Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery co-hosted Monday's Clubhouse Live, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s live weekly football show. Packers linebacker Julius Peppers was Montgomery’s guest.
Among the topics they touched on were the Packers' six-game winning streak, Aaron Rodgers and North Carolina hoops. The show can be seen live at The Clubhouse Sports Pub & Grill in downtown Appleton or at clubhouselive.com.
Here are select and edited answers from the interview:
Q: You've won six straight and are one of the league's hottest teams entering postseason play. Compare the energy and confidence you and your teammates feel today to where it was during your four-game losing streak. Honestly, did you really see this hot streak coming back when you were 4-6?
Montgomery: I think there's a difference in the perspective, not necessarily the energy. I think we always had energy. We were always ready and willing to get the job done week in and week out, but it just wasn't turning out our way. And so our perspective was a little bit different. And then having to win six straight (to close out the regular season). But now that we've won six straight, I think the energy is still there, but the perspective is now different.
Q: Aaron Rodgers made some vintage throws during Sunday's victory over the Lions. Are you ever mesmerized by what he's able to do on the field, even as you're out there with him and you're supposed to be concentrating on your own assignment?
Montgomery: I really do. Like after the play, I'm like, 'Did he really just do that? Did he really just make that throw?' I can see the ball in the air sometimes, and it's like this perfect spiral. It's just this super-clean release. I'm never shocked by what he does because I never know what he's going to do - I don't put it past him. I'm sure there's probably some stuff he can do we haven't even seen yet. I'm never shocked, but I'm still amazed and kind of in awe sometimes when he does things.
Q: You played football and basketball collegiately at North Carolina. Did you ever get a chance to chat with Tar Heels basketball coaching legend Dean Smith? And if so, what did you learn from him?
Peppers: Yeah, I used to see Coach Smith all the time. He used to always hang around the practices, even though he wasn't the coach. We would always see him somewhere, lurking. He's up top in the stands or walking through the halls because he still had an office in the building, so he was always there. He was the greatest coach of all time in college basketball, and we learned so many things from him off the court. How to be a man. He used to take us, when we traveled on the road, we would go eat at these fancy steakhouses. ... That was some of our first experiences at those places. They taught us how to dress up with the ties and the sports jackets and all those things. It was a great experience. Coach Smith, he taught us a lot. ... And just acknowledging of others who helped you. He was the first one who'd actually make his players - if somebody gave you a nice assist, you had to acknowledge them and point to them. That started with Coach Smith and the Tar Heels.
Brett Christopherson: 920-993-7117, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @PCBrettC