Jim Caldwell can still picture the scrawny teenager in the red and white jersey.
Philip Rivers swapped uniforms 11 years ago when he left North Carolina State. But Caldwell, who coached against Rivers at Wake Forest then and will coach against him on Sunday, says not much else has changed.
"I was very impressed with him as a young guy," Caldwell told U-T San Diego's Tom Krasovic. "The thing about outstanding players is, they don't change much. He was outstanding back then, he's outstanding today."
More from FoxSports
Rivers has saved his best work for Caldwell's teams. Including that 2002 Wake-Wolfpack bout, he's 2-0 against his squads all-time.
But the Lions head coach owns a record Rivers would prefer to have -- he's 2-1 in Super Bowls as an assistant and head coach.
Caldwell knows that stat is no fault of Rivers'. He's coached Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco -- and says No. 17 has the make-up of a winner.
Said Caldwell: "He's got the respect of every team within this league and does a tremendous job."