I've written about new Panthers coach Ron Rivera before, but in today's newspaper and online I have taken my first in-depth look at him (you can read it here).
First impressions: Rivera is intense, egalitarian, no-nonsense and personable. Certainly any first-year coach is going to have some sort of honeymoon period, but I will say this: Fans who care about the Panthers should be happy Rivera is here for a number of reasons. One of the big ones is this: He actually answers questions, which means fans will have a better idea what is going on with this team than they ever did in the John Fox era.
Fox would never admit to being surprised by anything. If aliens had landed on the 50-yard line at Wofford, he would have said he wasn't surprised. Rivera has none of that world-weary, "I've-seen-it-all-and-you-haven't-and-never-would-understand" demeanor, which is refreshing from a media standpoint of course but I think also will serve him well with the players.
6 months ago