Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tar Heels going down checklist
By David Ubben
Butch Davis wanted two things for his team entering spring practice. The North Carolina coach believes he's found both.
Four players on his offensive line didn't participate in spring drills because of injury, but despite that, Davis is happy with the development of his offensive line.
"We started to develop some consistency and continuity in the offensive line," he said. "Still have a lot of ways to go."
Davis was also proud of his linebacking corps, which desperately needed depth. Dion Guy and Herman Davidson answered the call.
"Last year we basically had to play the entire season with three guys [at linebacker]. We needed some guys to come in and provide some playing time," Davis said. "They really closed the gap and put themselves in a position where everyone on the coaching staff and the players say, 'Hey, when those guys go in the game, we trust them, we believe in them and they can play well."
Out on the edge, Davis was happy with the development of his receivers as well, three of whom were forced to play as freshmen a season ago.
"It was really a baptism by fire," Davis said. "There were growing pains, but they've improved."
He's still searching for consistency on special teams, from both his placekickers and punters.
Those receivers will take on his secondary, one of the groups he's most excited to see in Saturday's spring game, broadcast on ESPN on Saturday at 3 p.m.
We’re looking for the guys that can just make plays with their athletic ability," Davis said. "We’ve kind of put a handicap in it that we’re not going to do a lot of sophisticated things. We’re not going to be totally unsophisticated. We’re going to see some younger guys in the secondary and can they make plays one-on-one without us doing a bunch of stuff up front to help them do it."