McKinley Stepping Into Leadership Role

Although wide receiver Kenny McKinley totaled an impressive 51 catches for 880 yards and 5 touchdowns last season, he often played second fiddle to All-SEC performer Sidney Rice. With Rice now departed for the NFL, it's McKinley's turn to lead the Gamecock wide receivers, and that is not a task he takes lightly. spoke with McKinley following Tuesday's spring opening workout, and the rising junior discussed what life is now like without Sidney Rice and much more:

Question: Can you talk about what life is like without Sidney Rice now?

Answer: Oh yeah, I'm going to miss him. I hope he does well, wherever he goes. We've just got to take care of business here. Everybody is going to be gunning for us this year, with the way we finished off last year. We're just going to work hard and have a good season.

Question: Who do you think is going to step up in place of Rice?

Answer: I think it's up in the air. We've got a lot of great receivers coming in. Larry (Freeman's) first day out here today, he looked like veteran already… He was running crisp routes and catching everything that hit his hands. He's something to reckon with. We're going to have a good receiving corp next year. He was doing real good today.

Question: Has Freeman asked you for any advice or anything like that?

Answer: Yeah, we're roommates, so we talk at night about the plays we're fixing to get in. He asks me about the plays and coverages when we're on the field. We talk about all the plays left and right. Larry, he's coming along. For the first day, he knows a lot of stuff already.

Question: What would you say you've improved on the most since the end of last season?

Answer: Since the end of last season, I'd say my strength and my size. I've gained like about eight pounds since last year, and I'm going to try to get stronger and bigger as everything goes on.

Question: What was your forty time recorded at pre-spring?

Answer: I ran a 4.5 flat. I went down a little from last year, but I think it's because I gained this weight.

Question: With Rice gone, is now the time for you to step up and be a leader?

Answer: Yeah, I believe now is the time to step up. Right here is just the foundation for next year. If we're stepping up now, then it's going to carry over to next year, this and the summer (workouts)

Question: Do you think you can step up and become the answer that Rice was last year by maybe scoring 12 or 13 touchdowns next year?

Answer: I believe I'm capable of doing all that. I'm not Sidney. I'm a different type of receiver, but I'm capable of putting up those type of stats.

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