchup for the Tar Heels on Saturday.

"There's more of a pro-style approach to what they're doing, but they still run some elements of options," Davis said. "They'll run speed option, they'll run freeze option and some of the read-option stuff."

* Finally, Davis provided reporters with an update on quarterback T.J. Yates, who is four weeks into an anticipated six-week rehabilitation process after fracturing his left ankle in the third quarter of the Virginia Tech loss on Sept. 20.

"This week, they've upped his mechanical movements," Davis said. "He's now running and cutting. And when I say running, that's a little bit of an overstatement in that it's more like jogging and directional cutting and planting and running at 45-degree angles. But they've allowed him to start doing somewhat full-speed quarterback drills, where he drops three steps, drops five steps, plants off his foot and then he's throwing.

"If everything progresses the way that we think that it's going to, then there's the possibility that they may let him actually participate next week in some 7-on-7 [drills], where he's under center, maybe in the shotgun, just to kind of get back into throwing in a non-contact [setting]… But it's still week-to-week, and it's hard to project how far in advance it will be before they actually turn him loose and say, ‘Okay, you're fresh – go do it.'"


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