"From the time that they agreed to terms (on a new collective bargaining agreement) and we went through free agency and getting our guys signed, and then getting our draft picks signed to trying to reschedule practices the way practices needed to be done, it was all pretty hectic," Rivera said. "But I think our coaches handled it very well.
"They did a great job. I can't say enough about what our coaching staff did in the last four weeks. And I say four weeks because, really, that's what we had to do. We had barely a week to plan and put everything together and then almost three weeks here."
"Time flew by," Gross said. "We've started fast and we installed all the way through. I think it went well. Coach Rivera definitely held a tougher camp than I expected, but I think we needed it and it was very productive..."He lets his coaches coach," Gross said. "He lets all of the position coaches do their job, but at the same time he runs a very organized tight ship and keeps a high level of expectations."
LB James Anderson feels a degree of mutual respect for his new coach, especially since Rivera is of course a former LB himself:
"He knows the game and he know when to rest players and when to give them work," Anderson said. "When you have a guy who has played the game there's an immediate mutual respect. He treats players fair and you can tell players appreciate it."
Funny, Rivera never mentioned the heat of Spartanburg like I would have expected given he's new to the humidity we have here. I think it just rolled right off of him.
This post also goes into the challenge Rivera gave his team that came over Twitter yesterday:
He challenged players to decide whether rookie kicker Adi Kunalic would make a 62-yard field goal on his first and only attempt. Those who chose correctly wouldn't have to attend team meetings Wednesday night. When Rivera noticed players unanimously voted Kunalic would make the kick he called off the competition and gave everyone the night off, much to the delight of players.
I mention this only because the author failed to mention Kunalic kicked the attempt anyway...and made it (from 62 yards). Kid has got a leg.
The usual rookie hazing occurred as well with some guys getting dumped in ice water, etc...no word (or pictures) of anyone getting taped to the goal post per tradition. Hopefully some pictures will surface soon.
It was also previously mentioned that the Panthers smashed their previous TC attendance record. I never heard the official total but they had broken the record with still a week or so remaining. There is no lack of enthusiasm for this team in Carolina. I think we are on the cusp of something really fun this season.