"You can see evidence of that in some of the things that they are doing that they weren't able to do last year. They've got more speed at the slot receiver position, so they're getting the ball on the perimeter. That's one of the things – a lot of the offense was Jonathan Dwyer-driven last year and quarterback-driven with the triple option and they didn't make as many big plays. But I think all of us that got a chance to watch Georgia Tech's game against Clemson a couple of weeks ago on national television… They pitched the ball on the perimeter and went 82 yards on one play in the third phase of that option. That certainly gets everybody's attention."
On T.J. Yates' 19-of-24 passing performance against East Carolina:
"The interesting thing about the 79 percent is that three of those passes that were incomplete were intentional throwaways that he just dunked to try to get rid of it, to avoid getting a sack or throwing into coverage."
"Ryan Taylor is progressing really well. He's almost reached the stage where he's probably about 85 percent as far as his speed and acceleration. He's starting to run some routes. He obviously can't have any kind of contact right now, but the doctors have released him to do absolutely everything in the weight room, which is an important step to getting back on the field…
"Dwight [Jones] came to practice on [Tuesday] and he took part in some of the drills. We're being very, very cautious about him and it will be a day-by-day, week-by-week game time decision kind of thing to find out whether or not he's going to be ready to go by this week or next week. But we're very optimistic that he's going to be playing pretty soon."
What does OC John Shoop mean when he talks about creating a "conflict of assignment" for the opposing defense?
"Everybody defensively has got responsibilities – things that they have to take care of. And what he means by "conflict of assignment" is that he would like to show you something that makes you think you need to defend that, but he's actually trying to attack you some place else. Basically, it's a fancy way of saying that you want to confuse guys and make them see one thing and make it look like something, but you're actually trying to do something totally different."
On Aleric Mullins:
"He's definitely not under the radar by the opponents or by the coaching staff or his teammates… John [Blake] is doing a great job of rotating Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas and Aleric and Tydreke Powell. When we go through the game film and we ask for breakdowns on Sunday as to how many plays, it was kind of interesting that the starters in last week's game against East Carolina – I think they had 42 and 44 plays. And the two guys that played as backups had 26 and 29 plays. And one of the things about Aleric this year is that he's really playing consistently. When he comes in, you know that in those plays he's going to give great effort, he's making plays and that's very important."
Defensive Line Coach John Blake
On his relationship with Butch Davis:
"Coach [Davis] and I go back a long way, and also, he was the one that got me to the Cowboys. But I've known Coach all of my life and it's just a like a family. When he called to make a decision about where he wanted to go [coach in college], I told him, ‘Coach, I'm with you wherever you go.' So I'm glad to be here."
"I think we're really doing an excellent job. One thing that Coach says that is important is that winning helps with recruiting. When our team plays well and we win and you guys come out and they see the crowd cheering, they see an opportunity to be a part of something special. A lot of kids want to play, and because we're building this program, we're giving them opportunities to play.
"So we're still in the building process. But recruiting is going well. There's a lot of excitement by our kids here in North Carolina, but also around the country because our name has tremendous respect… I think a lot of people recruit, but we call it a relationship because that lasts for a lifetime… I'm excited about what's taking place."
On how his head coaching experience at Oklahoma has helped him as an assistant coach:
"I look back on my opportunity to be a head coach, and I really didn't have a chance to work under anyone that taught me a lot. I kind of just took a little from Barry Switzer and took a little from Jackie Sherrill, but it really has enhanced my knowledge working with Coach Davis. I've learned so much in the organizational part of it, how to deal with certain situations and how to be calm.
"Plus, I love Coach, so everything he does, I take seriously. But he's taught me a whole lot and it's made me a good assistant coach. And being an associate head coach for him, I can also carry on things when he's not around and support him. The loyalty part is second to none."
'Butch Davis Live' airs Wednesday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.