Not so much physically— more so mentally.
McNeal arrived to Tigertown last summer as a puny four-star wide receiver out of The Breck School in Minneapolis, Minn. Since then, he's added more than 10 pounds and last checked in at 180.
"I feel 10 times better. Last year, I felt like I was standing in quick sand," McNeal said outside the practice field gates. "This year, I know what's going on. I know how it's going to be. I can get my mind ready."
The redshirt sophomore worked with second team at the A-receiver behind Marquan Jones.
"Obviously, I've got a lot of improvement to make with it being the first day," McNeal said. "I'm just coming out trying to get back into the swing of things. As far as knowing what I was supposed to do and getting everything down, I felt real comfortable.
"I'm just trying to catch up with my tempo of the game so I can take my speed up to another level."
McNeal admitted that he took a cautious approach on day one of the 2010 season.
"I wanted to make sure that I knew the plays, trying to get back into everything," he said.
By his high standards, McNeal's performance was far from stellar.
"I feel, as the camp goes on, once I can step my intensity up and step my play up, stop dropping so many balls," he said.
Of the targets that are tracked during practice, McNeal dropped two passes. After practice, along with the other receivers with drops, he had to pay the price with extra running.
The group also spent extra time on the jugs machine.
With the departures of Jacoby Ford, Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham over the past two years, there are plenty of catches to be spread amongst the wide receivers that are still on campus.
"We don't even look at it as working against each other. We really help each other, whoever comes out on top, obviously they were the most productive," McNeal said. "As far as a group, we're very comfortable with it."
It's important for him to improve his play enough during camp to warrant a move up to the first group of receivers. Not so much for his own appetite for success, but for the team's.
"I want to come out here and help the team. That's my first goal," McNeal said. "I want to continue to work hard and become a factor in the offense."
McNeal in right frame of mind
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