SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Carolina Panthers went back to their college days Thursday morning as they reported for the first day of training camp.
Some of them took the short drive down Interstate 85 in style, like Panthers veteran receiver Steve Smith. Smith showed up in a red Volkswagen convertible and seemed to enjoy his trip.
"It was nice," the Panthers All-Pro said. "I had my hair blowing in the wind and it was good."
Other players, like cornerback D.J. Moore, talked about the creature comforts that will get him through his near three week stay at Wofford.
"You gotta bring your own blanket. The ones they got in there are the old wool ones. They've been washed 100 times and feel like snake skin."
Offensive lineman Edmund Kugbila said he's ready for the heat, comparing it to all those hot southern Georgia summers during his playing days at Division II Valdosta State.
Carolina won five of its final six games last season to finish 7-9 in year two under Ron Rivera. The team has set the bar high in 2013, hoping to build off of that late season momentum.
"It's all about having a sense of urgency early. We can't put ourselves in that hole and think a late six game push is going to put us over the top when you start 2-8," tight end Greg Olsen said. "That's not the way it works. We need those late season pushes but that's to put you into the playoffs."
Linebacker Luke Kuechly echoed Olsen's opinion.
"A sense of urgency is something you need to have regardless. If we have a sense of urgency in the beginning, we'll start faster and that sense of urgency all starts with camp right now."
The Panthers hit the practice field for the first time in Spartanburg on Friday night. Their first preseason game is August 9, when the Chicago Bears pay a visit to Bank of America Stadium.