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Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young discusses keeping a cool head in training camp heat

Bryce Young

SPARTANBURG – It's reasonable to imagine Bryce Young could've carried a heavy burden Saturday as he rolled a suitcase into the Wofford dorm he'll call home through early August for training camp.

The Panthers traded up to take him at No. 1 overall in this year's draft, and they built an experienced staff to guide him while acquiring a litany of new offensive weapons for him. He took a considerable portion of the first-team reps through the offseason program, and said he spent the five-week summer break since minicamp continuing to study and "take ownership" of the offense.

But the outside pressure doesn't seem to have gotten to Young, who spoke with the media four days into his training camp experience on Tuesday – his 22nd birthday. 

And he said he's well aware of the tone he's looking to set when the Panthers officially hit the practice field as a team Wednesday.

Bryce Young

"It's going to be tough," Young said. "It's going to be hard, but just to push everyone. For us as a unit to push ourselves, and for us as a team to take ownership in everything and try to get the most out of every day, in the meeting room and the practice field, making sure that we're all holding ourselves to the standard that we know we should." 

Among learning the playbook and building chemistry with teammates, Young will also continue to be tasked from a leadership standpoint. 

He'd already shown during the offseason program that he's not the type who shouts to rally the troops, but the way he leads by example is something tight end Hayden Hurst said he's familiar with from his recent stint in Cincinnati. 

And the comparison Hurst made for Young is a solid one to draw. 

"He's going to go about his business a certain way, kind of like last year when I was with Joe (Burrow)," Hurst said. "He's not in your face; he's not screaming. He's in there watching film every day. 

"And it just makes you want to be on top of your game; you don't want to let guys like that down because you know they're going to come to practice every single day – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, sixth day of camp, it doesn't matter – they're going to be on top of their stuff, so you better be on top of yours as well."

There's also the piece of shouldering expectations, which could be set quite high for the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback out of Alabama. 

The good news for Young is that coming from a program like the one Nick Saban runs in Tuscaloosa means he's accustomed to feelings like this, even if the NFL adds an extra layer of talent and competition. 

"Lofty expectations aren't something new," Young said. "I took the same approach in college. I've always taken the same approach. I've had experience taking the same approach to whatever expectations are. Whatever people are talking about, it is what it is. 

"It's stuff that I can't control, and making sure that my teammates, my coaches, what we set in the building, that's who I listen to. That's the expectations that we come up with together and build together as a team, and sticking to that. I've had experience doing that in the past. So it'll be obviously a different level of different challenges, but I'll keep the same mindset." 

Training camp is just another step, albeit a large one, in Young's acclimation to the league. Young said reporting to Wofford over the weekend had helped him, like the rest of his rookie class, grow comfortable in their new environment before veterans joined them Tuesday. The last few days have consisted of a "head start" on installs and some walkthroughs, he said.

Luckily for Young, just as much as his time at Alabama prepared him for these expectations, it also helped him acclimate to the Spartanburg heat and humidity that's pervasive across the Southeast. 

"It's kind of a refresher, which is really good," he said of his early arrival. "It's been good, just trying to get my bearings down here in a new environment here at Wofford. The weather stuff is pretty similar to Alabama, so that's kind of been what I've been used to these last couple of years. It's been good to get out here a couple days early so that us rookies can be prepared now that the vets are here." 

Young doesn't seem to be letting any of the heat – internal or external – get to him, which is the mentality he was drafted to bring. 

"What people think and whatever other people on the outside's expectations (are), again, I'm grateful for anyone who has an opinion; that means they care about the team, and they're invested," Young said. "It means a lot for us, for all the people that are invested in us and as an organization, but the only real standards that I go by are the ones that we set as a team. And that's to push each other, push ourselves every day to get better and grow as much as we can.

"The stuff that happens outside of that isn't stuff that I put focus on or put my energy toward. It's stuff I can't control. But what I can control is trying to hold myself to that standard that we set internally in the building – and that's trying to get better every day."

View photos of the Panthers as they move in at Wofford for training camp this year.

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