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Carolina Panthers HC Frank Reich Interview (2-2-23)

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February 2, 2023 6:43 pm

Carolina Panthers HC Frank Reich Interview (2-2-23)

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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February 2, 2023 6:43 pm

Frank Reich joined the show to discuss whether or not he misses Maryland being in the ACC, what went wrong with the Colts, and his ties to Greensboro.

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Some know our next guest as being the man who led the greatest playoff comeback in NFL history.

But real ones know. Especially around here in ACC country. Him as the man that led the greatest ACC comeback. As the quarterback of Maryland once upon a time.

It's the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Frank Reich. Coach, other than the day you were introduced a couple days back, I'm interested in what your days have been looking like trying to put a staff together. How many interviews a day are you doing?

Are they all virtual? So you're not at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, but obviously it's about when you get the staff together. It's going to be that time to start looking at scouting and trying to figure out what you're going to do with the draft. So after you were fired last year, how much college football did you watch? More than usual?

A little bit more, a little bit more, but not a ton more. Like you said, there's so much time to, you know, there's so much more time to dive into it and to do a, you know, really a thorough evaluation of not only watching tape, but doing interviews with guys and talking to guys. But obviously I did try to catch a few games here and there, you know, looking at key prospects. Ron Rivera called it a blessing in disguise in his first press conference as the head coach of Washington a few years ago that he was fired during the season. It gave him some time to decompress. He felt like if he was fired after the year, he probably would have taken a full season off. Do you feel that way at all? That when you were fired, when you were in Indianapolis, it kind of gave you a time to decompress and get ready for the next opportunity? Yeah, there's no question.

I actually, that's funny you said that about Ron. I didn't know that, but I felt the same way. There was plenty of time to decompress and, you know, just kind of think through adjustments. What did I learn? How do we get better?

And be physically and emotionally and mentally ready to go. Definitely feel recharged. You said you kind of view it like an app earlier this week. Frank Reich 2.0, I guess, to hear how you're going to be as a head coach. You talk about the things you try to learn. What's something specific, a regret that you have about the way you handled things last time that you look at this time?

You're going to approach the opportunity differently. Well, there's a couple things. I mean, you know, really one thing is on the staffing issue, you know, just again, getting that right.

And we did get it right the first time around. You know, a lot of those guys ended up going on and getting promotions and jobs other places. But as I had guys leave the staff, the coaches that took their spot were great coaches, but just the chemistry, you got to get the chemistry right. So, you know, that's one big thing. Certainly the other thing is just stability at quarterback. You know, obviously we had a unique situation and circumstances, and I could spell that out in detail.

It would take a few hours. But, you know, so there's some things that were out of our control. But, you know, you learn from that. And so, you know, really you got to come in to really want to dial in our blueprint for stability at quarterback. So those are two examples.

Frank Reichs with us here on WSJS. You mentioned like you lose some assistance and it affects the chemistry of the team moving forward. When you were asked about whether or not you'd be the play caller, you said, I think so, but I want to explore all the other options with assistance. Is that something that you put into the pros column of being the play caller that if you were to lose an assistant, there wouldn't be as much of a concern about chemistry? Well, there's no doubt that that's the assistant. That is a positive of having, you know, an offensive coach who's a play caller. However, you know, since I already have that experience, the other thing is, you know, sometimes in order to get a really good guy as OC who wants to be the play caller, I just think it's important to be open to it depending on who it is and how I would feel about it. So I feel comfortable and confident that, you know, that I'll make the right decision, you know, about that when the time comes as we work through who the coordinator is.

We're getting to know Frank Reich here on WSJS. You're on here in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, across the Triad, outside of the city of Charlotte. I wonder what your level of familiarity is with the state considering your entire family, as you've noted a few times, is in the state. And if memory serves, I don't know if she still lives here anymore. Doesn't one of your daughters have a tie to Greensboro, went to UNCG?

Yes. One daughter lives here in Charlotte. Two of them live in Greensboro. Actually, one of them was in Raleigh, and then she ended up moving to Greensboro. And one daughter did go to UNCG, got her master's there, and then got her PhD there. And, you know, she's a counselor and has a private practice there in Greensboro. And then, like I said, I have another daughter who moved there. So I actually own some property in Greensboro.

Wow. Yeah, I actually own some property in Greensboro and really love the whole state. So we've spent a lot of time in Raleigh, a lot of time in Greensboro, and, of course, most of our time has been spent here in Charlotte. Panthers great Ricky Prohl also calls Greensboro home. I'm sure you know that already, though. I did know that. I know Ricky a little bit, you know, not super well, but, you know, we've crossed paths a number of times.

Yeah, we got Frank Reich with us here on WSJS. And I'm sure you know that the ACC, it's huge around here, as I was kind of noting. You went to Maryland, and I'll admit it, Coach, some ACC fans won't, but I'll admit it.

I still miss the Terps being in the ACC. Do you? Absolutely. I mean, it just still is awkward to me. But, you know, I'm a little bit old school like that. I understand times change.

You got to adapt and adjust. So it's all good, but it doesn't feel the same to me. See, since you were, since it's college basketball season around here, you were in school when Lin Bias and Lefty cut down the nets in 1984. That was their first ACC title in a really long time. Did you ever spend time with the great Lin Bias when you were at Maryland?

Yeah, actually, we did. You know, in the summer, you know, a lot of football players would go to summer school in order to, you know, try to lighten the class, you know, go take a credit or take one or two credits in the summer, or one or two classes in the summer so that you can maybe lighten the class load during the football season. And so we were always down there and a lot of basketball players down there. We used to play some pickup basketball games with those guys and did that with Lin Bias a couple times. So yeah, good memories back then.

Obviously a real tragedy with Lin. You strike me as somebody who doesn't like talking a lot about yourself, so I'll limit it to one more question about you. But there's something that stands out from your resume that I don't see on a lot of coaching resumes. The fact that you had, you got a degree, a Master of Divinity degree from a seminary in Charlotte. Was there ever a time you thought you wouldn't be a coach when you were going to school, going to the seminary in the early 2000s? So, you know, when I was playing football, I always envisioned that I would be coaching. You know, I had some, you know, Bill Polian, the Hall of Famer Bill Polian always told me, Frank, you're going to be a head coach in the NFL one day. So, you know, that was always part of the vision. But as I kind of grew my faith and, you know, I started getting out and speaking a lot.

There's a lot of different men's groups and stuff like that. And then really just it was almost like my football player instinct to want to learn and grow like and learn and grow in the playbook, you know, and so my Christian faith. So I went to seminary and enjoyed it so much.

I just finished the degree. And so, you know, even though I knew I had that coaching bug, you know, I was a little torn. I was a little torn there for a while and was sure, should I go into full time ministry or am I, you know, am I really supposed to go into coaching?

So I did a little both for a little bit and then and really enjoyed it. And I think it made me a better person. I think it made me a better coach. I think it prepared me to be a head coach in some ways.

But ultimately, you know, I think all paths led back to, you know, the calling on my life. I feel is in this arena doing what I do. Any professional will tell you that you are what you are as an employee is a combination of your experiences. You like it's what a lot of college coaches tell me that their favorite athletes are the ones that don't just specialize and choose one sport, play football, play basketball, play baseball. You say that that experience at the seminary helped you become a better coach. What's an example of some of a way that that made you a better football coach?

Well, a couple couple ways. One, so just being a be able to have a deep thinker, you know, going to seminary was doing a lot of, you know, being organized, writing a lot of papers, you know, keeping my mind sharp. And those things all helped. And then, of course, you know, the principles, the biblical principles that I was learning.

You know, these these are, you know, the theology of those is not, oh, this is only on Sundays from, you know, 11 to 12 o'clock. This is life principles, how you live your life in the most productive way. And so I find myself in team meetings and position meetings on the practice field, off the practice field, using many of those principles that I learned and studied in seminary all the time. And then, of course, I actually became the president of the seminary for three years. And that great experience administratively kind of being CEO ish. And so in a head coach role, there was that was great experience, hiring and firing people, that kind of stuff. Frank Reich's with us here.

Let's close with football, bringing it back. How many of the players would you say you've already spoken with already? I know you say you shared the number, your phone number with them just to make sure they have it. But how many have you spoken with and what conversation, if any of them, stands out? Well, I've had, you know, I've had, you know, I won't get into the individual ones just, you know, out of respect for the, you know, those privacy, those private conversations.

Understood. Some of the guys are in town, you know, so I've had several, you know, a handful of personal conversations, you know, and then a bunch of, you know, probably been able to get through about half the team as far as text messaging. And, you know, we'll continue to do that. Like I said these days, you know, I try to doing all this coaching staff stuff and the other media stuff and stuff like that. And then I'll try to take a five minute break here or there, you know, just keep going down the list.

No particular order, but just kind of going down the list and reaching out to guys, make sure they have my number so that as the off season goes on and I call, you know, try to get around to calling everybody, finding out the guys who are in town, getting to meet them. That's kind of the point. Last thing for Frank Reich. Obviously, we learned yesterday that the greatest quarterback perhaps of all time, Tom Brady, retired. I'm sure you're happy to learn he's no longer in your division, right?

Absolutely. I mean, he's the best ever. So, you know, glad he retired. I mean, what an unbelievable career. What an unbelievable player, competitor. I mean, you know, it just seems like there's no way in the history of this game will anybody touch, you know, what he's done. He set the bar high. It's made us all better.

You know, we all admire and respect him and I mean, wow, what a career. Coach, look forward to getting to know you. If you're ever in the area, you're welcome to come on. You know, we're on here in Greensboro and Winston-Salem and congratulations on getting the job. Look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you very much, Josh.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-02 23:01:10 / 2023-02-02 23:06:45 / 6

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