"One of the things that I think makes Robert such a unique player – obviously, he's got wonderful physical skills. He's a big kid; he's 6-foot-5, 270-275 pounds. He's got great speed [and] he's excellent with his hands. But I think the thing that separates all great defensive linemen is relentlessness. He takes no plays off. He may get tired and he may take himself out of the game and we may try to keep him fresh, but when he's in there and that ball is snapped, you're going to get every single amount of energy and effort out of that kid. He's just relentless. He's tireless.
"Unfortunately, one of the hallmark things about some college kids is that there will be a play or two that they're going to take off. They'll play hard for four or five plays and then they may coast for a play. He's not the guy you want to coast on, because about the time that you take a break, he is going to embarrass you. He just had a phenomenal game last week [against Duke]."
On Shaun Draughn's shoulder injury:
"If there is a silver lining to it, it's the fact that he doesn't have to have surgery, which is always an enormous benefit for anybody that gets an injury, whether it's a soft-tissue injury or a fracture or something that they don't have to put screws in somebody's knees or shoulders or ankles. He got a minor fracture in his scapula, which is the [sharp] bone on your back. He took a shot with a helmet on the very first play of the game. He took a shot right in the middle of the back as he was on the ground.
"Obviously, it's a significant blow. Shaun's been a very, very productive player for us over the last two years. But he's going to get well, he's going to recover. He's walking around the offices in a sling and mad that he's not playing and certainly wants to be there for his teammates. [His return] will be up in the air. If we're fortunate enough to win enough games to qualify for a bowl game, it will be a little bit of an outside chance as to whether or not we'll be able to get him back. "
On the offense's balance:
"One of the goals that John [Shoop] has an offensive coordinator, as well as the staff and myself, we really want to have balance. That doesn't necessarily mean that we're talking about 35 runs and 35 passes. We're not talking about 150 yards rushing and 150 yards passing. We want balance so that they don't really know what we're going to do. That we can do what we would like to do when we want to do it. If we need to run, we're going to run. If we need to be able to pass, then we're going to pass to be effective.
"And our offense has probably been challenged more than any football team that I've personally coached probably in the last 20 years. When you take a look at the players that we lost last year, from Richard Quinn to the three or four offensive linemen to the three wide receivers, this was a major rebuilding and re-plugging in [process], and the thing is that sometimes you still have to find a way to win when guys are growing and they're young and inexperienced. I think that they've made strides. We've gotten better every single week and I think that's a tribute to our coaching staff."
Have you ever had so many injuries to one side of the ball like this year's offense has had with nine significant injuries?
On the wide receiver corps:
"Silently and quietly, at times, they've made some significant improvements. They're learning to play at the speed of the collegiate game. Probably the guy that caught everybody's attention initially was Erik Highsmith. Erik did an outstanding job in some of the early games. More recently, Jhay Boyd has come in and he's really started to add some playmaking ability – obviously with the touchdown run against Duke and some of the big catches and touchdown catches that he's had. The touchdown catch at Virginia Tech was a great play. Each of those guys is growing and they've gained some experience.
"Todd Harrelson is silently doing some good things, coming in and helping guys. Greg Little is still the ringleader of that entire group… Josh Adams is a young man that we have high expectations for and he's red-shirting after injuring his shoulder early in the season."
'Butch Davis Live' airs Wednesday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.