Tag:Butch Davis
Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:57 am
 

Eye on CFB Recruiting Review, 3/21

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every Monday, our weekly Recruiting Review recaps the past week's top headlines from our sister blog, Bryan Fischer's Eye on Recruiting . Enjoy:
  • Weekend before last, a BadgerSports 7-on-7 event on the campus of USF brought out of some of the top athletes in Florida; Eye on Recruiting has your rundown of the standouts . Shifty, explosive running back Alton "Pig" Brown was the headliner, and looks poised to continue the recent run of highly-ranked all-purpose backs out of central Florida. Highlights of the event are available here .
  • Not even the pull of in-state Texas could keep Denton defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. from following in his father's footsteps by committing to Florida State. Edwards' father, Mario Sr., starred at cornerback for Bobby Bowden's Seminoles in the 1990s.
  • Is the class of 2011 finally, officially put to bed now? Maybe, after Palmdale (Calif.) defensive end Steve Dillon at long last signed his letter-of-intent with USC. Dillon became the 31st member of Lane Kiffin's supersized '11 class.
  • Part of this morning's roundup of recruiting news included the news that Jadeveon Clowney is "on track" to qualify ... but that his academics are shaky enough that it's far from a done deal just yet. South Carolina fans shouldn't get off of their pins and needles just yet.
One more reminder: if you don't want to wait for these Monday recaps, simply read Eye on Recruiting . You'll be glad you did.
Posted on: March 14, 2011 4:52 pm
 

Brandon Willis is officially a Tar Heel, again

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Brandon Willis was originally a member of North Carolina's 2010 recruiting class, but only after originally committing to Tennessee and changing his mind when Lane Kiffin left for USC. After losing his mother while still in high school, Willis' father lost his job and found a new one in southern California. Not wanting to be separated from his father after losing his mother, Willis announced last August that he was leaving North Carolina to transfer to UCLA.

Then, seven days ago, Willis announced he was leaving UCLA. This time his grandmother is ailing, and once again Brandon is on the move. While it's been rumored for a week now, North Carolina made it official with a release on Monday saying that Willis was returning to Chapel Hill.

“Brandon lost his mother in high school and is very close with his grandmother, who lives in Burlington and is battling health issues,” head coach Butch Davis said in a statement. “He and his father wanted to move back to the East coast to be with her.  There were no hard feelings when Brandon originally left and when he inquired about the possibility of returning, we welcomed him back.”

Of course, since Willis transferred last season, he had to sit out the entire 2010 season. Now that he's transferring again, he may have to sit out a second straight year. North Carolina will submit a waiver to the NCAA asking to grant Willis immediate eligibility, and given the nature of his latest transfer, there's a chance that the NCAA will allow it.
Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:29 am
 

Report: UCLA DT returning to North Carolina

Posted by Chip Patterson

Highly touted defensive tackle Brandon Willis has made more headlines than most of the Class of 2010, and he has yet to play a snap. Multiple media outlets, including the Los Angeles Daily News and InsideCarolina.com, are reporting that the Tar Heel transfer has been given his release from UCLA, and will be returning to North Carolina.

“My grandmother (is very ill),” Willis told Inside Carolina on Monday. “So everybody is trying to get as close as possible to be near her. “I wouldn’t go to any other school except for UNC, because I have a good relationship with Coach Butch Davis.”

Willis originally was a verbal commitment to Tennessee with plans to enroll in January 2010. But when Lane Kiffin bolted for Southern California, Davis and Co. convinced Willis his place would be at UNC. However, his father's unemployment situation forced a move to California - and prompted the hasty transfer to UCLA.

Now, with his grandmother in poor health, the entire family plans to relocate back to the Carolinas. When his father's employment forced the move to UCLA, Willis left North Carolina on good terms with Butch Davis. Now, that relationship will pay off in another talented body on the defensive line.

Willis is applying for an NCAA waiver to allow him to play right away, due to the circumstantial situation. Whether the waiver is granted or not, Willis plans to enroll back into UNC for the first summer session in May.
Posted on: December 31, 2010 2:12 am
Edited on: December 31, 2010 2:16 am
 

Bowl Grades: Music City Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

North Carolina uses a blocked extra point, three personal fouls, and two overtimes to knock off Tennessee 30-27 in the Music City Bowl.


NORTH CAROLINA

Offense: The gift North Carolina fans got for Christmas was a healthy Shaun Draughn. Draughn has been battling an ankle injury since early November, but returned to make his first start of the season against Tennesee. The senior from Tarboro, N.C. had his second best outing for the season - rushing 16 times for 127 yards and a touchdown. Knowing that Tennessee was weak against the run, and both Elzy and Johnny White would be out, there was doubt as to if the Tar Heels would be able to take advantage of the weakness. Clearly they did, and clearly it worked out okay. GRADE: B

Defense: While North Carolina did give up 312 passing yards to Tyler Bray, they did limit the entire Vols offense to just 27 yards rushing. Forcing Tennessee to become one dimensional allowed the Heels to drop linebackers into coverage, particularly in overtime. Linebackers like Quan Sturdivant, who picked off Bray in overtime to set up the game winning field goal. The most impressive defensive performance might have come from Donte Paige-Moss. Paige-Moss returned from a busted nose he received from making a helmet-less sack to block the extra point to keep the score at 20-17 late in the fourth quarter. If that kick sails through and Tennessee claims a 21-17 lead, Barth's clutch leg would not have been an option. Big play after big play (not to mention Zach Brown's interception return), and this is a defensive squad lacking 3 future NFL draft picks. GRADE: A

Coaching: North Carolina head coach Butch Davis admitted after the game that the too many men on the field penalty was his fault. The offense had been told to clock the ball after Draughn's run, while the field goal team hustled out to try and kick it before time expired. The confusion was epic and the result, while the right call, will haunt Tennessee fans for a while. If anything, this was another example of Davis getting this team to battle back. It may be from suspension, it may be from injury, or in this case it was facing an impossible deficit in a not-so-neutral stadium. Somehow, the Tar Heels got it done this season - the newest Music City Miracle was just another example. GRADE: B

TENNESSEE

Offense: I know it stings for Tennessee fans right now, but there is plenty of good things to take away from the Music City Bowl. More than anything, the future is very bright with Tyler Bray under center. The freshman quarterback lived up to his late season charge against a tough Tar Heel defense and had a field day. Bray completed 27 passes to nine different receivers for 312 yards and four touchdowns. The deficiency in the running game (27 net yards) has to be a concern, and the three interceptions (particularly the last one) weren't fantastic, but there is plenty to be hopeful for with Tyler Bray leading the offense. GRADE: B-

Defense: Any positive things the defense did before the end of regulation will be completely forgotten thanks to some brutal decision-making in the final minutes. From Janzen Jackson's penalty on Harrelson to defensive end Gerald Williams' unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that set up North Carolina on the 12 yard line to start overtime. Additionally, giving up the touchdown drive before halftime was another huge momentum swinger, but after the way the game ended it seems like a moot point. GRADE: F

Coaching: It was mentioned earlier, but Derek Dooley will probably never want to play the end of close games ever again. After suffering this and the LSU clock debacle earlier this season, Dooley will lead the charge for a rules overhaul in regards to the punishments for substitutions I'm sure. But the blame will have to fall on Dooley as well for the penalties that cost them the game. Discipline issues in the college game will fall on the coaches as much as the players, and those three personal fouls in roughly a minute of gameplay changed the game entirely. GRADE: D

FINAL GRADE: Are you kidding me? Not to go all "standardized test," but if this game is graded in comparison to it's peers it is easily an A++. Not many games before today have carried this kind of impact on the entire college football community. Not to blow anything out of proportion, but this may the spark that gets the last minute run-off instituted in college football for offensive penalties. It does not belittle what North Carolina did in any way (the rule isn't in place), but it may be the last time it occurs ever again in college football. At least you have that kind of potential for historic significance. GRADE: A
Posted on: December 30, 2010 12:33 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 4:04 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Music City Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: Shaun Draughn, who has been dealing with an ankle injury since early November, will start for North Carolina at running back.  Draughn is the team's second leading rusher and was a starter in 2009 until suffering a season ending shoulder surgery. 

The Basics: North Carolina
(7-5) takes on Tennessee (6-6) in the Music City Bowl in Nashville at 6:40 p.m. on Thursday.

Why to watch: Earlier in the season, Tennessee made headlines by dropping their home-and-home agreement with North Carolina from the 2011 and 2012 schedule. North Carolina fans were upset to miss the opportunity to square off with their neighboring flagship university, and the Vols were upset to see a BCS opponent leave the non-conference slate. Both sides are coming in ready to make a statement, with the Volunteers fans looking to pack Nashville's LP Field for the Music City Bowl. Both teams have undergone major transformations since the preseason. North Carolina had the much-publicized agent and academic issues that saw as many as 13 starters missing time throughout the season. In addition to the suspensions, the Tar Heels have caught no breaks with personnel. Starting linebacker Bruce Carter, starting guard Alan Pelc, and the top three rushers, among others, are all out for the Music City Bowl.

Tennessee has undergone major changes as well, most notably at the quarterback position. True freshman Tyler Bray finally hit his stride in the second half of the season, helping lead the Vols to four straight victories to become bowl eligible. Bray began sharing snaps with starter Matt Simms in the middle of the season, but head coach Derek Dooley's gamble paid off when he gave the frosh the keys to the offense. In those final four games, Bray through for 1,234 yards and 12 touchdowns. North Carolina won't be guaranteed to see the Vols in the future, but they will get to see the future of the Vols on Thursday.

Keys to victory for North Carolina: Tennessee has a pretty poor rushing defense, giving up over five yards per carry. This would be a great time for Johnny White, Anthony Elzy, or Shaun Draughn to help set up T.J. Yates and the passing game by pounding the ball on the ground. With White and Draughn hurt, and Elzy scratched for academics, the running responsibilities will fall on Hunter Furr. That puts even more pressure on Yates, who will continue to pad his lead in the UNC record books in several major categories. The Volunteers defense does not give up the long ball often, but they also do not get a lot of interceptions. Yates performs well when he can pitch and catch the ball down the field, and they will need him to do it in order to score with a limited rushing game.

Keys to victory for Tennessee: Once Tyler Bray got in sync with his receiving corps, everything changed for the Volunteers. Tennessee finished the season ranked fourth in the SEC in passing, and several receivers all capable of making the big play. North Carolina's secondary, though loaded with talent, has not delivered the same shut-down performances from years past. Virginia Tech and North Carolina State exposed North Carolina's weaknesses in the pass defense, and Bray will be looking to exploit that. Another major opportunity for the Volunteers will present itself in the special teams play. North Carolina, mostly due to a shortage of players, has been weak in the special teams department all season. If they can get one or two game-changing plays out of special teams, it could mean a victory for the in-state underdogs.

The Music City Bowl is like: A MTV/VH1/Bravo reality series. Both Tennessee and North Carolina are "big names" in college athletics, but neither team has been able to stand out on the field this season.  But off the field?  Oh man, the storylines! Obviously there is plenty of juicy scandal in Chapel Hill, and Tennessee still has some lingering bitterness towards their ex (Kiffin).  Imagine the Derek Dooley confessionals as he defends his support for "the new guy" Tyler Bray.  Butch Davis hitting the Nashville streets to GTL?  Okay, we are getting ahead of ourselves here.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 1:29 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 1:33 pm
 

North Carolina loses two starters to surgery

Posted by Chip Patterson

The North Carolina senior class is one of the most successful classes in program history, but they will be missing two of their leaders when they take the field for their final game against the Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.  Both starting linebacker Bruce Carter and starting guard Alan Pelc underwent surgery this week and will miss their final game in Nashville, according to a release from the school.

Pelc underwent surgery on Monday afternoon to repair damage in his left shoulder.  He started 11 games for the Tar Heels in 2010, helping lead one of the more surprising offensive attacks in the conference.  

Carter underwent ACL reconstruction surgery on Tuesday.  He first injured his left knee in the home finale against NC State in late November.  He is expected to be fully recovered by the fall of 2011, but his participation is doubtful for the combines leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft.  With his rare combination of strength, speed, and ball-hawking presence, Carter is one of the most sought after outside linebackers in the draft class.  There is no telling yet how this injury will impact his stock in April's draft.

“Bruce and Alan have meant so much to this program,” said head coach Butch Davis. “They have been great kids, great leaders and, most importantly, they will graduate Sunday with a degree from the University of North Carolina. Obviously, we are disappointed for them that they will not be able to play in the bowl game. However, our main concern is their health and preparing for the future.”

Both Carter and Pelc will graduate from North Carolina this weekend.  
Posted on: November 18, 2010 4:59 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2010 5:03 pm
 

UNC Chancellor: No reason to make staff changes

Posted by Chip Patterson

At Thursday morning's Board of Trustees meeting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp and athletic director Dick Baddour gave an update on the state of the football program.  With the NCAA's ruling on the final two players, the ineligibility of Devon Ramsey and Michael McAdoo, the ongoing investigation conducted by the NCAA and the university is coming to a close.  Chancellor Thorp also informed the board that the University is planning no self-imposed sanctions on the football program.  The school's investigators will turn over all of their findings to the NCAA enforcement staff, at which point they will learn what, if any, sanctions will be issued.

Thorp also took the opportunity to make a statement on the future of head coach Butch Davis.  Throughout the ongoing investigation, Davis has caught a lot of heat letting these improprieties go unnoticed for as long as they did, and earlier in the season many fans were calling for a mid-season resignation.  According to Chancellor Thorp, the University has "found no reason to make any more changes" to the coaching staff.  The "more changes" phrase of course being a reference to the resignation of assistant coach John Blake, who has been connected with the improper benefits and ties to agents, and left Chapel Hill "for the better of the program."
Posted on: November 15, 2010 12:41 pm
 

More fun for Butch Davis

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Remember the good old days of the 2010 season, when it was North Carolina head coach Butch Davis that was the worst person in the college football world?  Thanks to his decision to have John Blake on his coaching staff, Davis was forced to play out the season with a whole bunch of his players -- and some players from around the NCAA -- suspended for receiving gifts from agents.  Then this whole Cam Newton story came along, and we all forgot about Butch, which is something he's probably grateful for.

Which is why it's too bad a former academic coordinator at North Carolina, Cynthia Reynolds, has filed a grievance against the school, saying that the only reason she lost her job was because Davis wanted somebody younger -- read: more attractive -- in the position. 

"I think it's important to make the point that even though I was an 'at-will' employee, you can't get rid of somebody [because] you want someone younger in the position,'' Reynolds told the Charlotte News & Observer. "There are policies, and you have to follow them."

The 56-year old Reynolds spent seven years working with the football program before being reassigned to Olympic sports in 2009, and then let go in August of 2010.  Though, according to the school, her dismissal had nothing to do with her age as much as it had to do with her ability to do the job.  The school says that Reynolds was reassigned for two incidents.
  • A player was deemed academically ineligible in 2008 due to misadvising.
  • A secondary violation was reported to the NCAA after 18 incoming freshmen football players were not enrolled in enough summer school hours, a violation none of the players were held responsible for.
Those violations came in 2008, Reynolds was reassigned in 2009.  Seems to make sense to me.

As for Reynolds' claims that Davis wanted her removed, the coach emailed the paper and told them that her claims aren't accurate, and that he has no such authority to reassign anybody from the Academic Support Program.  Those decisions belong solely to the department.
 
 
 
 
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