Media Day: Butch Davis Quotes (w/audio)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- North Carolina head coach Butch Davis talked to reporters at Friday's Media Day at Kenan Stadium ...

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BUTCH DAVIS

(29:17)

Opening remarks:
"We're excited about the start of the season. It seems like it's been a longtime coming since the West Virginia bowl game. A lot of things have transpired in the last six months – a very productive recruiting class, an excellent offseason conditioning session with our players, a good spring practice and I think everybody is chomping at the bit to kind of get started… We've awarded two scholarships – one to Grant Schallock and one to Nelson Hurst. Two walk-ons that we awarded scholarships to in the last week. This is the 10th and 11th walk-ons that we've awarded scholarships to in the two years that I've been here, and we're happy to have those guys as part of our program…

"Everyone reported with the exception of three players, and we expect those guys sometimes within the next couple of days. Two were excused – Kevin Bryant and Zach Brown were excused for personal reasons – and Donovan Tate is going to arrive on Saturday. That will bring our scholarship numbers to 83…

"I think Jeff Connors did a phenomenal job over the summertime and during the offseason. Our entire football team is healthy and every single one of the players will be ready to practice this afternoon, which is sometimes not always the case. There are usually a couple of guys that have gone through offseason surgeries that you have to hold at bay for a week or so, but we're fortunate to have every single one of our players… We've already had some activities during the course of the day. This morning at 6:30am we had our pre-camp conditioning tests. We ran 16 110s. All of the players that were on the team ran this test prior to going home at the conclusion of the second summer session, so this was kind of a repeat. We had a significant layoff of about 13 days between the second summer session and today. It was barometer for us as coaches more than anything, to find out if we lost anything that we need to be aware of in those 13 days. Everybody did a great job. The enthusiasm was good [and] guys ran well – I think that everybody's in good shape and ready to start the season…

"We've got four or five things that we want to really, truly focus on during training camp. First and foremost, we have 29 practice opportunities before the first game. Some of the things in my presentation to the players last night – the things that I told them that we as a coaching staff are going to focus on is that we've got to develop depth in this football team during these 29 days. And try to gain as much experience and put guys in situations to help them grow as football players prior to the start of the season. I think that's absolutely critical for this football team.

"The second most important thing that our coaching staff is going to be faced with is assessing all of our players and finding the best role for them and how they can help us win games this year. For some guys, it may be a very, very small role early in the season, and that role may grow throughout the course of the season. And for us to identify if there are any potential position changes, especially with the freshmen – guys that are coming in here and were two-way players in high school. What would be there best role and how could they help us the best?

"The other thing is, and this is always a challenge, today will be the first time that our freshmen will have a chance to practice with our varsity. I think that they are going to be very impressed – I don't think that they will be in awe – but they've got an awful lot of learning to do as to how fast, what the tempo is and how our kids compete in practice. I think that's always an eye-opener for freshmen the first time when it's for real. They've been doing things with our players over the course of the summer. They've been out throwing, running and catching, but it hasn't been amped up with the coaching staff being out there and encouraging guys to compete and challenge and those kinds of things…

"This always comes up and people always ask this question about freshmen – who's going to red-shirt, who's going to play, who's going to get a chance? And it's been my experience that you don't ever really try to label before the start of preseason training camp who those guys might actually be. As I told them last night, I said, ‘There are going to be some guys that are going to play. But the acid test for those guys is that you need to be in a position to help us win games. If you can help us on Saturdays to win games, whether it's a small role on special teams, whether it's part of a nickel or a dime package or short-yardage or goal line, if there's a niche and you can help us win the game, we're going to play you.' Clearly, as most of you have heard me say in the past, sometimes that involves the skill players. It's a lot easier for those guys than sometimes it is for the offensive and defensive linemen, although you can't discount that. We disproved that with Robert Quinn and we disproved that with Marvin Austin and some other kids."


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