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Pac-12 Caving (Hour 4)

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2023 9:47 pm

Pac-12 Caving (Hour 4)

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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August 3, 2023 9:47 pm

Arizona, Utah & Arizona State reportedly going moving to the Big 12 l News Brief l Xavier Woods, Carolina Panthers safety

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Alrighty, this is Zach Yelp's show on CBS Sports Radio, hour number-hour number four of our radio program, and we got a bunch of news going on in college football. The Big Ten continues to explore Washington and Oregon. It feels like it's not a matter of if they're going to accept just when they are going to accept, and I'm talking about the Big Ten. You know, Washington and Oregon are saying, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty please take us, take us, take us. Because the news that just happened in college football from Pete Thamel is that Arizona is in deep discussions with the Big Twelve about joining the league.

Some finality is expected in the near future as there's an Arizona Board of Regents meeting scheduled for later tonight. And not only that, from the Swame Show as well, you have this other piece of information about Utah, that Utah, according to the Swame Show, is going to accept an invite from Brett Yormark to have it, and they'll end up committing to the Big Twelve tomorrow. Now, before we got on the air, this is not, like, shocking, this is not, oh my goodness gracious, I can't believe what just transpired, because before we got on the air, there was a lot of reports out there that Utah, Arizona, and also Arizona State are seriously considering leaving the Pac-12.

And really, who could blame them? Because you look at the way college football is right now. The SEC, for now, untouchable. Big Ten, for now, untouchable.

And then it was everybody else. Once Texas and Oklahoma said, I'm gonna go and we're gonna leave the Big Twelve and go to the SEC, that meant the Big Ten then needed to knock down some dominoes. And the two dominoes they were able to knock down was USC and UCLA. And I'll give credit to the Big Twelve, because the Big Twelve could have sat on their hands, they could have done nothing, but since they were the first conference in recent memory, to have two big schools poach from them, in Texas and Oklahoma, they could have did the whole, woe is me, we lost our two biggest brands, what are we supposed to do, but they said not so fast. And they made sure to go get an independent in BYU, they went on out to the American Athletic Conference, that was the best conference that's not in the power five, and they said, UCF, we want you. Cincinnati, we want you. Houston, we want you.

And they did a good job in preventing the ship from sinking. And now, they quickly go add Colorado. And now, they're gonna be able to, most likely, add Utah, and Arizona, and Arizona State. So, they didn't get Washington or Oregon, with it looking like Washington or Oregon's gonna go to the Big Ten, but they did a good job picking up the schools from the Pac-12 that were sitting there saying, what's happening to this conference?

And oh yeah, this conference is gonna just go away. Because if Colorado, I know they already had ties to the Big Twelve, they were in the Big Twelve before, but if Colorado, and I know they have Deion Sanders now, and a snap of a finger, can just say, guys, we're gonna get up and we're gonna go to the Big Twelve, why would any other school stay? Because, hickey, if Colorado realized that this conference is in a rough spot and in bad shape, and they said, we were attracted to someone, you know a lot of other schools in the Pac-12, Washington, Oregon, take USC and UCLA out of it because they already bolted and they're already bolting, but the Utahs, and the Arizona, and the Arizona States of this world, they knew that they needed to go find somewhere else. So now this is gonna turn into, the power five is gonna be no more, eventually you will see the Pac-12 fade away, what is it gonna be like four Pac-12 teams anyway? After all this stuff, assuming it goes as according to plan, does play on out the way that we think it's going to be in the crossing T's and dotting I's moments of this, and we're gonna look at college football as really the power four, and there will be other movements throughout the year, and throughout the years, and the Big Ten and the SEC, you bet your ass, are gonna be selected, that's what everyone's missing in this conversation. The Big Ten and the SEC made moves. That does not mean, if you want to leave, that the Big Ten and the SEC is going to take you.

You have to bring something to the conference. You have to be somewhat attractive to the conference. If not, you either stay in the ACC, you stay in the Big 12, or if you're a school in the Pac-12, you gotta go beg that the Big 12 or the ACC are gonna take you. Or, like if you're Stanford or someone, like I see an ad floated out there, maybe they just break off and they become an independent. But what we're seeing now, in the immediate future, this is turning into the power five is no more, and for the foreseeable future, and we'll see how long that is, that this is now the power four in college football, where we know the top two breadwinners are the Big Ten and the SEC, and they're all the way at the top of the food pyramid, and then you bypass a few levels, and then you do have the Big 12 and the ACC together, but now they're at the bottom because it's really only four quadrants that we're looking at here.

And really, even in there, it's still gonna be only two. Like, that's even the shame, but even with now the Pac-12, you know, going down, and the Big 12 seemingly propping up and picking off what's left right now, the Pac-12 Conference and the ACC staying strong, because right now no team can afford to pay out the grant of rights from now until 2036. So even though it is the power four that inevitably is gonna happen after 2023, it's still a gigantic gap between where the Big Ten and the SEC is and the other two power conferences. So even though that, yes, we're seeing one go down, it doesn't exactly strengthen or doesn't exactly help the other two and the ACC and the Big 12 all that much in the sense of trying to make up ground in terms of what the Big Ten and the SEC are pulling down. Sure, and when the college football playoff in a year goes to 12, yes, you will see a lot more SEC and Big Ten teams, but we knew that going in, but you go win the Big 12, you go win the ACC, clearly you're going, and I would think that you should be able, should be able to get another team from the Big 12 and the ACC in a 12-team college football playoff. So there's, you have a seat at the table.

You're not getting the salad first, you're not getting the filet mignon first, you're not getting all the delicious lobster mac and cheese first, but eventually you'll be able to eat and walk away with some food in your tummy hickey. Oh yeah, in terms of college football playoff appearances, absolutely. In terms of winning the conference, absolutely. But when it comes to making the money, which right now is unfortunately, I think, driving a lot of these schools to make their decisions, again, unless you're in one of the top two power dogs right now, you are well behind.

Well behind. And also, totally different sport though, the Big 12 for basketball, they've already been really good. They're getting better, the Big 12. You take a look at some of the things that are going to transpire now, I'm talking about eventually, like, hey, you don't look at the programs that are joining the Big 12 now, and you have this, you know, Arizona is an exception, definitely Arizona State, like if you want to say those two programs are an exception, fine.

But what's going to happen here is there's going to be more changes. And you look around, the Big 12 is already a good college basketball conference, you'll wonder in an inevitable merge maybe of the Big 12 and the ACC, which I do think down the road will happen. Man, for college basketball hickey, that could be really fun, but down the road when you look at the Big 12. Oh absolutely, it's a very deep and I think easily by far soon to be the most powerful basketball conference going forward. It's going to be a lot of fun, very deep league, a hell of a battle trying to win that, good luck to whoever wins the Big 12 regular season title, props to you, but it's going to be a hell of a test. Here's the one thing though, what do you think happens, let's just say, Big 10, which for a while has been trying to get Notre Dame, and according to Pete Thamel, right, Notre Dame, whatever happens today, it's not expected to really shift their opinion. The exact wording of that report was any potential changes in the Big 10 are not expected to impact Notre Dame's view on independence. So until Notre Dame says we're not going to be an independent school, I'll believe they're joining a conference full time in football when I see it. But the Big 10 for a while has been trying to get that Notre Dame, crack the code on Notre Dame, get the Notre Dame domino to fall, and I think the Big 10 realized that's not going to happen, so I do believe that they're going to add Washington and Oregon, but imagine if they stiff Washington and Oregon right now, imagine if they say, we didn't really find you THAT attractive, we're not going to throw you a life saver here, they're going to, that's going to happen, but imagine if something falls through in the 11th hour here, and Washington and Oregon don't end up in the Big 10, that would be crazy. Now, we know what would happen, they would go to the Big 12 because Arizona, Arizona State, and also Utah, it feels inevitable, and it could be happening by the end of the night, we're going to find out those decisions, but that would kind of be crazy if Oregon and Washington are the schools that the Big 10 reject after they've been told, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, as they go flirt with Notre Dame, then Notre Dame rejects them or Notre Dame doesn't have interest, and then, I hate to say it this way, but I'll say it this way, Big 10 that was looking kind of like at Washington and Oregon as if they were sloppy seconds, if then they go, yeah, I'm actually not that interested in you, we're not going to do that. I mean, if you're the Big 10, you are right now in the position of power where you can absolutely afford, it's kind of like right now in a way, NFL teams and running backs where you can afford to kind of jerk them around, you can afford to be patient, you can afford to play hardball, because right now, just like running backs have no other option, can't sit out, can't hold out, not going to go to another team because no one's going to pay you, Oregon and Washington, if you want to slow play this, if you want to say, oh, let us think about it, we're going to give you a massive discount in terms of what other schools are getting, you're not getting the full share that USC and UCLA and other schools like Ohio State and Michigan, you're not getting that either, you can really play hardball, push them around, keep them waiting, because right now, like I said, the only other option is the Big 12, Big 10 is a lot more attractive for Oregon and Washington than the Big 12, so if you're the Big 10, again, you are in a prime power position, and you have no reason to rush this or even cave into any sort of demands or feel like you have to make a decision because whatever's best for you is going to be best going forward. And we knew why the Big 10 really wanted Rutgers, it wasn't for, I know Rutgers has become now a solid basketball program under Steve Peichel, but for football, it's not as if they were ever really desired, and they put a bunch of players in the league, so give them credit, but there's difference putting players in the league and then having a lot of success in college football. Rutgers should be kissing the ground that they have that New Jersey, New York TV media market, and that's what made them attractive, because imagine the Big 10 getting picky with Washington and Oregon, and that's a conference that has Rutgers in it for football. Rutgers, Vanderbilt, like plenty of teams that are saying, boy, good thing I am where I am right now, because if they were on the other side, like I said, they're getting a lot more money for not a lot of good production in those two top dog leagues.

Like Northwestern's lucky they're in Chicago. Yeah. So, you look at that, that's what's going on right now in the college football landscape. Also, so we were talking about this earlier in the week, what the future of college football is going to look like, and Hickey, I don't want to misspeak for you, but you believe ultimately we're going to one 65 team super conference, and they're going to break off and be their own thing, and then it will be the haves and the have nots, is that the right way of saying it? Yes.

Okay. And I said to you, you're going to see the Pac-12 go away, and for some time it will be from five to four inside the power five, and you'll have a bunch of other changes throughout the years, and then eventually it will go to the power three, and we'll have to come up for a new name for that, because the power three just sounds so lame. Like if it goes to four, you could call it the core four. We got to come up with something for three, but I do eventually believe that it's going to be the Big Ten going up against the SEC, because I don't think the Big Ten and the SEC will merge together, because that's going to be a you-know-what swinging contest, and then everybody else for that third, if you want to say power conference, is going to be the Pac-12 schools that are now, there are only four left it looks like, so whoever wants to, whoever doesn't join the Big 12, or whoever doesn't join the ACC eventually through time, they will, but eventually I do think whatever ACC schools don't bolt, whatever Big 12 schools through time do not bolt, and the Big Ten, and also you have the SEC say, okay, we're going to kind of cap you off, and we're not going to extend you, there has to be a place for those schools, and I do think they will formulate a conference together, but I don't believe that's going to happen really anytime soon, Hickey, because you see what's going on with Florida State, Florida State would definitely be of interest from either the SEC or the Big Ten, it would make more sense for the SEC, but for Florida State to leave, and that's why they're bitching, that's why they're complaining, that's why they're upset, is not only would they have to pay 120 million dollars, they would also have to get their TV rights, and they're currently under contract until 2036, so you're not just going to pay all this money, 120 million dollars to leave, and not get your TV rights until 2036, so really the way that I look at this, is we may be looking at that date of 2036, or that year of 2036, around 2036, 2037, where that's when you'll eventually see the inevitable merge of the ACC and the Big 12 with whoever does not flee, or whoever is not accepted by the Big Ten and the SEC. Potentially, I mean we could see schools trying to move out earlier, the closer you get to that date, the less, you know, the team breaks go down, so maybe it's more palatable in five years compared to 13 years, something like that, but it's, I mean that's, the granite rights and the TV contract, the ACC sound with ESPN, is the only reason why we have talked about four conferences when it comes to realignment.

Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, Pac-12. We have not talked a lot about the ACC, there's not a lot of teams rumored in the ACC to be on the move for one reason, they cannot afford to leave. So in one way you credit the ACC for locking teams in, but on the other way, because they did this long-term deal, they screwed themselves because they are well behind market value, and getting to the market no time soon, and now kind of forcing almost two teams inside the conference start losing their minds with how much money they're losing on a yearly basis. And Florida State should be annoyed, but once again, there's nothing they could do about it. So let's hear UNC's AD Bubba Cunningham, where he was on the Adam Gold show, and he basically told Florida State how they should conduct themselves. What they want to do and how they want to go about doing their business, that is their business, but it does have an impact on us. And quite frankly, I don't think it's good for our league for them to be out there barking like that. And I'd rather see them be a good member of the league and support the league, and if they have to make a decision, then so be it.

Pay for the exit fee, wait for your grant of rights that you've given, and then in 2036, when those rights return to you, do whatever you want. So there you go from Bubba Cunningham. We'll take a break here on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio. We're not going to do the closing bell today. We'll do a news brief on the other side. You will hear from Panther safety Xavier Woods coming up at 9.40 p.m. Eastern, 6.40 p.m. Pacific. But we've got to get, Brett, your mark on the show at some point next week, the commissioner of the Big 12, because whenever all this stuff does go down, if you want to look at a way that you can save a conference, even when you're not the Big 10 and the SEC, the new commissioner of the Big 12 has done an admirable job here, and he needs to be commended.

I'd love to talk to him at some point next week. So, Hickey, we will reach out to the Big 12, who has been kind to us before, and we'll see if we can get Commissioner, your mark on the show as well. Coming on back with a news brief, Zach Gelb show, CBS Sports Radio. Alrighty, news brief time.

Zach Gelb show right here on CBS Sports Radio. Let's play more of some UNCAD Bubba Cunningham, who was once again on the Adam Gold show, and he says the ACC has been the best conference in college athletics. If they want to leave, then that's going to be their choice. But there are certain obligations that they do have.

We have an exit fee and we have a grant of rights. I believe that the ACC is a great league. It's been a great league for a long time.

Their frustration about the money, everyone would like to have more money and everyone would like to win more. But we're in it. We're in an outstanding league. And last I checked, the ACC won nine national championships last year, more than any other league in the country.

So we're doing something right. Here's the thing, though, for this conversation, and ninety nine point nine percent of the times hickey in college athletics, football is what drive the train. So if you want to tell me, oh, you have all these national championships, including you're doing something right, you're not wrong. But in terms of football, Clemson for a while did overtake the ACC. Miami has been horrible for years. I like the direction Florida State is moving in under Mike Norvell with what they did last year.

But they've been far from their days of the great Florida State program that we've known. And when the ACC tells you how great the entirety of the conference is, that's fine. But for football, it's not as if they've been this conference where you look at it, you go, OK, they need to be getting the money that the Big Ten brings in or the SEC brings in. Unfortunately, lacrosse, softball, baseball, soccer ain't paying the bills.

That's not where the money is coming from. Like you said, it's football that drives the bus for everything going there. And you can't win a football. Doesn't matter how good you are in the other Olympic sports, not getting the payday you want. And Bubba Cunningham, the UNCAD also said once again on the Adam Gold show that you could win at a high level without the most money.

I don't think you have to have the most money to win the most games. And I think we've demonstrated that over and over the years. Now, again, I do think that they have decisions that they need to make.

It may or may not have an impact on us. But again, what we're trying to do at Carolina is make the ACC the best it can possibly be. And you take a glance, right? You look at North Carolina. Yeah, they've had some really great football players.

They have one that's probably going to be the second overall pick in the draft this year in Drake, may just, you know, in this last year. But you never hear of North Carolina right being this dominant force in football. And once again, you have UNC basketball that drives the train there. But you look at football for most of these schools.

That is what drives the train. And when only one team wins the national championship each and every year. And it feels like there's only like, I'm being generous here, four or five teams each and every year that could win the national championship. You've got to be realistic where you could say, yeah, we want to be a national championship program.

But then also it's about making the most money. And when you know how rich the money is in football, once again, the Big Ten, the SEC are the preeminent conferences. Let's go to Hugh Freeze, the new head football coach at Auburn. He says he's uneasy about the team heading into training camp. I feel a little bit anxious that I feel like I may be behind in our evaluation of of who we are and what we can do. And I'm ready to get it on the field and try to to see what's accurate. And are we really behind in our evaluation because we have so many new faces and they're learning a new system.

And are or is it OK? We're on track and it's an uncomfortable feeling. But I think with the new rules, as they are to rebuild a roster, we did the right thing. Well, yeah, you should go out there and overturn a bunch of the roster and use the resources that you have. But you are playing in the toughest conference that there is in college football. Like you look at what USC did last year with Lincoln Riley.

Look at all the players they brought in. Now they had Caleb Williams. He won the Heisman Trophy. They didn't even win their conference. And that's in the Pac-12.

That is easier. You're now in the SEC. You have Alabama in your way. You have LSU in your way.

Clearly Georgia in your way. And when you bring in all these different faces that have a lot of talent, you've got to find the right mix to get them going and to build that trust, not only with the players trusting the coach, but the coach trusting the players. You know who could be the worst soundbite from a head coach in the NFL, Hickey?

Who's that? I actually think it's now Kyle Shanahan. Like Belichick gives you nothing, but at least he mumbles and there's some humor to it. Kyle Shanahan, he really gives you nothing.

Now, I have not heard this yet. So watch, he'll give you something and I'll look like an idiot here. But when I saw his name on this list, I'm like, ugh, another Kyle Shanahan cut? Here's Kyle Shanahan saying Brock Purdy's lack of training camp reps won't hold him back. We're not worried about Brock. Brock's the real deal.

He knows how to play and we just got to have our team keep getting better and he'll keep getting better as we go. He sounds so disgusted to be partaking in this interview process, this press conference process. Call him the real deal. It's one of the nicest things he's ever said, I think, about a quarterback. Yeah. And then I'll say, but we could all be dead tomorrow.

So maybe that's the last nice compliment I'll give. C.D. Lamb says the offense is in Dak's hands.

It's a lot more simpler. You know, all the offense is in Dak's hands now. It's not necessarily, you know, being called from Mike or Kel since last year. But now it's all on Dak. Like, however he's feeling versus the coverage, if he likes the matchup, we're going to call that play. If he likes whatever he likes versus his own, he's going to call that play. So technically, it's all in Dak's hands. The Cowboys don't know the difference between their elbow and their ass, Hickey.

See, if C.D. Lamb saying everything's in Dak's hands, Didn't we play audio yesterday of Jerry Jones saying everything's going to be simplified for Dak Prescott? He's going to have to do less at the line of scrimmage now, and it's going to be easier for him.

This was in the span of 24 hours. Those two clips couldn't be more different, Hickster. Oh, I should kind of take him the same, to be honest. Maybe I'm the idiot then, but it kind of made it seem like it was going to be easier. I mean, C.D.

mentioned the word easier. So maybe now, you know, this Mike McCarthy genius offense is, I don't know, something we've never seen before, in the sense of how easy it is to pick up and execute. But he said everything's in Dak's hands right now. Right.

Like that he's controlling everything. Dak friendly yesterday. Yeah, but he was like, because everything else is going to be done for Dak, and all he's going to basically have to do is just throw the football and check down. That's what Jerry Jones basically said yesterday.

Darnell Mooney discusses Justin Fields' biggest area of growth this offseason. The playbook, I mean, there's no confusion there at all. He's just, I know where I want to go with the ball. I know where this play is designed for.

I know the coverage that I want to get this done in. And even, like, during walkthroughs, he will do, like, a two-minute drill, and he's calling plays himself. So that's something, like, he wasn't able to, like, do last year, for sure, just because he's learning. So there you go.

That's Darnell Mooney on Justin Fields. The last one, Bucks OC Dave Canales has asked if the quarterback competition has tightened up since the start of training camp. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I think, you know, just, you know, we were in the spring right in this room talking about it, you know, and just, you know, the pros and cons of just naming a starter for the comfortability or playing this thing out. Well, I think what we're seeing is we're seeing a couple of guys who both have to put themselves in that starter mind frame.

You know, I see the two guys really challenging each other. Well, if Baker Mayfield can't easily defeat Kyle Trask, then Baker Mayfield has no future in the NFL, and this is pretty simple. This may just be coach speak now, but if it's actually genuine, then, man, Baker Mayfield is in a big-time problem spot. Take a break here on the Zach Gelb show.

Xavier Woods is going to join us on the other side on a Panther safety now in his seventh year in the NFL. Hey, this is Howie. And this is Nick. And you're listening to the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio.

And guess what? Zach is back. All right. He's live. He's nationwide on CBS Sports Radio. This is the Zach Gelb show. Oh, my God. We're back again.

All right. We continue this Zach Gelb show coast to coast on CBS Sports Radio. Now joining us is a man that has played in the NFL since 2017, Cowboys Vikings. Last year was year number one for him with the Carolina Panthers, and he's back in Carolina.

And that is one of their safeties in Xavier Woods. Kind enough to join us on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio. Xavier, first off, appreciate you doing this. How you been? I've been great.

Thank you guys for having me. So Carolina, right in the NFC South this year, some intriguing level of interest with them with a brand new quarterback in Bryce Young, but also a new football coach in Frank Reich. You were there last year. Now a new coaching staff coming in. Just kind of give me the vibe around the Panthers with Frank Reich.

That was the head honcho. I just excitement, man. We had an excitement with new coaches as well as Bryce just having a new quarterback as well. First round.

First pick. Just excitement around. I mean, yesterday we had FanFest and the crowd was, it was great.

It was a great turnout. What could you guys take? I know the season didn't go the way that you wanted it, but down the stretch you guys turned that corner. You were five and three in your final eight games. What can you guys take from the way that you played in kind of the second half of the season? Just the way that, defensively, just the way that we played at the halfway mark to the end of the season.

Only losing to Brady. We didn't miss the playoffs, but just the way we played. Defensively, we just think that we could win ballgames. We have the confidence that we can win ballgames just on us.

We just played on us. We could win ballgames. So that's one of the big takeaways that we took from last year. Offense was good here and there, but we, as a defense, believe that we could win ballgames and the confidence that we gained from last year.

Yeah, I saw the way that that defense was playing. When Steve Wilks was the internet coach, I go, wow, he won't be back next year, but he made me change my opinion on that quickly. I thought he should have been the head coach. Was it at all disappointing? Even though, right, Frank has been around the league for a long time with the connection you guys had with Steve that he didn't get the job?

I mean, that's above my pay grade. I'm just happy that Wilks has a, that he gets the opportunity with the 49ers. We know how great that defense has been, so I'm excited for him for that. But we've been excited with Coach Frank and all the coaches that he's brought in, just the defense and the offense.

We can't speak enough, speak highly enough of them and just the job they've been doing with us and just schemes that we've been putting in and everything. Talking to Xavier Woods right now, safety for the Carolina Panthers. Looking at your secondary, Jeremy Chin's been a really good player the first three years in his league, in this league, and then you look at J.C. Horn, he just hasn't been able to stay on the field, but he has all the talent in the world and there was a reason why he was the top ten pick in the draft. Just you being around that group and knowing what it takes to play at a high level in this league, just what have been your impressions so far of Jeremy Chin and also J.C. Horn? I would say those two guys are kind of the cornerstones, the pillars, you would say the blue chips of the defense, especially, I mean, we've got J.C., Jeremy on the defensive side and you would say some more would be Dave Brown and definitely Brian Burns. And just the defense goals, I mean, we all, everyone on the defense plays a role, you know, but the defense can only go so far as your best players and we definitely know that, you know, those are some of my best players on the defense.

And J.C., I mean, I feel like J.C.'s going to have a big year this year. He's done everything that he's in his power to make sure that he can get healthy. You know, sometimes injuries are, you know, a bug of the draw, sometimes it happens, but he's done everything in his power just to maintain, just to be healthy. And when he's on the field, man, he's a difference maker. And we call Jeremy a superhero, man.

He wears different capes. He can play anywhere on the defense and just having him be on the field is a plus for us. When you look at a guy like J.C. and you brought up the injuries and, right, you've experienced injuries, everyone has, how about the mental side of it when you've been kind of just given a tough blow to start your career?

How do you kind of fight through that mental adversity more than the physical adversity? I wouldn't say, I mean, he had his rookie year. The rookie, I think he got injured early.

But as far as last year, he played mostly, he played all the way up until the last couple of games. So that, I mean, at the end of the day, that wasn't really, that's a broken bone. You can't help a broken bone. It wasn't a soft tissue issue.

It was a broken bone. So that's something you can't really help and to think over. But as far as his mentality now, he's moved on. He wants to be up there. He feels disrespected. He thinks he's the best and I feel as though that too. So his mentality is just to go out and just be the best. He's going to accept every challenge we throw him this year and I think he'll excel. I know he'll excel.

Xavier Woods here with us for three more moments on the Zach Gelb show. Safety from the Carolina Panthers. This NFL Top 100 list, I don't know how much you pay attention to it, but I did see the rankings have started to come on out and Brian Burns was in at 54.

You talked about him. For me, that's the most notable name on your defense. I still feel like 54 is a little low for him, a little disrespectful. Do you think the national folks, and I know this is a player list, just don't give enough respect still?

Definitely. But I mean, when you act, when you act old on me and you act of defense events, they have Brian up there as one of the better pass rushers. So, I mean, I think that may be motivation for him, but in the NFL circle, we know that Brian is one of the best pass rushers in the league. I absolutely love Bryce Young back when he played at Alabama the last few seasons. You get to see Bryce Young up and close each and every day in practice.

Just kind of give me the vibe right now around Bryce Young and what you're seeing. Man, I remember I watched his first freshman game at Alabama and how smooth he was out there. I forgot who they played, but how smooth he was out there. It's translated to how smooth he is with us in practice.

Nothing really bothers me. You can see that his technique, his sound, he has a quiet type of demeanor, but you can tell that he's very confident in himself offensively. I mean, they've spoken highly of him as far as him just being a leader over there. And then just as a team, he definitely stole the show when we had a, you know, we made the rookie sing. That was like our first time him standing in front of the room and actually, you know, with all the eyes, all the eyes and ears on him. And he stole the show, man. What did he sing? Oh, the Fantasia song. I forgot the name of it. It was either Fantasia or Keisha Cole.

One of those two songs. And he definitely, he definitely did a great job. Man, standing ovation. So you were impressed with how he was as a singer. You didn't think he had that in him?

I did, man. I think he's been the best. He's been the best rookie singer so far. Guys like that are just so obnoxious because Bryce Young, he's perfect. Like, I know some people say, oh, he's not tall enough. And I go, I watched him in Alabama and never thought that his height or lack of it was a problem. There's nothing this guy could do wrong, it seems like. He just finds, he, I think that he knows, he knows his height, he knows his limits or he knows whatever he made. He thinks he has a limit, but he knows how to get up in the pocket, find those windows, find those scenes in the pocket to where he can throw the ball.

So far, he hasn't been a problem. So, hey, you talked about it earlier, how confident you are with what your defense is able to do. Now you get a franchise potentially changing player in Bryce Young in the offensive side of the ball. This NFC South is wide open. I'll ask you since you're here with us, Xavier Woods of the Panthers, what do you think your football team could accomplish this year? I would feel that we can definitely win. Just, I would say just as a team, just what we went through last year and how, I mean, we were, we were playing for the playoffs last, the second game of the year, we were actually playing for the playoffs and just how dysfunctional it was and everything. But, we feel, I mean, we won't be seeing Brady again anytime, hopefully anytime soon. So, that just gives us another little confidence to where, you know, how bad we were at the beginning of the year last year and just how we put everything together and how we still had a 50-50 chance to make the playoffs. It was all on us.

We didn't have to rely on anybody. It just gives us a confidence share to think that we can make it this year. You've got to be happy Brady's no longer there in Tampa because that's the biggest roadblock.

I think the whole league is just happy. For you individually, going into now year seven in the NFL, right, you've seen almost everything. What are you hoping to prove this year individually as you go into a new year? I just want to make the playoffs. Make the playoffs. Win, make the playoffs.

That's my main focus. Everything else will fall in line, but just win, make the playoffs. I haven't made the playoffs since my second year in Dallas, so that's my main focus, just making the playoffs and just having a chance in the dance. You have a unique story, you know, attending Louisiana Tech and making three All-Conference USA teams when you were there. But when you look at this journey, what do you want to tell us about it, what it took for you to get to this point of not only getting to the NFL, but being able to clearly stick around and play in this league?

Just perseverance, and then once you get there, just taking advantage of every opportunity that you get. You know, I was a six-round pick, and it wasn't looking too good. I mean, it wasn't looking too good as far as my spot on the team my freshman year in the OTAs and stuff, but something just clicked, and then I just took advantage of all the opportunities that I got, and I can say that, you know, ever since about the halfway mark I was playing in packages, the first half of the year, my first year, my rookie year, then the halfway mark, I started.

And ever since then, every game that I've dressed for and not been injured, I've started. And so that's just perseverance and just taking opportunities by the horn and just not letting them go. And of course you've got to have a little bit of competitive nature in you to not.

I mean, I'm getting up there in A's at the team, the guys call it, and seeing rookies coming in and just being maybe sometimes faster, but just having the IQ and to just learn the game and learn the ins and outs of it. I know he was already in the league for a year when you got there in Minnesota, he was entering his second year, but when you first got to see Justin Jefferson up close and personal being a teammate of his, your reaction was what? This guy is special.

This guy is special. I was around Dez, my rookie year in Dallas, and that was different with him just because I looked up to Dez. Dez was much older than just being in high school and watching his highlight tapes and just looking up to Dez and seeing his work ethic and seeing how he practices, how he plays, and then going to see. That's about the best receiver that I've seen up until that point was Dez, and then Elmarie Cooper, and then I got to see JJ, and man, that guy is just special. You also got to see Dak Prescott as your quarterback when you're with the Cowboys. We know Dak Prescott's a good quarterback, but everyone wonders, does he have it in him to win a Super Bowl one day? What do you say to people that question Dak Prescott if he could one day hoist that Lombardi Trophy? Man, Dak's one of the better quarterbacks in the league, man. Don't let no one, the media can say that, the media can have all these negative things to say about him, but Dak's one of the better quarterbacks in the league.

I think if a team didn't have a franchise quarterback, any team would take Dak that didn't have what they would call their franchise quarterback. And when I was there, I thought he was one of the best, so even now, man, some of the stuff that he does, just watching him, yeah, he's definitely up there. Xavier Woods from the Carolina Panthers, good health, good luck this upcoming season. Excited to see your football team play, thanks for doing this.

Thank you. All righty, there he is, Xavier Woods joining us from the Carolina Panthers, seventh year in the NFL, his second with Carolina, a safety for the organization. We appreciate him chopping it up with us for a few minutes. And that's actually all the time that we do have today on the Zach Gelb show on CBS Sports Radio. Also like to thank Liget Doosaball for joining us earlier in the program to talk a little bit about the Jets on first and goal. And also like to thank Hot Take Hickey and each and every one of you for listening and participating to our fine extravaganza. I am off tomorrow enjoying a little summer vacation. So Bart Winkler will be filling in, Hickey is out as well. And I'll be back on Monday at 6 p.m. Eastern, 3 Pacific as we will have Giants general manager Joe Shane scheduled to join us. And we got a bunch of other things cooking up for next week right here on CBS Sports Radio. Appreciate you listening to the Zach Gelb show. We out. Bye bye.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-03 22:59:26 / 2023-08-03 23:17:20 / 18

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