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The Drive with Josh Graham - Wake Forest vs UNC Preview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
September 10, 2019 6:25 pm

The Drive with Josh Graham - Wake Forest vs UNC Preview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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September 10, 2019 6:25 pm

Host Josh Graham with Desmond Johnson. A preview of UNC vs Wake Forest Friday night in Winston Salem. Why Drew Brees is a legend. Reactions from Panthers opening week loss vs the Rams. Charlotte Observer's Brendan Marks and mid day host David Glenn join the show. Tune into The Drive with Josh Graham, Mon-Fri 3-6pm on Sports Hub Triad!


Attention, please. This is The Drive with Josh Graham Podcast. Tune into The Drive 3 until 6 p.m. weekdays on the Sports Hub. I love it.

It's brilliant. We're about three days away from one of the biggest college football games to be played in the Triad, in the last ten years or so. When you're looking at Wake Forest, North Carolina, these two teams don't play each other that often. Being in different divisions, you have that six-year rotation.

Unless you are the designated team that you play every year, cross-division. So it's a non-conference game Friday night. And I think if Wake Forest wants to take the next step from being a team that goes to bowl games every year, wins bowl games every year, to being legitimately respected and being perceived as a team you expect to win nationally, this is the kind of game you have to win. Wake Forest is at home.

Wake Forest is a better team. Dave Claussen, he's in his sixth season at Wake. All these players are his. Mac Brown, he's in his first year. He's assembled a great staff. He's recruited well during the offseason. He has a good, young, true freshman quarterback. But Wake Forest's quarterback has put up slightly better numbers in the last two games. And to boot, he was on the roster last year.

He's a redshirt junior in Jamie Newman. So Wake's got the coach who's in his sixth year, the more experienced quarterback, a bigger chip on the Deke shoulder than what North Carolina's coming in with. North Carolina is swaggering in after beating Miami and having that enormous crowd, a legitimate sellout crowd at Keenan Stadium, beating South Carolina in an NFL venue. Meanwhile, Wake Forest is 2-0, not receiving any top 25 votes, unlike the Tar Heels.

They got one last week, 48 this week. Meanwhile, Wake Forest, they beat a Utah State team with an NFL prospect at quarterback that was 11-2 last year, a team, watching in person, that looked better than both Miami and South Carolina. Beat that team, them one on the road at Houston, they're not getting any love or respect. This is a game Wake Forest has been circling. I don't know if North Carolina has been looking ahead to playing at Wake Forest, playing in Winston-Salem, when you have Miami in your home opener, and you're playing in an NFL venue against South Carolina to open things up, and you also got Clemson in a few weeks. I don't think this game is as much on North Carolina's radar as it is for the Deacons. This game could go a long way in helping the national perception for Wake Forest and Dave Clausen's program.

North Carolina, again, is getting top 25 recognition. They have the coach that everybody loves. Nobody has a negative thing to say about Mac Brown, one of the most respected coaches in the industry, and rightfully so. Won a national title, does things the right way. No scandals you could talk about his time at Texas and North Carolina.

None at all. He's done it the right way. He was lovable on television, and now he's back. He's winning as an underdog, a program that didn't win last year, and he's doing so with a very good true freshman quarterback. If your quarterback's good, and you're on the national radar beating Power Five teams, and you have a coach that people trust, you're gonna get love nationally.

And that's what's happening with North Carolina. So even though the Tar Heels beat those two teams, I'm not convinced they're a better team than Wake Forest. If Wake wins this game, they might well be the second best team in the ACC. I thought Syracuse was that. I put out my ACC rankings today that you can find at David Glenn and Brian Geisinger put out their rankings as well.

We go one through 14. It was accepted that Clemson's number one, of course, and Clemson was number two, pretty much a lock as well. But then Syracuse gets blown out by Maryland last week. And Syracuse has to go to Clemson this week, or excuse me, they're hosting Clemson. Either way, that's likely gonna be a loss.

And I don't care who you are. If you're a two-loss team, I'm not gonna favor you over a team that's 2-0, especially if you're beating bowl teams like Wake Forest and North Carolina have done. The question would be Virginia or Wake Forest. If I had the lean right now, I'd take Virginia just because of the year they had last year. Bryce Perkins, Bryce Hall, both those players coming back, they won bigger games than Wake Forest won last year. But if you win against North Carolina, you're certainly third in the ACC, maybe second.

These types of things matter when you're talking about national perception. You won't get the same love SEC teams do when Kentucky started off great last year, while Florida was still finding its footing under Dan Mullen and other programs in the SEC were struggling. The narrative was, wow, look how great Kentucky is. They're having an awesome year. And they weren't picking fun of the SEC for Kentucky being ranked in the top 15, Kentucky being ranked in the top 10 under Mark Stoops. But when Syracuse was in the top 15, when Virginia was creeping into the top 25, it felt like the nation was laughing and pointing at the ACC.

Ha ha ha. Florida State's down. Miami is down.

And you want to come to the table? Yeah, we all know Clemson's good, but you want to come in here and expect us to respect Virginia and Syracuse? That's likely what would happen if Wake Forest got good and started winning games consecutively and going on a run here.

It's very possible that could happen. I think Wake Forest should win Friday's game. If Wake wants to take that next step, and I'm somebody who picked Wake Forest to win eight games in the regular season, if that's something that will happen, it happens with beating North Carolina at home.

Then it's Elon next week. By the way, that is Wake Forest's first Saturday game of the year. They announced that's a noon kickoff, noon kick at BB&T Field next Saturday for Elon Wake Forest. Then you go on the road at Boston College. Even if we call that a loss for Wake, you're talking about a 4-1 start with Scott Satterfield and Louisville coming into your building.

You're going to be a favorite in that. We see how down Florida State is. FSU is coming to BB&T Field after that. Then it's NC State going into BB&T Field, and Wake Forest has had NC State's number the last few years. So, feasibly, you could be looking at a 7-1 start for Wake Forest football. Then it's at Virginia Tech, at Clemson, home against Duke, at Syracuse.

The gauntlet, not great. But a 7-1 start? That's enough to get on the national radar, I think. And that only happens if you win at home against North Carolina Friday night at 6 o'clock.

3-3-6-7-7-7-1-600 if you want in on today's show, on Twitter, at sportsobtriad. I think this is the biggest home game of Dave Claussen's tenure. If there's another game that comes to mind, I'd be happy to hear it. You might point to the NC State game last year with the punch out on the goal line, NC State driving in, almost scoring. But remember, Wake Forest, they went on to win eight games that year. NC State, they were coming off a tough loss against Clemson, and their season really spiraled in another direction after that.

This is early on, while both Mac Brown and Dave Claussen are very optimistic about where their programs are at. And I think there's more on the table for Winston-Salem, or excuse me, Wake Forest, looking at how the schedule lies out for them. I think this is a bigger game than that one was. And if it's not that one, I don't know what the next biggest game of Dave Claussen's tenure is. What is the last football game for Wake Forest that is bigger for this one? If you're a Deke fan, I'd love to hear it.

336-777-1600, Desmond Johnson taking your call. Yes, Des. I did not think four weeks ago or five weeks ago that we would be talking about Wake Forest and Carolina as being such a huge game. But in fact, it is, as you mentioned, and I didn't realize it till a couple of hours ago. But this is the first time in the 131-year history of their rivalry where both are undefeated, meeting each other. Oldest rivalry in North Carolina. That's crazy.

That's nuts. But they don't play each other. Well, not anymore. It's a non-conference game. They used to play each other every year for like 70 plus years.

So, I mean, it's crazy that they've never seen, you know, either 1-0 or anything like that. So I'm trying to figure out a way to be able to keep up with this game Friday evening because I'll be calling high school football. So I got to kind of have them both going on at the same time, which is pretty much impossible. Well, you can catch the first half, baby, on the radio. Well, now I'll be here.

You can listen to Stan Cotton. On your way, you can't just teleport. I'm sure you're going to be driving somewhere. It's East Forsythe. It's five minutes down the street.

I'm trying to think of every way. 7.30 kickoff time. That's at least the first half. Yeah, I'll get a little bit of an idea. And then a halftime report.

You can figure things out. During the East Forsythe broadcast, I'm sure there will be a way to just sneak in there. By the way.

By the way. In Winston-Salem. Elsewhere in the Triad. Wake Forest. That's not a bad idea. Is leading North Carolina. Just a thought. Yeah.

Some two cents to throw in there. But yeah, these teams don't play each other. I think Justin Sternad is the only player who has played against North Carolina. When you consider the rotation and how long it's been since these two teams have played. Dave Clawson was talking about that at his press conference a few hours ago.

And he's adamant. He wants to see North Carolina more. The game is huge and we know that, but it's just a weird rivalry. Because your rivals, it just seems like you should play them every year. And we certainly would be in favor of some type of setup that we get to play Carolina Duke and NC State every year.

That would be our preference. I think some people are criticizing us for playing this game. But we don't care. This is a game that we want, our fans want, our alumni want. Their fans, their alumni, games like this are good for college football.

Couldn't agree with him more. The loss of this rivalry is a casualty of conference realignment. Selfishly, we want these games to be played.

Locally, that's something that we want because of the history. You mentioned how long these two teams have been facing each other. It's the oldest rivalry in North Carolina. But it feels strange to call it a rivalry because they only play each other on the ACC cycle once every six years. With Wake being in the Atlantic and North Carolina being in the Coastal. But when you look at there being 14 teams, there's no feasible way to make it happen unless you play nine conference games.

And you're allotted a second team you play cross division every year. I know this is something that weighs on John Swafford, the ACC commissioner. He's somebody who really appreciates the history of the league.

And there's no secret. North Carolina guy went to North Carolina. So this is something I'm sure matters to him. But a decision to have more teams in the league and to sacrifice some of these games you believe should be played. It's a decision for the better of the league. You might say, oh, the league's worse off with North Carolina not facing Wake Forest. John Swafford would come back likely with without Syracuse and Pittsburgh and Miami and Virginia Tech. There's no ACC network. We don't have a very lucrative TV contract with ESPN and ABC, if not for us reaching those markets, Boston College. Without those programs, the ACC network likely does not exist, which means you're going to be sacrificing millions upon millions of dollars each year and falling behind in the arms race of college athletics if you don't expand. So Wake Forest and North Carolina over the long term, even if they're playing each other, would be worse off competitively, if not for expansion.

So whenever you make decisions, you've got to evaluate the pros and the cons. And John Swafford likely did this with anything that happened when expansion was so prevalent five or six years ago. And even if he saw Wake Forest not playing North Carolina as a potential casualty, that just being an example here, he did it for the better of the week.

And it is something that you could say objectively has been better for the week. Now that the ACC network has launched and it looks like it's going to be successful, considering where the subscriber base is right at its launch. You are listening to Sports Hub Triad. The Drive is broadcast live in the law offices of Timothy D. Wellborn Studios. Learn about all the different ways Tim Wellborn can help you online at, a tremendous sponsor of the program, The Drive being broadcast live in the law offices of Timothy D. Wellborn Studios.

You'll know when you need us. Coming up, what separates the New Orleans Saints from the Panthers? Keep it here on The Drive. This is the Sports Hub at AM 600 AM 920. Now back to The Drive with Josh Graham. You'll be hard pressed to find a better NFL football game than the Texans and Saints last night. That finish, two scoring drives in the last 55 seconds of the game.

I thought the finish exemplified why the New Orleans Saints are going to win the NFC South again. Because what Drew Brees did, getting the ball at less than 30 seconds left, one timeout remaining. Only three other quarterbacks in the sport could have executed what Brees did last night. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson.

Those four quarterbacks are the only four I feel like are capable to do what Brees did and make it look as easy as number nine did. Cam Newton could not. Not as polished as a thrower and he's not the type of guy who's more... He's not as on time with his passes as some of those other surgical in-the-pocket passers that I just mentioned.

Also, he's not as good as the time manager. Now Cam Newton's a great quarterback. He's going to be a Hall of Fame quarterback in my mind. But let's not say just because you're a Hall of Fame quarterback that you're somebody who is great at everything.

That you're the greatest of an era. The quarterbacks I just mentioned, maybe Sands, Russell Wilson, the greatest quarterbacks of this era. Brady, Rodgers, Drew Brees. Guys that you know when you get the ball, there's no amount of time that is too little for those guys to engineer some magic. Experience is everything there. Drew Brees, he's the one that gets all the credit.

But I had to go back and look this up. Jeff Fisher, he was coaching forever. Marvin Lewis was with the Bengals since 2003, despite the fact they didn't win any playoff games. They made a change this past offseason. But aside from Bill Belichick, who was hired in 2000 by the Patriots, do you know who's the longest tenured coach in the NFL? It's Sean Payton.

He was hired in 2006. And it just has become second nature, the relationship Payton and Brees have. Late in games, they don't get frazzled.

And in that spot, when stunning developments happen and happen in secession. One, Houston getting the football down by six. Deshaun Watson in two plays, finding DeAndre Hopkins on the sideline, then hitting recently acquired Kenny Stills for the touchdown.

That's already a shocking development that you have to mentally adjust to. Oh my goodness, they scored. I gotta get the ball back.

But that wasn't the only shocking thing that happened in that sequence. Then you have the missed field goal. It's elation for five seconds until you see the dirty laundry and realize, oh goodness, we roughed the kicker. Then he makes the kick.

So you have to process all of that while also realizing the task at hand. Hey, there's less than 30 seconds left. This game's not over.

We can score here. So the experience for a quarterback, I think is appropriately covered. And I mentioned Brady, Rogers, Wilson, Brees. Those are the four guys I feel like in this league that can accomplish that with regularity.

Sean Payton, though, from a coaching perspective, the things he did. Choosing not to use a timeout, rushing to the line a few times. Getting down to six seconds.

Romeo Crenell is getting hammered today. Defensive coordinator for the Texans. Because the defense looked bad on film. But go back and watch the play. There's four receivers running what seemed to be button hooks or sideline patterns. It was like a two by two formation. Two wide receivers left, two on the right. Three of the four receivers were covered. Covered and there was no throw to be made. Drew Brees, whether it was pre-snap or as things were developing, he recognized who the open receiver was going to be.

He identified that very quickly. You get it? The ball with six seconds left, you throw it and you down it with two call timeout. That's about as well as you can execute it. So I think it's a little bit too much to just look at the pre-snap formation and think, Romeo Crenell, the hell you doing? As if we understand defensive football that well. But go back and look at the play. You find how many receivers are open running very similar patterns than the guy who caught the ball in the slot. They were all covered. Drew Brees, pre-snap, it seemed, recognized the right guy to get the ball to.

Yes, sir? I mean, I'm not going to sit here and act like I know more than a defensive coordinator that's won Super Bowls like Romeo Crenell. But they had like five or six guys, like 15 plus yards away from the line of scrimmage. They only needed like six or seven to get a field goal range. He was the only receiver I think that had a cushion more than nine yards away. But that, I mean, that basically put that receiver in a one-on-one type situation. It did. And he had separation and Drew knew where to go to get the field goal. He found the right guy.

Yeah. But that's more on Drew Brees than I think it's a complete detriment to Romeo Crenell. But Sean Payton deserves a lot of credit today, too. It wasn't just the drive, Will Lutz hitting that field goal.

How long do you think that's good from? It was about halfway up the uprights. Oh, dude. Sixty-four? Oh, no, it looked like he barely got it through. You see the side angle of it that they showed at the end of the game?

It came through like right above the crossbar. It was probably good for, well, how long was that field goal? Fifty-eight. It was his career high.

He might have got, he maybe might have got 60. The pass rush was awesome for the Saints last night. Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, they will be the attention getters. Alvin Kamara, running out of the backfield and going straight up seams, making catches. He was good last night.

But the pass rush, I thought, was almost a bigger story than the finish. The way they got to Houston and Houston, how much they gave up to bolster this offensive line and it just didn't really work last night. So Houston has to go back to the drawing board a little bit. And earlier today, I think I saw they made a signing, signing a center, didn't they?

Houston, check this very quickly for me. I think it was a three-year contract. I don't know if it was completely confirmed, but it was a rumor that was out there, Houston making a signing at center earlier today.

But it just didn't work right there. And even though Houston was getting hammered and specifically Deshaun Watson, he was still making great throws, the touchdown being a perfect example of that. Yeah, so the Texans signed or they extended their starting center, Nick Martin, with a three-year extension worth $33 million. So they just extended. Yeah, $18 million guaranteed. Other than the touchdown pass to Kenny Stills, I almost felt Watson.

He was somebody that it was starting to get to him. I didn't think Houston would be able to engineer what they did, especially as quickly as they did. But good on Deshaun Watson for doing so. They look like a playoff team as well. Friday night, it's Wake Forest in North Carolina, massive game in the triad, massive game for the Surratt family. North Carolina kids, Sage and Chazz Surratt, Chazz Surratt playing quarterback for the Tar Heels, flipping the linebacker, leading the team in tackles in the opening win against South Carolina Sage Surratt.

He just looks very good. And have you noticed Stan Cotton on the broadcast? He's opened up the rat patrol. When Sage Surratt gets a big time catch, it's the rat patrol.

Got to keep an eye on. But there was no bigger thrill for me personally and my athletic playing career, which was short, granted, than playing my brother. See, my brother, I think when I went into high school, he went to a different school. I was in like a public charter in Wake Forest, North Carolina, north of Raleigh.

And my brother, since I think our residence was across the Wake County line, we were in Franklin County. He decided because of how good the soccer program was at that particular high school to play there. And as fate would have it, our high schools just played each other. And my brother, he's a better soccer player than I was. He's two years older than me. There wasn't anything I can remember looking forward to more, being more excited about, than playing against my brother Jordan in a high school competitive sport, playing in soccer.

And his team whacked stars. We lost six to nothing. But one of my prized possessions I have is a photo. And back then I was rocking like a buzz cut regularly. I was a buzz cut kid pretty much my entire young life.

Thank you, Mom and Dad. I was going up for a header. And it's just a photo of me and my brother playing competitively against each other at the high school level, going up for a header. That's high school sports.

This is college and high level college. Rivalry game, Wake Forest, North Carolina, a game that might be sold out, should be sold out at BB&T and Field. And I guess it's fitting that they're playing each other on Friday night, considering they're both North Carolina high school kids. But it's also rare that they're playing two different positions, Sage playing wide receiver, Chaz playing linebacker, which means they're going to be on the field at the same time. And Chaz told me after North Carolina beat South Carolina that he's looking forward to that game.

Looking forward to playing Sage. And he says if he gets an opportunity, he might lower the boom for his brother. Oh, you know that's going down. They've probably been talking about that since the schedules came out. They're both great athletes. I expect there to be some kind of hit.

But if you have any stories you care to share about sibling competitiveness and maybe facing siblings in a sport, 3-3-6-7-7-7-1-600 on Twitter at sportsuptryit. Yes, sir. Can you think of any quarterback at college or pro level that you would be comfortable playing linebacker?

Cam Newton. Yeah. I mean, 6'5", 240. Yeah. Sounds about right.

I'd have no problem with that. It's just strange to go to that position. Usually they'll put a quarterback at wide receiver or skills position.

But linebacker? That's kind of crazy. They're actually out there putting in work. Speaking of putting in work, the folks at Pie Guy's Pizza have been putting in work for us. They gave us our own pizza, for God's sake. It is the Grand Slam pizza. Buffalo chicken, bacon on top of a Texas Pete base. It is a wonderful pizza that they're still serving.

And the reason they're still serving it is because people are buying it and they like it. Little bit of kick. It's what we're all about here. But if that's not enough kick for you or if you want to try a different pie and maybe get some spice elsewhere, the buffalo wings are really good. I love their sandwiches. The Moravian sugarcane pie.

I've been talking about this the last month or so. I'm going to go on record here. Say it's the best dessert anywhere you can find in the triad. Best dessert I've had at a restaurant.

And if you're saying I'm wrong, go try it and then tell me I'm wrong. The Moravian sugarcane pie. Lewisville-Clements Road. Right off of Lewisville-Clements Road you can find the Kinnaman Village Commons. And inside the Kinnaman Village Commons is Pie Guy's Pizza.

Order online at for quicker service. Up next. My concern with Cam Newton for Thursday night.

And it has very little to do with his arm. This is the drive. Stay tuned now for... This is... Countdown Commenced. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

I would like to introduce to you at this time... The Sports Hub at AM600 AM920. Now back to the drive with Josh Graham. Carolina Panthers beat writer Brendan Marks now joining us from the Charlotte Observer.

Quick turnaround. The Panthers losing 30 to 27 to the Rams Sunday. It's the Buccaneers on Thursday night football in Charlotte.

We spent a lot of time on Wake Forest, North Carolina on Friday. What a week it is in terms of putting in the national spotlight football in this area. Brendan, I understand you had a chance to talk to Cam Newton today. Usually he speaks on Wednesdays but it is a compressed week.

Gerald McCoy is getting prepared for his former team as well. What stood out to you from what Cam had to say earlier today? Well Josh, Cam was definitely in a good mood today when he was talking with us. And I think one of the things that people obviously are still wondering about as far as his game is concerned is... Can Cam Newton throw the deep ball? And after getting a couple of questions about that very topic, you know, he was asked... Are you starting to get tired of those questions? And Cam pretty bluntly responded... Yeah, because you're only asking me about my shoulder. And then he said something that I thought was pretty interesting and especially fiery, considering the way that I think people are making Cam out to be. He said, how about this? Why don't you talk to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator? You ask him if he thinks I can throw for 20 yards and if not, let's see how that goes for them.

How about that? So I think that just sort of shows the sort of fun Cam has. How he's getting frustrated continually having to answer questions about his shoulder. You know, I think after one week, obviously, it's probably a bit of an overreaction for people to keep asking them. But, you know, until we see that deep ball, those questions are going to persist.

But his fieryness is definitely interesting to that. Funny enough, I find myself a little bit more interested in his foot than his shoulder after the first game. He only ran it three times. And if you look at the last five years, Brendan, the number of times Cam has rushed fewer than three times, you'll only find three instances in a five-year stretch that that's happened. Only one of those runs was a designed quarterback run.

And that happened just at the start of the fourth quarter. What do we know about the status of Cam Newton's foot? Yeah, I mean, Cam Newton hasn't been listed on any injury reports since the start of the season.

He hasn't been listed on the injury report for two weeks now since he did get back to practicing when he returned from having that little foot spring. I'm not entirely sure that that's the reason why there was a deficiency of run plays for Cam. I mean, the reason this team has gone out and gotten Christian McCaffrey is to take some of the load off of Cam running. And, you know, if Cam is going to play and have a longevity to his career, and that's something that he does want to have, if he's going to be around in Carolina for the next four, five, six-plus years, it means that he's got to take better care of his body. And he's doing things internally to do that.

He's gone to a vegan diet. But on top of that, the team around him has to protect him more. They're not going to be calling his number 25 times a game to run anymore. I understand that people want to see Cam run, and obviously that's what makes him such a dynamic player. But I wouldn't be surprised at all if you see his rushing attempts start to tick down. I mean, the team at some point does have to think about Cam's long-term future.

The trick is making sure that you're not sacrificing the press for that. Follow Brendan Marks on Twitter, at Brendan R. Marks, read his stuff, and The Observer online at I know I'm probably in the minority of this, but I didn't really view Sunday as that negative of a result for Carolina, considering when you look at the problem areas from last year, most notably the offensive line and the defensive pass rush, I thought Brian Burns was very active. They got hurries on Jared Goff, the secondary, looked to improve a new defensive scheme. And offensively, you got the middle of your offensive line, which is pretty new and inexperienced. Greg Van Roten, I know, got snaps last year, but Greg Van Roten is paired there with Matt Paradis against Aaron Donald. And Aaron Donald essentially was a non-factor for most of the game, which I consider to be a big win for the offensive line.

They seem to be improved, those problem areas. Am I crazy for thinking Sunday wasn't the most negative result, even though it is a one being put in the loss column? Josh, there are a number of things I think I could call you crazy for, brother, but that opinion is certainly not one of them. I sort of view that game the same way that you do. And holistically, truthfully, I think the Panthers had a really good opportunity to win that game. I don't think that the Rams play all that impressively, and people are going to point to Cam again. Cam not throwing the deep ball and giving up some runs, especially in the second half of the game. And those are sort of the things that Ron Rivera has harped on this week.

But overall, I agree with you. I mean, the two-time reigning defensive player of the year, Aaron Donald, had what, one sack? I mean, the team effectively schemed him out of the game.

And as far as all of the Rams' high-flying passing attack, Jared Goff had 186 yards in an interception, and a couple of others that were dropped to add on to that. So I think that the team sort of looks at that game as we let one get away almost, rather than, man, we were thoroughly beaten. And I think that sort of reflected in the atmosphere around the locker room, both on Sunday and the past few days.

There was not a lot of despair. I mean, last year when this team went on a seven-game losing streak, you walked in that locker room, and it felt like somebody had just lost a family member or something. But it didn't feel like that at all on Sunday. It felt like, OK, we know we screwed up. We knew we let one get out of our hands and get away from us. We're not going to let that happen again.

We know we're better than that. And I think that should be encouraging for Panthers fans. On a housekeeping note, Greg Little is the rookie offensive lineman the Panthers drafted, and I understand he was a participant at practice today. He still hasn't been cleared in the concussion protocol yet. But if he is cleared, when he is cleared, how soon before Ron Rivera wants to see him on the field? Yeah, you know, I asked Ron scientifically, I said, you know, with this being a short week, would you want to rush Greg back into practice, or would you rather just be cautious and give him time off?

Basically, Ron's answer was, we're going to be cautious of the guy. But if he is cleared, he has about one or two more steps in the protocol Rivera set. If he is cleared, there's a possibility that he could be in uniform on Thursday against the Bucks. So I think you're not going to see a situation where Greg Little comes out, and he's taking a starting spot away from someone. Darrell Williams and Taylor Moon pretty much have those tackle spots on lockdown, as do Trey Turner and Greg Van Rorton at guard. But I do think that the team would like to get him on the field as something of a swing tackle. They really don't have a lot of depth to tackle beyond him, and he's someone they want to start to get game experience so that down the road he is prepared for a starting job. That's sort of the trajectory and the route that they took with Darrell Williams and Taylor Moon.

When they were rookies and young players, they'd like to follow the same formula with Greg Little and hope that eventually he can become one of those bookends and hopefully ensure a little more longevity for Cam's career. Prior to this year, Gerald McCoy spent his entire career as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and he was cut late in the offseason because the Nagnomican Sioux was signed with the Bucks, and they decided, hey, we don't have to take on this cash if we don't want to. Let's cut the guy, and it likely cost Gerald McCoy a couple million dollars considering that teams were mostly booked up with their cap at that point in the spring. But the Panthers were able to make things work and fit him in. Torrey Smith, who's no longer with the team anymore, restructured his contract at the time.

Luke Kuechly had things restructured too with where he got some of his guaranteed money, and they were able to work in Gerald McCoy to their picture salary cap-wise. Now he's facing his former team this week. How's he viewing this opportunity?

What's he saying? You know, there was sort of a big swarm around Gerald today in the locker room, and obviously you can understand why everybody wants to know how he's approaching this game. Are you approaching it as Steve Smith when he came back to Carolina with the Ravens, where there's going to be blood and guts, or is this a situation where, you know, it is what it is, it's a rivalry game, whatever, whatever. And Gerald basically came to the point of saying, I'm trying not to make this bigger than it needs to be. I obviously played in Tampa for nine years.

My legacy there sort of speaks for itself in terms of what I was able to accomplish individually. He even told us today that he plans on retiring a Buccaneer. He's already basically got that worked out, regardless of where he plays after this or what he accomplishes there. So obviously you can see how much Tampa Bay means to him. And the thing that I thought was most interesting was Gerald said he's gotten overhyped for a game once in his career before.

And he jumped offside three times and all of a sudden take himself out of the game because he was playing so bad. He doesn't want to turn this into a bigger deal than it has to be because those are the sorts of things that can happen. You get in your own head.

You create pressure that's not there. Basically what Gerald said is, we have 14 more games after this one. So I go out and play great this week and like garbage for the next 14. No one's going to care what I did in week two. So the biggest thing for him is trying to fit into the defensive rotation overall, not make this a bigger deal than it has to be. Although I'm sure if he were able to pick off Jamis Winston or sack him a couple of times, he would have something extra to smile about, I'm sure. It's Panthers beat writer Brendan Marks on Twitter at Brendan R. Marks.

Read his stuff in The Observer, Brendan, I'll see you Thursday. Thanks for doing this, buddy. Yes, sir.

Looking forward to seeing you. Yep, you got it. That's Brendan Marks. And he was referencing Steve Smith's game he played against the Panthers. That game was in Baltimore in 2014. That's the last time I went to a game in Baltimore. I grew up in Baltimore. I've been to, jeez, how many of the Panthers Ravens games have I been to?

They play every four years. I was there in 2018 last year, of course, in Charlotte. I was there when Steve Smith beat the Panthers, almost single-handedly with three touchdowns. What was funny is Panther fans were reacting to that game, saying, ah, if we were going to lose, I'm glad it was Steve Smith making us pay. Yeah, I hate that. Right?

No, no, no. Panther fans are like, you know what? We still hate that the team got rid of Steve Smith. So if Steve Smith was the one doing it, it gives us an opportunity to continue yelling at Gettleman because, hey, you let that guy go and look what he did. If we were going to lose that game, it's better that it's him. That was the mindset I remember after that day. Hey, if we're going to lose to the Ravens, if Steve Smith had no catches and we still lost by that score, that stings more than we still like that guy, and that guy did well. And it was good that he was able to stick it to the guy who we were mad at for letting you go. If I recall, that was Steve Smith's best game that season, too.

Oh, yeah. One of the best games of his career. Three touchdowns. 2010. 2010, oddly enough, was all Ravens fans in Charlotte. It was the Claussen year and such, but that game single-handedly allowed, I think it sealed, the Panthers drafting a guy named Cam Newton with the number one pick. I do remember it was actually not Jimmy Claussen. It was the UPS driver, Brian St. Pierre, who came in and the Panthers were in it. Devon Geddes with touchdowns, David Geddes, excuse me. It was 21-13, a one possession game in the fourth quarter, and the Panthers had the ball. Back-to-back possessions, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis pick sixes. That 2010 Panthers team is by far the hardest Panther team I've had to watch. 2001 would argue. Even that one was like, you got to a point where it was like, you just didn't even watch the games. And then 2006, I was in Baltimore. That's the last one I went to.

The first one, I mean. It was Steve McNair getting knocked out by Julius Peppers, Kyle Buller throwing three touchdowns, but Steve Smith did enough to win the game. So, yes, a little bit of history with the Ravens and the Panthers. You are listening to WSJS, Winston-Salem, WCOG, Greensboro, WPC in Burlington, WMFR, High Point. The signal's making up the sports I'm trying. Usually on Monday or Tuesday, our ACC rankings go up. 1 through 14,

You can find that. My rankings are there. Our early afternoon host David Glenn's rankings are there. Brian Geisinger as well from, ranking ACC teams 1 through 14.

And I usually like when we have DG on once a week at this time to look at some of the discrepancies that might be there between what DG has and what I have. And we all pretty much were in agreement the first few weeks that Syracuse was the number two team in the ACC. They get rolled by Maryland. And I happen to believe Maryland's a good football team. They lost their coach from last year because of the death of Jordan McNair.

And that just inflamed DJ Durkin. And Maryland rolled the Syracuse last week as a favorite. You have Syracuse DG dropped all the way to number nine. I still have them right at the same spot as Wake Forest. And I just simply ask myself, if they played each other tomorrow, who would I pick? And I still would take the orange over Wake Forest at this present moment.

What was your thinking? Well, there's a couple layers to it. Number one, I've been high on Wake Forest and been saying all summer long that if I had to pick who's going to be the best FBS team in the state, I actually think the Demon Deacons, while not a popular pick, are my pick.

And so I'm higher on the Deacs than most. With Syracuse, it wasn't, of course it was mainly getting blown out at Maryland. But when you give up that many points, something is fundamentally wrong.

And when you can score only 20 offensively against Liberty, something is also wrong. So it's really two straight weeks of alarm bells for the orange, even though they have a one and one record. And meanwhile, it's two straight weeks of good football for the Demon Deacons. And Syracuse has to prove that they're going to handle this transition from their veteran QB Eric Dungy to Tommy DeVito, who hasn't played great yet. And they have to prove that last year's 10-win season under Dino Babers was the real Syracuse, rather than the first two teams we saw at Syracuse under Dino Babers, which were bad football teams.

So there's reason for doubt, but I will add this. Once you get past the two teams that many of us picked to win the divisions in the ACC, Clemson and Virginia, it's wide open because some people have Miami at 14 because they're 0-2, and that's not a bad 0-2 football team. And others are excited about their 2-0, but the Wolfpack hasn't beaten anybody at 2-0 yet.

UNC won two single possession games and could easily beat either 0-2 or 2-0. So whether it's slotting Syracuse or one of these other teams, man, we are splitting hairs when it comes to anybody not named Clemson or UVA. Like you, I was high on Wake Forest from the very start, too.

I picked them third in the Atlantic in the preseason. I thought they were going to win eight games this year, and they don't get to eight if they don't beat North Carolina. I think that Wake Forest is a better team than North Carolina right now. Dave Clawson's in his sixth year.

It's all his guys. He has the more experienced quarterback who's putting up great numbers in Jamie Newman. And I also think there's a bigger chip for Wake Forest. They're at home, but I think this is a game that they've circled in a way that North Carolina hasn't, with North Carolina having the home opener against Miami everyone was looking forward to and playing in an NFL venue. I think the Deeks are gunning for the Heels in a way. The Heels aren't gunning for the Deeks. How big of a game do you view this to be Friday, and do you think it could help alter national perception when it comes to Wake Forest?

I think it's a really big deal for a couple different reasons. Number one, from the Carolina perspective, Mac Brown has said repeatedly on the record, and heck, I remember him essentially creating the phrase state championship back in the early 90s when he was the Tar Heels head coach the first time, and he would say occasionally, and he even said it since he rejoined Carolina, it's hard to convince the recruits you want most in-state to come to your school if you can't beat your in-state rivals consistently. That doesn't mean beating them every single time, but after dominating NC State or Duke, for example, for long stretches of history, you know, those shoes have been on the other foot at times with David Cutcliffe at Duke and Dave Doran at NC State, and whereas they don't play Wake Forest every year the way they once did because they're in opposite divisions, the point remains the same.

I mean, they don't regularly see each other on the recruiting trail. I mean, it's not all 25 guys, but there's going to be a half a dozen or so that both teams want every year, and they're paying attention to games like this. So for Carolina to get where it wants to go, a bowl or better, they need to win a game like this. And I believe from the Wake perspective, Josh, I think this can be Dave Clawson's best team there, period. We all know he's gone to three straight bowls and won three straight bowls, and that's the first kind of statement you can make in the history of Wake Forest football. But to get to, say, nine wins or even have a chance to get to that level, this is another one of those that the Deacs have to win, because, you know, Clemson and some other tougher games are on the schedule.

So I think it's big for local and regional purposes, and I think it's big from the national perspective, because the winner is going to be a candidate to be in the national top 25 rankings, and the loser is going to be more of an afterthought, not in our eyes maybe, but certainly in the eyes of the poll voters. It's our early afternoon host, David Glenn, with us. Listen to The David Glenn Show, noon to three right here on Sports Hub Triad. You mentioned how irregularly these two teams face each other. This is a non-conference game on Friday night. Dave Claussen was talking about that a little bit earlier today, and he's somebody who wants to see something change and maybe find a way for Wake Forest to play North Carolina a little more.

Here's what Dave Claussen had to say. The game is huge, and we know that, but it's just a weird rivalry, because your rivals, you know, it just seems like you should play them every year, and we certainly would be in favor of some type of setup that we get to play Carolina Duke and NC State every year. That would be our preference. I think some people are criticizing us for playing this game, but we don't care. This is a game that we want, our fans want, our alumni want. Their fans, their alumni, games like this are good for college football. So obviously this is something you sacrifice with conference expansion and realignment, getting to a place where the ACC has 14 schools and making things tough to play teams across from different divisions. But obviously the thing that's been brought up today and has been brought up for a while now with as many teams as the ACC is the idea of playing nine conference games to allow for something like this. Would you be in favor of that if it meant more North Carolina-Wake Forest? I don't have a strong opinion on it either way. I'm one of those that I say listen to the fan basis, right?

The customer isn't always right as that old saying goes, but you better listen to your customers if you're smart. I love when Wake plays Carolina selfishly, but I do understand why on the rare occasions that some of our teams have been in the national profile that they don't want to play, they don't want to have nine of their 12 games handed to them. They like the flexibility of the four-game, non-conference schedule because that flexibility can allow more home games for you if that's your style.

It can allow you to schedule up. If you think you have a special team and you want to add a really difficult non-conference game, you can do that. Or maybe you have a new coach or you're in rebuilding mode, and those four games allow you some flexibility to schedule down if you need to. They allow you flexibility to schedule opponents in parts of the country beyond our state where maybe you'd like to recruit and you'd like to play a non-conference game. So as an athletic director, I'd like the flexibility. As the coach, I'd like the flexibility.

As a media member, I love when the Deacons play the Tar Heels. So I think it's one of those things where each conference has to make this decision for itself. The coaches have their perspective, the ADs have their perspective, and the fans' voices should be heard.

I'm okay with the current system. Even as you said, realignment has watered down a lot of these rivalries. I know how important the TV money that the realignment led to is in the bigger picture. So everything is a tradeoff in life, and sometimes you give away a little bit in rivalries when you open your arms to that bigger TV money.

So I'd say let the fans be heard, but let's remember that we don't live in a vacuum. What the TV powers want and what these athletic directors want also are big factors in this equation. David Glenn with us, and he's on the go on weekends. He was in Chapel Hill with the big tailgate tour on Saturday. I was hanging out in Chapel Hill as well, and what I learned is, D.G., he's a lefty. He's been talking about this on the air. This guy's accurate.

He's still got the wing when it's going. It is accurate, and he throws it straight through the tire toss almost every single time. Every meaningful throw, D.G., you're completing it. You looked like Drew Brees in the final 30 seconds of last night's game. I am Jamie Newman and Sam Howell-like with my accuracy with the football. I just don't have large athletic human beings running at me as I win prizes for listeners. Jamie and Sam have that issue this Friday night.

I don't have that issue on big tailgate tour stops, and I'm very thankful that I don't. D.G., be vigilant. Stay safe. Greenville, America is awaiting you this weekend, as the Pirates face. Actually, where are you headed this weekend? I'm going to be at ECU's game in 80 this weekend. We have, how about this for a wrinkle, an open week. Ah, you're going to be in Greenville next weekend.

Correct. I'll be in Greenville next week. We have 14 games, but it's over, excuse me, 12 games, but over 14 weeks.

So we're kind of like a college football team. We get an open week or two sprinkled in. All right, you need the extra week to prepare for Greenville, America, and that's how that works. Rest that left shoulder, right?

That's right. I'm going to be in, I'm going to be watching East Carolina this weekend. I'm going to be going to Annapolis.

Four games in four days for yours truly, D.G. How are you spending your open week? I'm actually helping my son Anthony with some challenges he's dealing with at ECU. And unfortunately, my soccer-playing daughter Avery has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, which comes with a whole sort of sports, a whole spate of sports medicine challenges. So we're cleaning up some Glen family messes with my open week, as I will get to watch, you know, Deke's Tar Heels and other college football.

And, you know, the Panthers' home opener, the Panthers' second game, I should say, maybe their first win this Thursday. But, yeah, there's some messing up, there's some mess up to clean up for the extended Glen family. It's super radio host and super dad David Glenn on Twitter, at DavidGlennShow. Listen, noon to three, right here on Sports Up Tryout. D.G., thanks for spending time with us. It's always appreciated. Thanks, Josh. Always fun, bud. Take care. I'm David Glenn.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-10 01:56:35 / 2023-02-10 02:17:53 / 21

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