Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UNC braces for a heated in-state rivalry game with ECU

UNC football coach Butch Davis, like many Carolina fans, doesn't seem too keen about having this Saturday's opponent East Carolina on the schedule.

"When I took the job, they were on the schedule for multiple years in the future," Davis said at the weekly ACC press conference. "It's a heated, big rivalry, like all in-state rivalries are. We've gone there once and they've come here one time since I've been here. I know they're still on the schedule in future years. We're going to continue to play them when it is scheduled."

Some Carolina fans say that there is nothing to gain by playing East Carolina. But there are bragging rights.

Davis said the players and fans know each other well. "A lot of these kids played against each other in high school, they know each other. Some of them played on the same teams with each other," Davis said. "Anytime the fans are in such close proximity in the state of North Carolina, where there's so many schools, it obviously adds added excitement and hype."

Davis praised ECU as "extraordinarily explosive" and said that the players have quickly bought into the new coaches' schemes and philosophy.

Davis pointed to the team speed and Dwayne Harris in particular. "East Carolina has an awful lot of speed on their football team. Probably none of it is more evident than Dwayne Harris. Dwayne, not knowing him as a young man, but just watching him over his career, he's one of the real gifted athletes that we'll play against in the last couple years.

"He can score on punt returns, kickoff returns. He's an excellent receiver. He does a lot of stuff for their football team. He's definitely somebody that's playing extremely well."

Saturday afternoon's game in Chapel Hill will be broadcast online on ESPN3.com and locally on Time Warner Digital Cable.

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