December 6, 2007

Davis says Carolina only

North Carolina football fans can rest easy tonight as [b]Butch Davis[/b] said definitively on Thursday that he is not interested in coaching Arkansas or coaching at any other school besides Carolina.

"No, no, no," Davis said. "There is no interest in the University of Arkansas coaching job. I hope they hire a good coach. I played football there."

Davis left no wiggle room about leaving Carolina, not just for Arkansas but for any other job.

In fact, Davis said he spent some time Thursday morning talking with UNC director of athletics [db]Dick Baddour about the progress of the stadium expansion. There are mockups sitting outside the coaches' offices, showing how the stadium might appear after it is expanded. Davis said Baddour told him the plan for the renovations should be ready to present to the Board of Trustees around the next 30 days or so.

"I know there was interest out there," Davis said of other schools looking at him, "but my interest was to stay at the University of North Carolina. I love being here, and I love being a part of it. I look very much forward to being a part of the future of this program. I had an opportunity to sit out of coaching for two years and survey the landscape of jobs that were open over the last two years and jobs that might potentially come open. My family and I really, truly love Chapel Hill.

"We chose it as place to raise our son. We chose it as a place to stay. We're thrilled to be here. I'm fortunate to have this job, and I love being a part of it."

In other news, starting quarterback T.J. Yates will undergo shoulder surgery right after he takes his final exam on Dec. 17. He underwent a medical test after the regular-season finale against Duke, and it revealed tissue trauma that will require surgery.

Yates got a second opinion from the Carolina Panthers' physicians, and they agreed with the diagnosis of the UNC medical staff. Davis said that he believes the doctors caught the injury just before it might have become more serious.

While he could not put a definite time frame on the healing process, he said he expects Yates to return to normal after speaking with all the doctors.

"The timetable for him to get well, they really, truly won't know until they go inside," Davis said. "It can be anywhere from as short as six to seven to eight weeks to maybe as long to 10 to 12 weeks. The expectations are he will be 100 percent, and that he will come back and be fine."

Davis did say he believes the injury affected Yates' performance toward the end of the season, when his throws lost some of their velocity from earlier in the year.

"I think it definitely had an impact," Davis said. "We started talking to T.J. with about three to four games left in the season, asking him if he was fatigued. There was a little lack of velocity with the ball at practice. [Offensive coordinator] John Shoop cut back his reps. … He maybe cut it 10 to 15 throws from what he normally would have thrown during the course of the week. On game days, you would just see little evidences and think, 'Wonder if his arm is tired?'

"My own personal diagnosis is that maybe we caught it before it became something more significant. I think it was a blessing we caught it when we did."

UNC will open next season on Aug. 30 against McNeese State. That game will replace a contest originally scheduled against Colorado. The Tar Heels will play seven home games, and the schedule is an attractive one.

The home games will be against Connecticut, Notre Dame, McNeese State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Virginia Tech.

McNeese State is no pushover. The school, located in Lake Charles, La., finished 11-1 and was ranked No. 3 in the country in what used to be called I-AA.

The Tar Heels, who finished 4-8 this season, will return 10 starters on offense and eight on defense.

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