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* Two weeks of training camp are in the books, and as is usually the case this time of the preseason, the players are starting to get antsy.
"We're rapidly getting close to that stage where they've gone competitively against each other [so much] that they're looking forward to the opportunity to play against somebody else," Davis said.
To help alleviate some of that aggression and frustration, the coaching staff has scheduled the Tar Heels' first scrimmage of camp for Saturday morning. The approximate two-hour session will include 75-80 scripted live speed plays, including 15-20 special teams situations that have been focal points over the past 15 days.
The players will reconvene Saturday afternoon to evaluate the scrimmage film, which will accomplish two goals – one being the obvious learning process that goes along with film study, and the other being that it will serve as a run-through for how things will occur after a game on Sundays during the fall. There will no statistics available for public consumption.
* Davis indicated that his staff held a long team meeting on Thursday night, in which the message appeared to be two-fold in congratulating the players on their hard work while also encouraging them to grind and finish training camp strong.
"One of the things that I told our players – I said, ‘One of the hardest things in life is to be consistent," Davis said. "It's hard. It's hard to be a good father every day. It's hard to be a good husband every day. It's hard to be a good employee. It's hard to be a good football player, because you've got to challenge yourself mentally every day to not waste that day and to realize how important that particular day is. You don't know if that day is the day there will be a breakthrough. You're struggling with something fundamentally or technique-wise, and today's the day you get it right. But you won't get it right if you don't push yourself.'
"Everybody wants to win – there's not a kid in that locker room that doesn't want to go 12-0. But everybody's got to be willing to pay the price to earn victories. Victories aren't given away – they are earned. So we're challenging them and we're pushing them physically [and] mentally."
* The installation process has grown with each passing season in Chapel Hill, as more and more players are comfortable in the basic elements of the offense and defense and are able to add more knowledge to their database. While Davis pointed out that there were still some "little tiny things" left to introduce to the roster, the focal point had recently turned to learning more about their future opponents.
If 2007 and 2008 were about planting seeds and growing the North Carolina program, then 2009 is about showing confidence by finally spending more time on nuances that other teams offer during the course of the season.
"What we've been able to do over the last two weeks is that we've been able to take 15-20 minutes in almost every single practice and work on concepts that we're going to see throughout the season, [so] that there will be some carry over," Davis said. "I don't know how many teams are going to run elements of option offenses, whether it be read-option offense, mid-line option or speed-line option, so we're working every second or third day on options. There's things in blitzes that we don't do, but other opponents that we're going to play – they're going to run those blitzes…
"Now when you have a one-week preparation for somebody, there's some carryover for things that they did last year and things that we did during training camp."
* With so much preseason media attention on North Carolina's youth at wide receiver, the tendency has been to put a lot of leadership responsibility upon the broad shoulders of Greg Little. But in the grand scheme of things, the Durham, N.C. junior would still be considered young and inexperienced at a variety of schools throughout the ACC.
Little managed just 11 receptions for 146 yards in '08 after starting the season at running back.
"One of the things that we have to caution ourselves against is that Greg Little has got to take care of Greg Little," Davis said. "It's nice that he can be a great role model and that he can go out and practice hard and that he's got some experience and is a little bit more of a veteran, but I'm not too concerned about him being a mentor and being a coach on the field.
"He's got to play well. You want to set a great example for all of those young receivers? Go out and perform. Go out and be a great blocker. Go out and be a great route runner when you know you might be the second or third receiver… That's how you can mentor young receivers."