Rajion Neal isn't just wide-open by chance.

The change-of-pace tailback has been a solid target via some hard work, precise route running and solid game planning.Here Dave Hooker talks to the freshman about his role as change-up/receiving threat running back.

Dave Hooker: So, it takes a lot of work to be that open? You've got to run a lot of decoy routes?

Rajion Neal: Yeah. It takes a lot. (Offensive coordinator) coach (Jim) Chaney works it out very well to get me where I need to be.

Hooker: What do you feel like you've done this season to continue to expand your role?

Neal: Probably just study. Watch what (starting tailback) Tauren (Poole) and the older guys are doing. I'm just playing to the best of my ability, using the speed that I have. Really just being a student of the game. I really came in as a patient runner. They said a little too patient. But the game is slowing down and I'm starting to make my reads and everything is coming to me a little bit. It's slowing down a little bit. Before it was very fast.

Hooker: When did they tell you that you were too patient and how did you remedy that?

Neal: They said I was too patient the first time I got in pads in camp (in August). It just seemed (to them) that I was almost jogging. But after that, they just kept getting on me, getting on me, so I just started watching what Tauren was doing and move as quick as I possibly could, make my reads and make my cuts and try to get in and out (of the hole).

Hooker: Do you have the same patience when it comes to playing time?

Neal: Yes, I would have to say that I'm a true believer that you just have to wait for your time and I feel my time is coming soon, but as of right now I'm just helping Tauren and playing my role.

Hooker: Can you talk about the influence that Tauren has been?

Neal: T-Poole is a big influence. He keeps you positive. I would say T-Poole is a very positive person. He tells us to keep working and always keeps talking to me. He's always giving me words of encouragement because there are times that I mess up and I'm a little down but if you just watch T-Poole work and the way he carries himself, he's a big influence on me.

For comments send your emails to: davehooker@live.com


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