SPARTANBURG, SC --- The Carolina Panthers opened their 2012 training camp Saturday night at Wofford College with excitement, intensity and some interesting notes.
Second-year head coach Ron Rivera made no bones about rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly after practice, saying the former Boston College Eagle is much further advanced than almost any first-year player at the position he's ever seen.
Kuechly is starting at outside linebacker, but played in the middle with second team during the workout calling plays sent in from the sideline. He averaged 16 tackles a game playing inside for BC last season.
Here are some other observations from the Panthers' first practice:
16th-year placekicker Olindo Mare missed a 44-yard field goal attempt fairy early in practice resulting in a chorus of boos and cat calls from many of the 13,000 fans in attendance. Mare's kick clanked off the right upright. Several minutes later, however, he connected two from 50 yards that had plenty of room to spare....