SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Thousands of fans made the trek to Spartanburg today for the Panthers first day of training camp and it looks like fans have some big expectations for the season.
Panthers fans and excited for the upcoming season. This time, fans are passing through the turnstyles to join the team for training camp.
It’s a fun experience for some and a reunion of sorts for others.
"A lot of old friends, a lot of new friends, people I have worked with,” said Dan Ford. He’s been coming to training camp since the mid-90s. He and the Panthers share a special spartanburg connection.
"The fact that Mr. Richardson was owning it, his sons went to high school with me here in Spartanburg,” Ford said.
Fans like Ford are hopeful the Panthers will pound their way to the playoffs, even with off the field changes in the off season.
"As long as the new GM doesn't do anything drastic I think they will be alright," Ford said.
Although fans are walking through the gates for the first practice of the season they are already looking ahead to the last game of the season, possibly the Superbowl.
"If they can keep their eyes on having a good season and getting to the Superbowl I think they will do good,” says nine-year-old Hawkin Smith.
His Panthers knowledge is ahead of the game for most kids his age. He tells me he didn't come to training camp for fun and games, he's here to see how the player perform after a dismal past season.
"Just look and see how they can bounce back. Obviously the rookies they have here, I am excited to see all them," Smith says.
Not everyone believes in the Panthers this season. A national newspaper projected the team will finish last in the NFC South.
But, fans are optimistic after watching the first of many practices, that the season ahead will be a solid one.