SPARTANBURG Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera kept asking for hot weather.
He finally got it Monday. Now Rivera wants his team’s intensity to match the heat index.
After two weeks of mostly, unseasonably cool weather, the sun broke through – along with the accompanying humidity – on the penultimate day of training camp.
Rivera was pleased with the effort during the first half of the two-hour practice in full pads, but thought the intensity waned as the weather warmed closer to noon.
Rivera talked to his team for about five minutes afterward, encouraging them to finish strong during Tuesday’s final session at Wofford.
“I know it was tough. I know it started getting hot and muggy. You could feel the humidity,” Rivera said. “But you’ve got to fight it because that’s probably what we’re going to face when we go to Tampa Bay.”
The Panthers open the season Sept. 7 in Tampa, with kickoff scheduled for 4:25 p.m.
Rivera has expressed concern over whether the cooler temperatures have adequately conditioned his team for the Florida sun.
“This is all part of the training camp and all part of why you would love to have hot, muggy days,” Rivera said. “Because you build up that feel where you can handle it.”
Veteran defensive back Charles Godfrey said he doesn’t want players using the weather as an excuse.
“We have to overcome that as a team. We’ll have that in games. We can’t be a team where weather determines our outcome (or) our play,” Godfrey said. “Coach Rivera harps on, ‘Play through it.’ You have to. You can’t let that be a factor.”
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