Friday, August 10, 2007

Tar Heels' passing surpasses expectations

North Carolina’s passing game has been one of the most pleasant surprises of fall camp for coach Butch Davis.

"The passing game has been good," Davis said. "We’ve made some good completions, and our receivers have had an excellent start to camp thus far."

The Tar Heel wide receivers have lived up to their billing as a strength on the roster. Davis said Brooks Foster, Brandon Tate, Hakeem Nicks, Greg Little and Kenton Thornton have done a good job in camp.

North Carolina’s quarterbacks are doing a better job getting those players the ball than they did during spring practice.

"The first couple weeks of spring practice, we talked about, not only could we not catch them, we couldn’t throw them or get anywhere close to it," Davis said. "So that’s very encouraging."

- Davis said he used Chinese bamboo growers as a metaphor for his team Friday when talking to his players. He said bamboo growers clear land, plant seeds, fertilize and pull weeds.

"I think it’s like a three-year process," he said. "At the end of the third year, little bitty buds start to grow up. Then you continue to take care of it and you grow it and fertilize it. And the next thing you know, those little buds turn into 80-foot bamboo shoots."

He compared practice to the bamboo-growing process.

"We won’t become a good team until you do all the due diligence," Davis said. "And then one day all of a sudden, look around, and it’s amazing how far we’ve come."

Ken Tysiac