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Senior Bowl Notes: Rivera working on staff openings

Rivera comments on staff vacancies: The Panthers are still looking to hire a defensive backs coach and a wide receivers coach, but head coach Ron Rivera said he's not in a hurry to fill out his staff.

"It's been interesting trying to put it together – the timing has been interesting," Rivera said after watching Senior Bowl practice Wednesday. "We have a couple of really good candidates we feel strongly about; some guys have interviewed very well. We're still trying to finish up. We're not necessarily in a big hurry. We're trying to be very methodical and make sure we make the right choices."

The majority of the coaching staff is in Mobile, Ala., to watch practice and interview prospects in conjunction with general manager Dave Gettleman and the scouting staff.

Boulware admires Kuechly: Count Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware among linebacker Luke Kuechly's many fans. The leader of the Tigers' championship defense emulates the Panthers' All-Pro middle linebacker.

"My favorite guy is Kuechly, by far," Boulware said. "I love his game, I love him as a guy. From what I hear about him, he's a top-level dude – someone his teammates love and will do anything for. And he's just a baller."

Boulware was humbled to hear that some have compared his ability to direct the defense in the national championship victory over Alabama to Kuechly. It's quite a compliment, but Boulware isn't about to start comparing himself to arguably the best defensive player in the NFL.

"I'm happy that I got that on film for everybody to see. That kind of proves that I know what the hell I'm doing," Boulware said. "It's nice to be in that conversation, but Kuechly is in a whole 'nother world."

Kupp a top target: Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been the favorite target of North squad quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound wideout is the most prolific receiver in Football Championship Subdivision history, setting records for receptions (428), receiving yards (6,464) and receiving touchdowns (73).

He operated primarily out of the slot in college, but Kupp is getting a chance to work inside and outside at the Senior Bowl in an effort to prove he can be versatile at the next level.

"I don't want limit myself to anything," Kupp explained. "I want to be able to play inside and outside. I know my film shows me playing a lot more in the slot, but I was pushing every week to get more reps on the outside. I want to stay versatile and understand all the concepts of the offense."


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