"Our assistant coaches did a great job in preparation to start the season. I think our team is now starting to become mature enough to realize that in the first game of the season, there's so many unknown factors. You never know about the other team and what they're going to do. You have an idea based on what they did last year, but you don't really know. I thought our kids showed a lot of poise with sideline adjustments [and] in preparation for the game. They wanted to play well and I felt for the most part, we really started off pretty efficiently. And obviously as a football team, we're extremely happy to start off 1-0."
"One of the unwritten rules that we have as a coaching staff is that the guys that we are actively pursuing in 2010, 2011, 2012, they're going to have to be at least as good or better than the guys that are currently on the football team. We're not very much interested in recruiting guys to be backup players to the football players that are on our football team. We want guys that are going to come in and push and challenge the existing players on our football team to be the best players that they can be, but when those guys leave, they will be the heir apparent to the position.
"I think one of the things that you would probably say about our coaching staff right now is that we're being a little bit more selective about the players [we're recruiting]. We've got seven or eight commitments right now in a class that probably at the end of the year, when we finally sign them, could be somewhere in the neighborhood of 17-20. That will probably be the number. We've probably got another four or five guys that are waiting to do their commitments on their official visits. So we're pleased at the way in which it's going."
On Dwight Jones' knee injury:
"It's discouraging for Dwight because he's really anxious to be a part of this year's football team and to participate. He underwent a minor arthroscopic surgery to shave off a little bit of the medial meniscus last week, and he's already walking around. He told our trainers the last couple of days and he told me today, ‘It feels better now than the day before I had the surgery. I feel like I could probably play this weekend.' But we'll be prudent and we'll be smart and we'll be wise. He's going to start running and I would suspect that in the very near future, we'll see him back in the lineup playing."
Will Da'Norris Searcy and Kendric Burney continue to share punt return duties?
"Yes, very much so. I think with as much as they have to play, because both of them are starters in the secondary, at times they may get a little bit fatigued – it depends upon the length of the drive and how long it is. But we're going to give Da'Norris the first opportunities, but as we did in the game against The Citadel, when Da'Norris got taxed a little bit because he's also playing on the punt coverage unit, we have a lot of confidence in Kendric Burney. Both of them have great hands, great focus, great concentration and we're fortunate to have both of them back there."
On how the coaching staff decides to red-shirt certain players:
"The way our coaching staff talks about in staff meetings is, ‘Is this young man going to benefit from playing?' One, is he going to help us win games during the course of this season, because truly that's what we're all about. You can talk about 2010, '11, '12, '13 but none of us may be here, who knows. So it's all about 2009. Can you win the games this year? And if they can contribute significantly enough…
"And then the second part of it is, will they be a dramatically better football player next year for having had the opportunities to play in these games? I kind of put a number on it – I feel like if we can project over the course of 12 games that a kid can participate in over 250 plays, it's probably worth it."
On Ryan Houston and the running game:
"A lot of people have the misconception that Ryan is simply just a battering ram that we use in short-yardage and goal-line [situations]. And you get glimpses at times – Ryan gets opportunities to come in the game and we would like for those opportunities to continue, for he and Shaun to continue to split the marquee part of the tailback position.
"But when he bounced down that sideline [on Saturday], I tell you what, that poor little cornerback from The Citadel was praying to God that Ryan would take it easy on him. Here's 245 pounds coming roaring down that sideline and Ryan is not the easiest guy to tackle. But we're fortunate. As a short-yardage and goal-line runner, his efficiency of making the first down or scoring touchdowns inside the 3-4-5 yard line – he's hitting at about a 90 percent success ratio….
"But two running backs still aren't enough. We saw A.J. Blue play a little bit at running back [and] we saw Jamal Womble, who we were very happy to get into the ball game. If we're going to be the kind of offense, not only this year but in years to come, we really truly need to have three outstanding tailbacks ready to go every single Saturday. If you're going to have 65-80 football plays, you'd like for one guy to maybe get 40-45 [snaps], another to get about 30 and another to 15-20 of them and start developing that legacy as a tailback group."
'Butch Davis Live' airs Wednesday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.