CHARLOTTE — With no in-person offseason programs this year, most rookies will enter training camp without meeting their head coach or coordinator.
Sixth-round defensive tackle Bravvion Roy won't have that problem. That's because he spent his past three seasons playing at Baylor under head coach Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. And while that gives Roy a leg up in acclimating to the defensive system, the coaches' familiarity with him might be even more important.
It's no secret that new staffs like the Panthers are facing a unique challenge in that they've never met the vast majority of their players. That could be particularly difficult for rookies, who don't benefit from plays on film at the NFL level.
Still, Roy downplayed any positive effect his familiarity with the coaching staff could have on making the roster.
"I really don't look into it like that," Roy said last week. "I'm really not worried about spots or whatever. All that's going to fall into place. If anything, I'm just going to make sure I do my job at the highest level and then let everything take care of itself."
Roy felt his familiarity with the staff led to a more natural adjustment during the virtual offseason program. For instance, learning a whole new playbook wasn't an issue because he already knew the basics.
"I mean, I still have to go over things. Then there are some things that they've added in that I've never heard of before that I still have to go over," Roy said. "I'm just still constantly just trying to stay on top of my stuff."
Roy was plenty productive in his four years at Baylor, particularly in his senior season when he registered 5.5 sacks and 13.0 tackles for loss. But even after living out his dream of being drafted, not much changed for the 23-year-old.
Roy spent the spring and summer in his hometown of Spring, Texas, working out to stay ready for his first training camp. He recently was back at his alma mater, Spring High School, training on what he termed on his Instagram Story "the hottest turf" he'd ever been on.
That's coming from someone who played on turf that got up to 181 degrees last September during the hottest game in the history of Baylor's McLane Stadium.
"My cleats melted and stuff like that during that game. Then I got on my high school turf two days ago and it was just as hot," Roy said. "The weather said it was like 103 out, but it felt like 115 or something like that. And that on turf is just crazy hot. So when I stepped on the field, my feet started instantly burning."
Roy was on the field for about an hour to get his workout in.
"I just dealt with it. My cleats started melting a little bit. I had to tape them up, and then I just got up out of there," he said. "It ain't nothing like North Carolina. It's hot-hot out here (in Texas) — and humid."
But Roy doesn't quite know that for sure, since reporting to Bank of America Stadium will be his first exposure to Charlotte.
"By this time last year, everybody would've been settled in and all. Now, I know I got drafted, but it just feels like I'm still training trying to get to the Combine or something," Roy said. "I know once I get to North Carolina, get to the stadium, get to the locker room, then it'll sink in, like, 'OK, now I'm here.'"
Soon, we'll see whether Roy's offseason work and familiarity with the coaching staff and playbook translate to an advantage on the field.
View photos of Carolina's sixth-round draft pick, DT Bravvion Roy, out of Baylor.