On Hakeem Nicks:
“You can’t say enough about what Hakeem has done so far this season. I think he’s got 49 receptions… Hakeem is somewhat on track to have a chance to potentially break the record. I think the record is 70 receptions in a season, so he’s got 49 with four games left to go. You have to absolutely love Hakeem Nicks, and the way he practices.
“What you’re seeing on Saturday – you’re probably only seeing Hakeem at maybe 90 percent. He has been really bothered with a really bad high ankle sprain, and he has sucked it up [and] gutted it out everyday at practice. [He] runs his routes, he wants to be prepared for Saturday and then he goes out on Saturday and just continually makes good plays. He’s a big part of our offense, and a big part of the inspiration for our whole football team.”
“Fortunately, they’re all going to be back again this week. We didn’t lose anybody in last week’s ball game. That’s the only way that you’re ever going to get any kind of consistency and continuity, is if the same guys get a chance to play and to grow and to gain experience, and then utilize that experience the following week.”
”Wondering if any of those [Arkansas] rumors are true and if you’re planning on being in Chapel Hill next year?”
“Absolutely. Somebody asked me earlier tonight, somebody said, ‘Are you planning on going to Arkansas?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely, I fully expect to go to Arkansas probably sometime this summer for Father’s Day to see my dad.’”
Any personnel changes planned?
“That’s a great question. I wish it was that easy. We’ve shuffled players around about all that we really probably can shuffle them. For these last four games, I think the best thing that we can do with this football team is to allow these guys to play in the positions that they are [currently at].
“We’ve moved 10 guys throughout the course of the season from positions that they used to play or played in high school to totally different positions. We’re kind of past the experimental stage. We’re trying to use as many guys as we can to try to plug in some of the holes as far as depth is concerned and trying to put people in position to try to make plays… Pretty much the lineup – the way that it is now – it’ll probably stay the same for the remainder of the season.”
On Thursday night games:
“Dick [Baddour] and I had a meeting this afternoon, and I said, ‘Okay, let’s talk about these Thursday night games. If they can have 82,000 people on Franklin Street and have a women’s basketball game on the same night – we can’t have a football game on a Thursday night?’
"Dick and I had a good laugh about it and realistically, the best opportunity for us to have one of those – which I think would be awesome, and I don’t know that we could have one every single year – but fall break would be a perfect time. That way you don’t run into the complications of having classes the next day. If we could somehow potentially maybe lobby for ESPN to give us one to coincide with the stadium expansion, I think it would be good.”
On the fact that you only have to host a Thursday night game once every five years:
“Unless you volunteer. I think Virginia Tech – they volunteer almost every single season. They’ve played in a bunch of them, and it’s probably been the one single thing that has helped their football program over the last 10 years more than anything else. They get the national exposure, the only game in the entire country that every high school recruit gets a chance to see on Thursday nights, so it would be a nice thing for us if maybe once every two or three years we could potentially do that.”
On T.J. Yates:
“In my opinion, one of the things that he’s done this season is that he has grown to the point that he feels very, very comfortable coming off of the first and second receiver, and going to the third receiver. That’s a huge step for young quarterbacks to make.”
“They are the biggest offensive line that we will have played this year. To put this in perspective, they’ve got a tight end that’s 6-foot-8, 265 pounds as a starting tight end. That’s what offensive tackles look like most of the time. They are huge, and it goes along with what they are trying to do. [Keon] Lattimore, the running back, is just a big, strong powerful guy… They’ve scored 21 touchdowns running the football, so they are truly a team that tries to draw a line in the sand and try to pound you to death running the football and they live off their play-action passing game.”
'Butch Davis Live' airs Thursday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.