If you're like me you don't always have the time to listen to every Panthers interview....hey, that Olympic Water Polo is pretty compelling stuff! Here are some highlights from Coach Rivera's most recent interview:
1. In the surprise surprise category, the first person Coach singled out as having a great camp was....wait for it....Eric Norwood. Go figure. Time to install that 3-4. As a Gamecock fan who loved Norwood's big play ability in college, I would love to see him find a niche on this team and break out this year.
2. Defensive Ends. In a turnabout from last year's camp, Coach was more complimentary of Greg Hardy than Charles Big Money Johnson. He said CJ has been consistent but needs to step it up to another level. In other words (mine), he needs a Bigger Motor to match his Big Money.
3. As the Gamble pukes. For those who are interested in the "so why does Chris Gamble always get sick like that in Camp?" question, Coach explained it in this interview: he gets sick "because he gets so geared up," in other words, it's not an attitude issue but rather a emotional stomach issue. You know, like when your girl doesn't eat at dinner because she's so overcome by your magnetic presence.
4. For those of you wanting Sherrod Martin to slide his way down the depth chart below Haruki Nakamura (yeah, I had to google it), don't count on it. Coach Rivera referred to Godfrey and Martin as "our two safeties," and had more positive to say about Sherrod than negative, although he did say he is looking for more consistency from him. But Sherrod's size makes him the ideal FS, as does his big-playmaking ability, so look for Haruki to provide depth and push "our two safeties" barring a major blowout in the preseason by #23.
5. I think this has been widely reported, but Coach is pretty close to saying LaFell has already won the spot at #2 WR. He said so in this interview, saying"Brandon has really taken the bull by the horns" and "the race is really for who is going to win the #3 WR position". The 4 guys he mentioned? (This one's for you Tater) Armanti, Murphy, Adams and Tutu. A bit strange Pilares was not mentioned, but it does seem like the longer David Gettis is out, the more difficult it will be for him to win that #3.
6. Finally, for all of you kicker lovers out there, the interview began by Coach emphasizing that both the kicker and punter battles have been virtually even in all aspects thus far in Camp. One kicker making 90%, the other 89%, both punters booting well for both yardage and hangtime. Gotta believe the Punter talk is coachspeak as we drafted Nortman for a reason and he has been impressive thus far, but the kicker battle does seem to be a deadheat at this time. While one would normally expect them to go with the proven veteran in case of a tie at kicker, Mare's well-documented shanks in the clutch last year pretty much lost him that advantage with the coaching staff, in my opinion.