|Plenty of familiar faces ahead for North Carolina's Butch Davis in tough stretch of games|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 24 September 2007 08:44|
The former Miami coach will cross paths with former Big East nemeses Frank Beamer and No. 17 Virginia Tech, one of his former staff members in new Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon and an ex-cross-state rival in Steve Spurrier - who's now leading 16th-ranked South Carolina.
It's a seemingly merciless stretch that offers little relief to the reeling Tar Heels (1-3), who are coming off a third straight defeat, a 27-point loss at No. 18 South Florida. They haven't beaten an out-of-state Bowl Subdivision team since 2005.
And it's starting to sink in that unless Davis can pull a stunner against one of the faces from his past, North Carolina could be out of the bowl picture before Halloween.
``You've got to look at these three games ... you look forward to these challenges against the powerhouses of the nation,'' cornerback Kendric Burney said. ``We have nothing to lose. ... Virginia Tech, Miami, South Carolina, they're the ones with the pressure. They're the ones that have got the big BCS and all that. So we're just going to come out and play and have fun.''
There are plenty of connections between Davis and his next three opponents. His Miami teams went 1-5 against Virginia Tech during the late 1990s, when the Hurricanes were rebuilding after probation and the Hokies replaced them as the Big East's premier program.
``We always played them later in the year, so it was usually at night time, it was usually dark and a lot of times it was cold. ... When you took kids from south Florida up there in the snow, there were always fist fights over thermal underwear (and) gloves,'' Davis quipped.
The only thing that seems to have changed at Virginia Tech, Davis said, is its conference affiliation.
After that comes a visit from Shannon, who spent three seasons under Davis as Miami's linebackers coach before moving to NFL's Dolphins and rejoining the Hurricanes in 2001 when Larry Coker took over and Davis left for the Cleveland Browns.
And Davis' final game at Miami came against Spurrier when the Hurricanes beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl, in a matchup marked by a Bourbon Street brawl between players from both teams.
But the Tar Heels can't allow themselves to focus on the subplots, or else they'll be 1-6 heading into a week off and staring at their sixth straight non-winning season.
``It's going to be real difficult to bounce back, especially we've got a real tough road - Virginia (Tech), Miami, but we aren't trying to look forward (or) look ahead,'' running back Ryan Houston said. ``Now we've got to focus on Virginia Tech.''