Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera: I respect Clemson, UNC programs

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. AP

The Carolina Panthers are clearing out of Bank of America Stadium on Saturday hours before the start of the ACC Championship Game between No. 1 Clemson and 10th-ranked North Carolina.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he almost hates to leave.

“I’m just disappointed it wasn’t last week because I’d love to be here and see this game,” Rivera said Friday.

Rivera said he respects the way Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and UNC’s Larry Fedora have built their programs.

“I’m excited about it. I think it’s great for the Carolinas, having Clemson and UNC in this game. I think it’s a tremendous showdown,” Rivera said. “It’s going to be a heck of a football game. I understand it’s going to be sold out.”

UNC sophomore wide receiver Austin Proehl is the son of Panthers receivers coach Ricky Proehl and a former Panthers ballboy.