VIDEO: Takkarist McKinley Talks Improvement

Aug. 13 -- The junior defensive end talks about his significant strides physically and mentally....

Takkarist McKinley:

On being in San Bernardino:
Its good to be here. Its my first camp. I came in last year in the middle of the season. I put on 25 pounds since I've been here- I came in at 220 and now I'm 245. I know all my plays. Now its just me playing football.

On his speed:
My speed is pretty good. With the weight, it might slow down a little bit. We ran a 40 in the summer, I ran a 4.54, but I know I can do better than that. My speed is still there.

On how much the weight has helped him:
A lot. At first, I was pretty much getting thrown around like a rag doll, but now with Coach Alosi's program I have more muscle and weight and it gives me a better chance in that gap and hole to pretty much win. I like 245. Coach Bradley wants me to get to 250. I'll get there eventually. That's the goal to get there. Its all about your maintainment.

On what makes Alosi effective:
He pushes as hard as he can. He does it to get us stronger and to get us ready for San Bernardino. You embrace everything he says. You go to work. His workout is difficult too. I've never did anything like that before. Coach Alosi used to be in the NFL, he trains us to get ready for the NFL.

On his understanding of the defense:
Its ten times better. I know the plays in the back of my head. Usually last year, I was in the locker root at halftime, looking at the plays, busy tapping Owa 'whats the play?' With Owa gone, I want to be his replacement and make a name for myself, but I still have to be in my books. Playbook, I pretty much have it done.

On if he felt he had the playbook down at all last year:
I needed the offseason. I came from the Juco straight in the midseason. It was difficult and overwhelming. They had given me certain packages. That Cal game was my first start and I had the most plays. It was like what I did at the Juco. They introduced me pretty slow. I got it now.

On playing at 245:
I feel a lot stronger. That's the main thing, messing with Simon and Caleb, its the trenches. You have to use your hands. Me being a little bit littler, I have to have that mindset to be a dog. To have that extra pounds helps me out a lot for those 300 pound guys.

On his position:
I'll play whatever the coaches tell me to play. Defensive end, I'll play it. Corner, I'll do that.

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