<
>

UNC coach Butch Davis addresses injuries

9/16/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

North Carolina isn't going to make any dramatic adjustments to its offense this week against East Carolina, coach Butch Davis said, despite the numerous injuries to key starters, including tight end Zack Pianalto and center Lowell Dyer. Both are expected to miss three to four weeks, and considering how thin the Heels' offensive line was to begin with, this situation obviously doesn't help.

Still, Davis said it would be worse to try to "recreate the wheel in three day's practice."

"We're just going to try to plug some guys in and continue with the identity," he said. "I think it would be somewhat detrimental to our entire offensive football team to totally deviate, go in a totally different direction just because some guys got injured."

Davis said he liked what he saw from Cam Holland against Connecticut, but he expects Holland to improve with increased experience.

Davis said he’s never coached a position that needed so much shuffling this early in the season. In August, offensive tackle Carl Gaskins tore his ACL, Aaron Stahl decided to graduate and leave the program early, foregoing a final year of eligibility. And reserve Kevin Bryant, who was charged with misdemeanor assault of a female this summer, decided not to return to the program for his sophomore season.

“We’ve lost a significant amount of offensive linemen over the last seven or eight months,” Davis said. “… A young offensive line got even younger. … Our coaches have done a good job of trying to settle that group down. Those kids are focusing on trying to practice and get better with their fundamentals and hopefully it will start to pay dividends.

“One of the things you’d like to have at some point in time is consistency and continuity on the offensive line,” Davis said. “It was as setback certainly to lose a fifth year senior starting center in Lowell Dyer. Cam Holland came in and did a very good job for his first opportunity to get a chance to start a ball game. We’re very, very young in the offensive line. As guys get more game experience and more playing experience, our expectations are they will continue to improve. But I think our kids did a good job and our coaching staff did an outstanding job of not panicking, showing some maturity and showing some poise when things were going tough last week.”