Interview with Safety Eric McNeal

Junior strong safety Eric McNeal talked to BRO about national rankings, late-game comebacks and facing former teammate, starting Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore...


Junior strong safety Eric McNeal:


What's it like to finally be ranked in the Top Ten again?


"It feels pretty good that we're finally starting to get a little recognition. We still feel that we're not getting the recognition we deserve but that's okay, but I mean that's okay with us. We have to do what we have to do. It really doesn't matter how we're ranked, it is about how we finish. But it is good to get national recognition, though."


You say some people are not giving you the full credit you deserve but you are No. 8 in the nation?


"Yeah, I mean, maybe it is just me, but we all watch TV, we all see how the teams do and it doesn't seam like some people are starting to realize. They say, ‘Yeah they're good but they really haven't gotten tested.'  It is stuff like that. But I mean, we're not worried about that stuff. We know we're pretty good. It is still great to be ranked that."


In regards to the late game comebacks, what do you as a team have to do to be more productive in the first part of the game?


"Really just starting faster. It's really nothing we're doing differently, although we did change the scheme a little bit, but I don't know what it is. We just come out slow in the first half and then when we are down, we step up and do what we have to do. That's our focus this week, to start out fast and finish like we have been finishing."


Sometimes you can get used to the pressure of the clock running out, maybe even need that as motivation. Is that the case here?


"Not really. We just have to know our offense will score. If we do the things we have to do then we will be allright. That's our focus. We need to start fast and don't get down and play the catch up game, because you never know when you might come up short. We might play well and then the offense might not get that extra touchdown. So we need to focus on getting what we need to do in the first half so we don't have to play that catch up game."


You haven't played Oregon State in a long time. Do you have to prepare differently for them since you have seen them in several years?


"We prepare the same way for every game. This is just another team that's coming in here, trying to knock us off. We just go in there, watch the film, and just prepare. Each team is different."


But is it a little different this week because you guys are going against (OSU quarterback) Matt Moore? What do you think about that?


"It's really going to be fun, especially for me since he came in with me in my recruiting class so we are friends. Its just going to be fun, we're not trying to make a big deal about it. We know he's our friend. But we know it's a game and he's on the other team and we're not going to let up."


As a defensive player playing against him, will you want to put yourselves out there maybe just a little more?


"I mean. yeah, we're going to get out there. We just don't want to make that our focus to get us out of our game. But we want to let him know he made a mistake when he does."

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