He's amused Cam Newton. He's been insulted by Charles Barkley. When some idiot in the press asked him, if you know what you know now, would you schedule this game? He's interviewed Matthew McConaughey. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taken the wind out of my face. It's time for The Drive with Josh Graham.
We made it to a Friday Drive. You are listening to WSJS NewsDonk Sports for the Triad, where in order for us to not open the show today with a topic that isn't NFL Conference Championship Weekend, or even still fall out to the Carolina Panthers hiring Frank Reich, it better be a massive story. Billy Packer passing away at 82 years old yesterday certainly qualifies as one of those types of stories. Billy's reach was so great, and so many people loved him. But I'd venture to say there isn't an area where Billy Packer's name resonates more than right here in the Triad. He was a Winston-Salem institution, a champion, a historian for ACC basketball, and a sports television icon. He was all of those things. He lived an incredible life. Across sports, no announcer was more connected to a championship event than Billy Packer was to the Final Four.
Think about that. In terms of a championship event, the Super Bowl, the World Series, fill in the blank, no announcer was more closely connected to a championship event, his name, his voice, than Billy Packer was to the Final Four. Thirty-four straight Final Fours he called for NBC, for CBS. Think about that connection to history. That first Final Four that he did in 1975, John Wooden was coaching on the sideline.
The last one was 2008 with Derrick Rose and Tyler Hansborough and Russell Westbrook and John Calipari and Roy Williams. That connection to history, that's what he was. Jim Nance was by his side for half of those Final Fours that he called with CBS and this is how Jim reflected on Billy's career on CBS this morning. I think Billy will go down in history as one of the greatest analysts in the history of sports television. I think that when you start looking at the pantheon of great analysts, you've got John Madden and you got Billy Packer and you start right there. He blessed this network for a long time from 1982 until he retired in 2008. One of my dearest friends spent a restless night thinking of the family, the Packer family, which I'm very close to.
I got to speak to Billy the day before he died and tell him I loved him. I don't know, he was a genius. There was no one who could just look at the field, in this case, look at the court and see everything and he's going to be very much missed. But he loved college basketball and he looked after it as a guardian of his sport.
That's a good way to put it. He loved college basketball. He protected college basketball. When you think of Billy Packer, you don't think of the NBA.
You don't think of other aspects of basketball. You think of college hoops and you think about as well the Atlantic Coast Conference. He was a mouthpiece for the sport. He was an ambassador for it. He was a mouthpiece for the conference. He was a historian for it.
These are not overstatements from Packer and Packer to Jefferson Pilot to Raycom and all these other things, CBS, NBC, all these networks. Nobody in the media space did more for college basketball historically than Billy Packer did. Dick Vitale might be in that conversation, but the ACC was built on the shoulders of men like Billy Packer because unlike say Dick Vitale, this isn't meant to be a slide at all, Billy Packer was also an outstanding player in the league. Winston-Salem was Billy Packer's home. He played at Wake Forest.
He excelled. 61 years ago, he was Bones McKinney's point guard leading Wake Forest to their one and only Final Four. Going back in time as well, UCLA was in that Final Four. John Wooden still had not won a national championship at that point and Wake Forest beat UCLA in the third place game. They had a third place game at that time. That's a connection to history too. He was almost a Duke Blue Devil though. I'm so glad they put out the tournament documentary series last year and Billy was a central part of it.
This is one of my favorite stories from that series. I always knew from the ninth grade on I was going to Duke and other people were recruiting me also and Wake Forest happened to be one of them, but I didn't know why and I had no interest in Wake Forest. But I visited places because it was fun to do. This has been gone on for a while so my father says, you've known since you're in ninth grade where you want to go to school, call them up and tell them you're coming. I said, why don't you call them if you're that interested?
So my father calls and he talks to the coaches. I said, okay, well that's settled. He said, no, they're going to let you know in a couple of weeks.
They're trying to decide between you and a kid from Minnesota. I said, well, call them back. And he said, no, no, they just, we just had that conversation. I said, no, call them back and tell them to take the kid from Minnesota because I'm going to Wake Forest. And he said, what are you talking about?
I said, well, I know Wake Forest plays Duke and we'll see who can play better. And that's how I ended up going to Wake Forest with Bone. That's outstanding. Billy Packer, dead at 82 years old. If you have thoughts on him on Twitter at WSJS radio, 336-777-1600 is the phone number. Will Dalton, the executive producer of this show. WDS excited for NFL championship weekend. His Cincinnati Bengals, who he's been on all year long.
That's right. Are you a Bengals fan? No, I'm not a, I'm not a Bengals fan. Given how often you post about Joe Burrow and such. Yeah, Joe Scheisty.
Still never heard that before. You can listen to both conference championship games on WSJS on Sunday. And pretty clearly the two top quarterbacks of the weekend are going head to head with each other, with respect to Jalen Hurts. And that makes Chiefs-Bingles the marquee game.
A game that Nance is going to be calling for CBS in Kansas City. It feels like everybody's on Cincy. Look what Joe Burrow did on the road last week. Look what happened last year. Look what he's done to the Chiefs the last three times. What about Pat Mahomes' ankle? The world is on the Bengals. And if nobody else is wanting to take the Chiefs, I will. Because I think Patrick Mahomes is going to remind everybody who he is, which is the best quarterback in the sport. I think he's going to outplay Joe Burrow and Kansas City is going to advance to the Super Bowl. And this isn't just based on a gut feeling.
This isn't just me fading the public. The Bengals are pretty weak on the back end of their defense. They're saying, they're secondary. They allow more passing yards than Kansas City does. Kansas City gets lit up for having a terrible pass defense. Well, Cincinnati's has been worse this year. 24th in the National Football League.
Watch out, Eli Apple. Cincinnati is also fourth last in the league in sacks. They don't sack the quarterback a ton. Meanwhile, unless there's another snowstorm, the Chiefs pass rush should be able to get to Joe Burrow.
That's a piece of last Sunday that I think was lost. Boomer Esiason was the only one on that CBS set that picked Cincinnati and everybody pooh-poohed it as, oh, he's just a Bengals homer. But the point he made as he was selecting Cincinnati was, the fact that it's snowing is really going to help Cincinnati because where the snow hurts most is a pass rush. Getting traction and traction to rush the passer. So it really helped those Cincinnati offensive linemen that were not used to playing in that spot. They had 3-0 linemen out that those edge rushers weren't going to be able to pin their ears back the same way.
It doesn't look like we're going to have to deal with the snowstorm in Kansas City Sunday. And also, Buffalo's pass rush, I think, was 12th in sacks. Kansas City is third in the sport in sacks. Frank Clark and others, they're going to have no issue getting to the passer and getting to Joe Burrow.
And I think that's going to make a big difference because Cincinnati's offensive line is still banged up. Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the sport. I'd take him over anybody. Some of the people are talking down to him as if he's not that. Oh, you know, like Joe Burrow, if he beats him, he might be better than Patrick Mahomes is. Oh, there's question who the MVP is, even though the numbers seem pretty clear to me.
I think he's going to shut up a lot of people. Plus, Kansas City's at home. They've got the better coach.
Give me the Bengals or give me the Chiefs to beat the Bengals Sunday afternoon. Odds are, if you're listening to my voice right now, you know Billy Packer, the TV announcer who passed away today at 82 years old. If you're a Wake Forest fan, you probably know, or a hardcore ACC fan, you probably remember the fact he went to Wake Forest. And if you're really good, you remember the fact that he was on Wake Forest's only Final Four team in 1962.
Bones McKinney's group going that far 61 years ago. But he was a Winston-Salem guy for decades after he got done playing at Wake Forest. It's where Mark Packer grew up.
Mark's been on this show talking about that many times. And so has Billy. And a lot of people are thinking about the Packer family today after losing the great Billy Packer we learned yesterday. We're being joined now by Wake Forest coaching legend Dave Odom to talk about Billy Packer's legacy.
And let's start with Billy Packer, the player coach. And your time's always appreciated because, correct me if I'm wrong, you were playing Guilford at the same time Billy was playing for Bones at Wake, right? I was. He was a couple of years ahead of me.
But you're exactly right. I was on the Guilford basketball team. And we were trying to find our way over there at that time. And Billy was over here flourishing under Bones McKinney with a great, great, great group of basketball players. Ironically part of my time, a good portion of my time at Guilford, I was coached by Jerry Steele. And Jerry Steele was a teammate of Billy's on the team that went to that Final Four that you made mention of just a minute ago. So, you know, these things are all interwoven.
And they're very much a part of each other. But Billy will remain. People here went to Salem, you know, they claimed Billy as their own, which they should. I mean, he was here for a long, long time.
And I think primarily out in the Clemens area, but still in this area in the Foreside County. But he was, he was quite the person. He really was. Did you guys ever get a chance to play each other? I remember when I met Coach Odom, Billy, and it was actually at an event that Earl the Pearl Monroe was at, the great Winston-Salem State player who obviously had a great NBA career as well. And Earl said that all the hoopers here in the Triad, especially at that time, seemed to know each other and play pickup basketball games and such. Did you ever cross pass in that kind of way with Billy?
One time in one of the summer games, and you're exactly right, it was informal pickup games at either Guilford's gym, Wake's gym, or Winston-Salem State's gym. And it was, it was quite a, I was a little bit out of my element that particular night because Earl Monroe was there and there were several others that were just a little bit above my athletic ability. Billy hung in there pretty good with it that night. But I'll tell you, it was, it was, it was a fun time. And you know, there would be as many as two, 300 people in the stands watching because they knew it was going to happen.
And it was totally legal to do that back in those days. So it was, it was an experience and one that none of us would ever forget and certainly one that we would all appreciate. Dave Odom's with us here on WSJS. How far would you be willing to go in describing the influence and the impact the influence and the impact Billy Packer had, not just on ACC basketball, but college basketball at large? You're in that world. You were in that world for so long. Billy Packer's impact and influence.
How would you describe it? Well, in a statement, Josh, I would say Billy Packer was one of the real giants back in the day. You know, I don't know what it's been 30 years since he was in his heyday, but he was a giant. When Billy spoke, people listened. What'd he say? Oh, Billy Packer said that. Then it, then it was true.
It was gospel. Because he studied the game the way it was played. And by the way, I don't think he would like what he sees today, but he studied the game itself, how it was played, but he also studied the off-the-court things that were going on that affected the game. So when you, when you wanted to know what the giants were talking about, those that had tremendous influence on the way the game was being developed or played, Billy Packer was at the top of the list. He was one that you would call.
Now, what you might not get is an answer. He might not be forthcoming to tell you exactly what he thought until he got to know you a little bit better. But he, I tell you, he, he really, really understood the elements and the rudiments of the game itself. I mean, he could, he could break down a pick and roll offense and a pick and roll defense. He knew all of that, but more than that, he knew people and he knew, you know, where the game was headed. I would also say to you, Josh, you know, back in the 80s and the 90s, in my mind, those, that, those were the years where the ACC flourished the most for sure. I mean, and I use the word giants on Billy.
You could also use them on coaches during that period. You know, Terry Holland was a giant. Dean Smith was a giant. Mike Krzyzewski was a giant. Bobby Kremens and I mean, Gary, Gary Williams. All of these people really helped develop the game of basketball at the, in the ACC as a, as a conference.
But when you mention all of those guys, you would be an era. If you didn't mention Billy Packer and Gene Corrigan was another giant. The former commissioner of the ACC, all of those people came along and I was very, very fortunate to be part of it back in those days. So many stories, but the end and the end result, you know, the Jim Valvanos of the world had a great bearing on where that league, the development of the league and where it was headed. I think I've heard Billy before talk about how the Corrigans were the first family of the ACC, but if there was a second family to that, might very well be the Packers, considering the influence that Billy had on the ACC.
I mean, Billy was the guy that Billy has and now what Mark's doing, trying to carry the torch for the network as well. Being joined right now by Dave Odom, Wake Forest coaching legend. Your early years at Wake, did, did you ever, I know publicly he was the consummate professional in wanting to do his job, but did you feel that support as I think it took three or four years for you to hit your first 20 season at Wake?
Well, and I'm going to be very honest with you. I had been on the job at Wake Forest in 1989, about three months, and I was still trying to catch up, you know, just touch all the right bases. And one day I was in my office and I decided I'm going to call Billy. I mean, I know Billy, but I hadn't really touched base with him since I've been here.
And I'm an era. I should have done that. I mean, you know, I'm a head coach at Wake Forest now, and Billy's one of the great, legendary graduates of our basketball program.
I should have done that. And so I called him and we had a nice conversation at the very end. I said, Billy, listen, I want you to know, you're always welcome to come in and watch a practice or certain end of our games, you know, that you're not doing, you just want to come and and be a spectator and support it. I want you to know where I'd always be a pleasure to have you. He said, David, I appreciate you letting me know that. He said, but I'll never come. I said, really? Why?
He said, well, in my position as a commentator now, I've got to remain a measure of objectivity. And by coming over to watch Wake Forest practice, that means I've got to go to Clemson. I've got to go to North Carolina.
I've got to go to Virginia. And he named them all. And he said, I just don't have the time to do that. And I don't want anybody to say that I'm favoring Wake Forest just because I was a graduate and I played there, which that tells you so much about him. And I, at the time, I was very, very disappointed that he wouldn't, he wouldn't come. But at the same time, as time wore on, I understood exactly why he took that stance. So, you know, he did try to be fair to everybody. And, you know, the ACC meant everything to Billy. He was here as a player and then a coach a year or so there. And then on into the broadcasting where he was kind of oversaw all of the problems, including Wake Forest at the time.
So he's right. The Corrigan family, Gene Corrigan, was the family that really gave the ACC direction. But I would say Billy was a close second. Being joined here by Dave Odom. While I've got you, got to ask you about the fact that tomorrow, Wake Forest playing NC State, they're going to be honoring the great Carl Tacy, who you spent some time with. What should Carl Tacy's place be in Wake Forest history as someone yourself that has such a prominent place in it? Carl Tacy was the man. We used to call him the man. The man's coming in. The man will be back because he was the man.
And I say that and nothing except a bowl full of admiration. He gave me my first job at the collegiate level. And I've never I've never been around a man who was quieter, but yet got more done. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He knew exactly what he wanted his team to look like.
And he quietly went about getting it done. I'll never forget the first recruiting trip I went on. I sat down with Coach Tacy the day before I left.
It was in late August, early September 1976, I think. And I sat down and I said, Coach, I got one question for you. I said, what is it? I said, what kind of player do you want me to bring in to Wake Forest? And he looked me dead in the eye. He said, listen very carefully. Don't ever bring me anybody in here that can't shoot the ball. That was very direct. And I've never forgotten that as long as I live.
I think I violated it one time. And the kid that came in that couldn't shoot the ball was out of there after one semester. I won't tell you who that was.
I will not. Yeah, but he was very specific in what he did. He was very loyal to his staff and his players, but they were also loyal to him. What have you thought about what you've seen from Steve Forbes rebuilding things the last year or so? Oh my goodness, he's done a great job.
Who could say otherwise? You guys in the media, you got to love him. He's available and he's funny. He's a lot like you and Skip, a bit of a throwback.
We appreciate it. He's interesting, but yeah, he's had a couple of tough losses. Wednesday night at Pitt was a difficult game to lose, but he's got one that you can kind of make up for it tomorrow here at the Joel.
I think he will. North Carolina State is a much improved basketball team. They're very talented, but so is Wake Forest.
I think Wake Forest could beat anybody in the league on any given night. So I'm very impressed what Coach Forbes has done. He and his staff and players, and they're going to continue to get better and I hope that Deacon Faithful will all show up tomorrow and get there on time. Tomorrow is a day where they're going to honor the person, Carl Casey, and you know the old thing of it's been way too late in coming.
It's certainly true with him because he was there way back in the mid-70s and here it is 2023. So it's way too late in coming, but we're going to enjoy it tomorrow because there'll be a lot of his former players back as well as staff and fans. So it's going to be a good day in the Joel and hopefully the Deacons can top that off with a win. They had 12,700 and something last week against Virginia. I'd imagine they have another huge crowd tomorrow.
It's great to see energy back in that place and it's great to hear your voice. Before we hang out, let's salute the students. Finally, I don't know what they did, giving them ice cream or maybe all of them on NILs.
Yeah, it's not a bad idea to get the students on NIL. Whatever the heck it is, somebody did the right thing. Shout out to those students for showing up and I suspect they'll do so again. Dave, if you're out there, I'd love to see you. If not, we'll talk sometime soon. Thanks so much for making the time. My pleasure, Josh.
Anytime. Give me a call. To share more of the details with us about Frank Reich's hire in Charlotte, Darren Gant will join us in about 15 minutes.
You heard that a second ago, though. Your cue to call in and win. 336-777-1600 if you want to go see the Thunderbirds play tomorrow night. It already looks like the lines are flooding and we've got a winner there. Speaking of the NFL, though, I think we've got a blowout on our hands in the NFC Championship game. I'm going against the grain in picking the Chiefs to beat the Bengals, even though the Chiefs are technically a favorite. I think the Eagles are going to steamroll the 49ers Sunday. That might not be a popular opinion, too, but Philadelphia strikes me as the type of team that can feed Kyle Shanahan some of his own medicine. Beat Kyle Shanahan at his own game. What Shanahan's offense does, facing Kyle Shanahan's offense, is so tough.
It's so demoralizing because he just has multiple guys. He's going to run the football right at you and then run right at you again. And again.
And again. Debo Samuel and then figuring out ways to give George Kittle the ball in space. Now Christian McCaffrey. Even some of the quarterback runs that we've seen with Brock Purdy. Philadelphia's offense is better suited at playing that way than even San Francisco is. And the reason that is, Philadelphia has the best offensive line in the National Football League. So I suspect they're going to be the ones running it down San Francisco's throat and then working some of that play action in successfully. And you're going to find downfield AJ Brown open for a few big plays.
And Philadelphia is going to be able to drop a number on the Niners. I don't see that happening the other way. Brock Purdy has not had the back to reality game yet. This almost reminds me of the Georgia TCU National Championship game.
I don't know, TCU's got all this, they beat Michigan and watch out, you know. They haven't, they look like they can compete. They haven't, they've looked the part.
Well, until they don't. And this seems like the spot where Brock Purdy is going to have the rookie performance. Because in addition to having the best offensive line in the league, WD, the Eagles also have the best defensive line. They lead the league in sacks. They have dudes all over the place. They had dudes all over the place going into the year and they still draft Jordan Davis out of Georgia. They got guys everywhere.
So I suspect Brock Purdy is not going to be so comfortable. You and I, we did an exercise before the show where we looked at this win streak that's San Francisco has been on, and then we tried to count how many of those, how many of the teams they've played were top five, top six, top seven in sacks this year. Like penetration, like looking at the top D lines in the sport. And you see a lot of Arizona Cardinals, Raiders, you know, Seattle Seahawks, who aren't bad.
You see a lot of those. What you don't see a lot of are teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and teams that are awesome at getting to your quarterback. The closest thing to that was Dallas. And don't know if you noticed, but San Francisco didn't do a lot of scoring in that game. Didn't even hit the 20-point mark. I don't think San Francisco is going to score 20 in this game. And I think Philly is going to exceed 30 points. So give me the Eagles by more than two touchdowns, they're going to win big. This is the 2017 Eagles all over again. Not just because it's the same team, different coach, many different players, but because that Eagles team is the one only Super Bowl team I can remember in the last dozen years, let's say. Maybe even further than that, that had the best offensive line and the best defensive line in the NFL on the same roster. That 2017 Eagles team had that. And I think this team has it, and they just have better quarterback play. What we're seeing right now with the Eagles are what the 2017 Eagles would have looked like if Carson Wentz didn't get hurt. That's what we're seeing.
He was having an MVP season. Jalen Hurts did get hurt, might be out long enough in order to cost him an NFL MVP, but I think he's still going to win the Super Bowl. The Eagles were my pick going into the playoffs. I had them beating Kansas City. So I'm going to stick with that. Eagles, Kansas City this weekend, I think the Eagles win in a rout.
Send me that cash out, family. Might sound like a bit of a bummer that we're talking about blowouts on conference championship weekend. It might bum you out to think we only have three football games left until we get to August. Sorry to bring that up. It's true, but Josh, isn't it Friday? Aren't you supposed to be trying to cheer us up? You're right. So now I think we need to do a service to the triad by playing weekly positivity. Oh, yeah. Yeah.
As far as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. Hi, Will. Hi, Josh. If anybody wants to call in and tell us something good, 336-777-1600 is the phone number. It can be sports related.
Maybe it won't be sports related. Either way, that's good with us. Yeah. Tonight is a Costco night. Friday night. Oh, it's so good. Gotta gas up. Get some gas. And get a hot dog.
You know. Or are you going to get a chicken bake this time? No chance I'm going to get the chicken.
All right. Usually if I'm varying it, if I'm going to throw the off speed, it's not the hot dog that I get. It's not the chicken bake. I mean, it's the pepperoni pizza. Get the slice of pizza, maybe. That might be the move. Might even get myself an ice cream sundae.
Wow. My buddy did that when we went to Costco last weekend. What time is it? What's the best time to go to Costco? Because when I go at six thirty, it's perfect. There aren't a lot of people there.
There's no line at the Winston-Salem location. But Sarah Bradford tells me she no longer even thinks about going on the weekends. I usually go on Sundays. I hear it's brutal to go on Sundays. It is, but it's really the only time that I get to go.
Why? Because I'm busy. But you can't go after you get off work? I suppose I could. I just choose not to.
That's that's what it is. Well, not only that, but usually when I get my groceries, it's on Sunday because it's the end of the week. So that's you're such a procrastinator. Why don't you just pick other dimes more convenient? Because that's when I need to get my groceries to start the week. Why? Because that's just my system. Why can't your week just start on Thursday and then you have your entire week starting from that point?
Because that would just mess everything up. I know, but think differently than the commoner who's all going on Sunday like you are. And they have samples on Sundays.
They have samples at other times too. During the week? Yes. Who's on the line? Bill and Hi-Point. Hey, Bill, tell me something good.
Bill, today I started my car and the check engine light went off. Wow. How long?
Wow, that's what I said. How long had it been on? Oh, for a while. How worried are you when the check engine light comes on? Like my wife gets super worried.
I never worry when it's on. I just keep driving with it. Well, I have a good friend that's my mechanic. And when it was a rocker arm problem, I'm going like, oh, God, they're going to have to take the whole head off the engine.
And then I started it up today and it was gone. I said, OK, wonderful. Do I even need to guess what radio station turned on when your car turned on?
WSJS, every radio in my house. Outstanding. That's great stuff.
Thanks for the call. That makes us feel good. WD, tell me something good. I learned something.
You know, I'm getting very excited about the championship weekend and I learned something oddly enough about Joe Burrow. What's that? He plays the Star Wars video game that I really like. What game is that? Star Wars Battlefront. How many different Star Wars video games are out there?
Oh, plenty. But this is one of the newer ones in the last handful of years. And he plays it right now. All athletes do play. All athletes do play video games. But he plays that one. That's good.
And that's been Weekly Positivity. That is pretty cool. I thought so. Places, everyone.
Come on, places, please. We're ready. Get your morning off to a great start with Jeffrey Griffin on Triad today.
Weekday mornings at seven. Now back to the drive with Josh Graham, our friend Darren Gant from Panthers.com joins the show Pro Football Hall of Fame voter Frank Reich, the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers. The reaction from a lot of the local public. Some of the sports radio callers, the tweeters, the fans that are around here, mostly negative from Panther fans who wanted to see Steve Wilks get the job, or at least see Wilks over hiring Frank Reich. Nationally speaking, a lot of the reaction's been almost unanimously positive that the Panthers, already great on defense, haven't had a top 10 offense since 2015, since the Super Bowl season.
This makes a lot of sense to try and get that fixed. Darren, what reaction have you found more interesting, the national perspective or where your feet are, what you've heard locally? Well, one of the things I've been saying a lot for the last 24 hours or so is multiple things can be true at the same time. I think there are a lot of people both in Charlotte and around the country who were hoping to see Steve Wilks in this job. We've talked already about the job Steve did over the last 12 weeks, taking over a bad situation and making it a good one.
So that aside, you've got to kind of set that over here for a second. You can also believe that Frank Reich is a good hire and a reasonable hire for a team that in 28 years has never had anybody from that side of the ball as head coach. I mean, from Don Capers to George Seifert to John Fox to Ron Rivera to Matt Ruhle, just never had anybody and include Perry Fuel and Steve Wilks in that conversation as well. So you can believe that Steve did a good job and deserved a shot and also believe that it makes sense to go with a Frank Reich and he's not a bad thing. I think the one thing I believe, and there's probably a lot of raw emotions around this right now, too, my suspicion is the people who liked Steve Wilks will like Steve or will like Frank Reich for a lot of the same reasons. In hindsight, do you think if Steve Wilks won the Tampa game, he's the head coach of the Panthers right now? Hard to say.
I mean, there's there's one guy in this building who knows that and it ain't the guy in this cubicle. So I think it would have certainly been better. He would have had a better opportunity.
But, you know, and again, if J.C. Horn doesn't break his wrist against the lines and he's out there to knock down a pass in front of Mike Evans, I mean, a bunch of different things could happen. But I do think it's it's pretty clear that if you just look at the list of interviewed candidates, Dave Tepper was curious to see what an offensive coach would sound like, would look like, would think about the personnel on hand and that kind of thing. I mean, if you just go through the list of interviews, it was basically Steve and the seven offensive people and Sean Payton. You know, I mean, it's just that's the way this thing seemed to be leaning from the start, I suppose.
What do you know about that search process that most people might not know or might not be able to appreciate? The one thing I think that stands out about this process and think what you will of the result, the process was so different this time. I mean, Matt Rule was hired in a hurry. He he was announced as head coach on January 7th.
That was about three weeks earlier than Frank Reich was announced yesterday. And and I think that makes a huge difference because after, you know, you could say they were sold by Matt Rule or that Matt Rule convinced them in a hurry. And it was kind of an emotional reaction. This was a very studied process. They were deliberate. They took their time. They talked to people multiple times. And listen, they talked to a bunch of people who were not on that, quote unquote, interview list. They were a bunch of calls in terms of background and the stuff you're trying to do to find out about all these candidates. So they have done a ton, a ton of legwork to make sure they could get to this place as thoroughly and properly and well researched. I think I just made up a word as it possibly could.
Darren Gant with us here. How much do the interviews that the Panthers did already for defensive coordinator candidates make you feel like there's a chance by the time even we hear from Reich on Tuesday, there might be some serious headway in terms of finding coordinators? Possible.
Possible. I mean, they're working on that kind of stuff as we speak and trying to line up guys. And that was a big part of the interview process with Frank was who you bring with you and what's that staff going to look like? And I think when you see some of the names that have been out there, I mean, guys like Vic Fangio, Chris Richard, Marquand Manuel, I mean, those Gus Bradley, those are high level guys. Those are guys who have been coordinators, if not head coaches in other places. And there are no restrictions on Gus Bradley to interview given there's some degree of contract, you know, and that would have to be resolved between Gus Bradley and the Colts, I suppose. But, you know, they're working on that thing and they are and I don't mean Gus specifically, but they're working on that staff as we speak. They'll they'll meet with some of the existing coaches probably first of the week, some of the incumbent guys. And I think there'll be a couple of them probably retain. There's some certainly quality guys on that staff that any coach would have been interested. I'm thinking about James Camp and Chris Tabor in particular.
I mean, but that's a thing that's happening as we speak all weekend. We didn't get a chance to talk about this, Darren. Darren Gant's with us here because there were games and a coaching search and all this. But I found Scott Fitterer after the season ending to be pretty illuminating, pretty interesting when talking about quarterback specifically, where he said last year, oh, yeah, you know, we're trying to have a team that looks pretty good to have a young quarterback come in here. He says, we feel like with our roster, we can take swings that we haven't been able to take before. And much of the reaction I hear since Carolina's had a competitive football team already and one that could win the NFC South as soon as next year.
All right. Well, what quarterback can you just throw in there right now? Like Derek Carr or Jimmy G? And all I could think was, well, you have all this draft capital, you're picking in the top 10 and you have a coach who's probably sick of bringing in retread quarterbacks and an organization who might be tired of that idea as well, given the last few years. Do you think that it's more likely that Carolina might be more aggressive in the draft than they would be aggressive on the free agent market? Well, free agent market comes first, so that's that's something that will have to be sorted. And if they aren't aggressive in the free agent market, that certainly points them in a direction, doesn't it?
By having a month between those two things or five plus weeks, you know, you'll have a pretty good idea of the direction. But I think in a perfect world, everybody would like to draft one and groom them for a couple of years at a time and get off that rat wheel. You know, they would like to do that.
That might not be something you're able to do. And one of the things that I think is going to be interesting as these this group of people gets to know each other. Scott Fitterer has sat with Frank Reich a couple of times now in a couple of interviews and had some background talks and stuff like that. But they haven't really got on the board and said, OK, I like this guy because X, Y, Z. I prefer this guy because ABC then really had an opportunity to do a lot of that stuff yet. So this thing, this is going to be an evolving thing over the next couple of weeks, I think. You know, but that's a long way of saying, sure, you'd probably prefer to have a young cheap win on a rookie contract, especially if he was super talented. But I think I think what you're seeing in the playoffs with Brock Perry maybe makes people think differently about the quarterback position. And, you know, would you be better served turning some free agent dollars and the night pick in the draft to a big time receiver prospect or a tight end who can actually get down the field and make some plays? And then you can fill in with a quarterback who's not a, quote unquote, first round prospect. I mean, guys like, you know, hidden hooker out there, guys like Max Duggan, guys like, you know, just a number of prospects who are not young and Stroud and Levis and those kind of guys you hear about in the first round. So I think it'll be interesting to see how this thing develops.
But I think in a vacuum, what would you prefer to do? You'd prefer to have a young cheap win. Darren Gant with us here from Panthers.com.
You mentioned Brock Purdy. Any read on the two championship games this weekend? Oh, man, I could be an idiot and I deliberately try to stay out of the business of picking individual games. But I said about the 1st of December and then again going into the playoffs, I don't see the team that's absolutely going to beat the 49ers and I don't care who's at quarterback.
Wow. I felt that I thought you were setting that off to say the Eagles. See, that's how I feel about the Eagles. No, I mean, I don't.
I and again, maybe I'm an idiot. Maybe I'm completely wrong about the Philadelphia Eagles and maybe it's just my personality and maybe it's what I like in football. But the 49ers play blunt force trauma football. They beat you up on both sides of the ball. I mean, when Trent Williams is maybe your 4th or 5th most talented player, that's a great roster. Let me ask you this. Who is an impact offensive player?
And I love watching him play. Who has a better O-line D-line combo, you think, between Philly and San Francisco? Because that is the element of this game that intrigues me the most.
Trench Warfare at its finest. Right. I mean, again, I kind of spoiled it a second ago by blabbering, but I love what the 49ers put together and I love philosophically. They've taken a roster and said, yeah, we're not sure who the quarterback is.
We won't fix everything else. You know, we might not have a quote unquote franchise quarterback, but we got one of these and one of those and three of these and four of those guys and targets that I mean, how do you cover Debo and Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle running across the middle of the field, catching balls off his face? I mean, it's just it's an impossible matchup to me. And I like what Philadelphia has done. It's intriguing to me. They're certainly talented. It's a deep roster, too.
But I just think San Francisco is the most physical team left in this bracket. Darren, it's good to see you and I hope to see you sometime soon. Thanks for doing this behind me.
I think there's like furniture being moved and people wandering back and forth. So I will we'll talk to you sometime soon. Thanks again. Congrats on the good work, man. W.D., before we keep it simple, there is a game I don't think North Carolina fans have still forgiven Billy Packer about. The first producer I've had here, I had here at WSJS, was my friend Desmond Johnson, who any time I mentioned Billy Packer would just wince in pain because of this call.
And he's not alone. I know a ton of Carolina fans who still will not say good things about Billy Packer. Haven't noticed a lot of Carolina fans saying nice things about Billy Packer today, other than North Carolina's official Twitter account, what they put out. And a lot of it has to go back to the final, final four he worked, where he had this call 13 minutes into the game against Kansas.
This is the call for a three by I forget who hit it, but it put Kansas in front by 26 with seven and a half left to go in the half. Rush way outside through. Of course, of course. This game is over. Yes, it is. Wow.
It's outstanding. Carolina fans still do not like Billy Packer to this day. This game is over. It makes me laugh every time I hear it.
Fifth grade me was losing it. Not because of Carolina fans feeling pain, not because of that at all. Sincerely, it's because of the way Billy Packer just threw that in there.
And then you hear incredulity from the voice of Jim Nance. It is. This game is over.
It's like, there's only one way to spell that over and Billy Packer's saying matter of factly. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. That's it. Yeah, Jim.
James. Over. This game is over. It's over. It still makes me laugh.
It does. Because the game was not over. North Carolina, didn't they make that competitive in the second half? I want to say they made that a close game. They tried to, but they never got back into that game.
Can you imagine? Believe me, I was hopeful. Can you imagine if that's how it ended for Billy Packer?
Yeah, I'm looking at it right now. It's like a five point game with five minutes left to go. This game is over.
Yeah, Billy Packer might have gone into retirement because of shame. Oh yeah, I said a game was over. With seven and a half minutes left to go in the first half.
Yeah, I'm looking at the highlights right now. Carolina made that competitive in the final ten minutes of that game. Carolina fans, they were in a all up in their fields W.D.
that week because I'm well aware. They lose the game, but then they get mad at Roy Williams who stuck around and he wore the Kansas sticker on Monday night. This game is over. RIP to the legend Billy Packer. You said that's the most painful Carolina loss you've experienced.
I think so. It's the one that stands out. That one in the Austin River shot.
This is how I know people are full of bleep when it comes to the redemption stuff. Oh, we have unfinished business when it comes to this season and all. It should be this Kansas loss, the one last year that hurts more than any other. But Carolina fans can't even say that with a straight face because they were so happy they beat Duke. You know what it was?
No, no, no. Well, for me, it's because that year they were so dominant and then they got blown off the floor. Well, it's the age long question in sports. Is it worse? Is it more painful to know the game is over in the first half of it? It was just seeing them down like that. Or is it worse to get hit in the head at the buzzer by Austin Rivers or to blow a 16 point lead to Kansas? I don't know which one hurts worse, to be honest.
Like those are the two that stand out to me in my entire life, but I don't I don't remember which one I was most upset about. I don't know. Just imagine the Super Bowl. And 15 minutes in this year is over. You've got to have. Cajones, you've got to have job security, you've got to be comfortable. You've got to know this is the end of the line for me anyway.
This job is over if you get that one. And we say this out of love. We love Billy Packer.
Even though Carolina fans still haven't forgiven them for that. Now, let's keep it simple. Five words or less.
That's all Josh gets to tell you where your favorite teams are. It's as marvelous and as simple as that. Let's keep it simple. OK. You're going to throw some topics at me recap in the week of the most efficient way possible. Five words or less. You know the drill.
Before that, we get a dance break in here. Boston College. EA Sports.
It's in the game. The ultimate Nickelback is Bronson Arroyo. We had a problem.
You know what I mean? He's gone and we couldn't do nothing about it. There goes Colin Shocker. You better get that counting crows drop ready to go again because I just got one name to throw your way. Chuck Finley.
I have so many sounds open on my board. I can't even find it. I'm sorry. Get me on the spot. This is me still stalling for you right now in case you're thinking where I'm moving off of getting some of these obscure 90s baseball players. That's more like it.
How about Kenny Lofton? First topic. Ref shaming. Oh, boy. I feel like the viral Britney Spears video. Early YouTube. Mid 2000s. Please leave the referees alone. Oh, that's 90s. We've established this, WD.
Understand the bit. Leave the referees alone, please. There's no greater pet peeve than complaining about the refs.
In WD, it's become every single game. The losing team. It's just the referees. Wake Forest loses the pit. It's the referees. It's Roger Ayers calling a charge against Cam Hildreth that was clearly a block and now that's completely changed the game.
And get ready. Tomorrow, whoever loses between Wake Forest and NC State, this is a hot take I have, WD. Gonna be complaining about the refs.
NC State and North Carolina. Both fans, fan bases. We're mad at the refs. It's lazy. It's not smart. It makes you look dumb and it makes sports a whole lot less fun to talk about when you scapegoat the referees.
The refs are fine. Don't cherry pick examples. Don't bring up stat disparities without the proper context. Armando. That guy's legacy.
Mmm. Most popular heal since Hansboro. I think that's true. B-Dot took it a step further, man. Top five popular tar heel ever?
I would not have gone there. B-Dot did. But. When you break the rebounding record and a 60 year old double doubles record and you extinguish Coach K the way that he did last year. The role he played in doing that and he stuck around four years in an era where guys don't. Yeah, you're going to be really high up there on the list with respect to Joel Berry and Theo Pinson and Marcus Page and all that. I think it is Armando Baker.
Armando. Mel Kiper's mock draft 1.0. Worst case scenario for Carolina because he had C.J. Stroud going first.
Can't have that if you want to try and trade up to number three hypothetically and still get your guy. You know, Houston's going to take a quarterback there and if Stroud's off the board. Haven't really seen many people arguing Levis over Bryce Young.
I have seen people arguing Levis over C.J. Stroud. So that would be a bad scenario. I don't want Carolina to take Will Levis, please, please. Or Anthony Richardson, certainly. It's Young or Stroud. Those are the two guys that you want.
Hopefully you can get them at three by moving up. Otherwise, figure out a way to get to the number one pick. Godfather off for the Chicago Bears. Couple of college basketball games to get it to.
Wake. Pitt. Toughest loss of the year. That's one of those losses that if Wake narrowly misses the tournament like they did last year. Oh, you look at the game where you missed two free throws down to in the final 45 seconds and missed a three that could have won the game.
Tip your cap to Pittsburgh. Eighteen threes. They were fantastic. They were deserving. But Wake shot 50 percent in the game, had a shot to win it. It was a quad one game and just fell just short. It felt a lot like the Duke game on the road to Cameron last year. NC State Notre Dame.
The PAX style isn't sustainable. They were out rebounded by a Notre Dame team that's not so big. They don't play an ounce of defense. They're having to score 80 plus points a game and have to play to Quavion Smith 39 minutes a few days after he was backboarded off of the floor.
Right. That's a little bit concerning. And it does remind me again, a lot like Wake Forest last year. So I'm intrigued to see what they play like tomorrow in Winston-Salem.
And then the big news of the week. Frank Reich hired his next head coach, the Carolina Panthers. Unimaginative, but a good hire. Unimaginative doesn't mean that it's bad news for Carolina.
Safe doesn't mean that Carolina isn't trying to win, for example. It almost seems like fans want to be entertained by the hire itself. It's less about what the product's going to look like in September.
That's still months away. Well, I want the entertaining press release that I can put on my Facebook and Twitter talking about Sean Payton being the guy. And Frank Reich's not nearly as exciting. We love Steve Wilks and watching him play and win or watch him coach the last few months. So we wanted him to stick around.
I would have been fine if they hired Wilks, but it doesn't mean that Frank Reich's a bad hire. That's been Keep It Simple. One more dance break.
Look at this photograph. Got the new Amsterdam. Give me that cash up, man. Fried chicken and beer.
I think that's bejeebies. Hey Eric, I'm Joe. For me, the action is the truth. Why so serious? I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown. I abuse you. One more name to throw out there, W.D. Catch her, Terry Steinbach.
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