Meet Brent McNeil
April 30, 2009
The self proclaimed “nasty” Brent McNeil is coming off a redshirt season after transferring from El Camino Community College last year and is in the mix for the starting left guard job which is crucial for the run happy Oregon State offense. With a daughter at home, this is one family man that knows that college is not only about football but also about providing a future for others.
Who is Brent McNeil?
Brent McNeil is an outgoing person, a team player, he can be funny – at times - tries to be a hard worker ... and smart.
Why left guard?
Actually when I first came here I played left tackle. By me being big I asked coach if I could play left guard and he said that if I wanted to I could move down there. I like the position, being with the big boys and going against (Stephen) Paea every day. It’s a position that I can see myself playing at the next level as long as I play hard here and work at it.
How has going against the first team defense here improved your game?
They’re the best of the best. You’re playing against top notch players; players who played in the USC game last year and against Utah. There’s no slacking off. You have to play hard every play in order to be the best.
What is the difference between playing at a junior college and playing at Oregon State?
It’s a big gap. It’s a huge gap. First of all it’s the speed of the game. It’s ten times faster here. Terminology is way different. In junior college you can get away with your raw talent. Here you have to have technique, you have to know the defense, you have to read the defense, you have to watch film every day and dissect your opponent. Junior college you didn’t have to do that. You could just show up and play hard.
How has the transition been coming to Oregon State?
It’s been up and down. It’s been hard at times. Last term was really hard for me. It was the first time I didn’t really play, I redshirted. I had to really dig down deep and prove to myself that I could play here. I think overall it was a good thing that I did redshirt because I probably would have wasted a year. By redshirting I now know the plays and I have the terminology down.
How would you describe your playing style?
I’m raw. My favorite thing to do is pass block which is unusual. I’m kind of different, a lot of linemen like to run block and get in there. I like to pass block but I can get nasty at times. I can get really nasty.
How’s it been playing for Coach Riley?
It’s been a great experience. I never had a coach who’s very calm and really likes you and can talk to you and see how you are. If you’re down one day he’ll give you advice to keep yourself up. That’s a good coach. That’s what the coach is all about. Sometimes you need someone to motivate yourself but other times you need someone to provide you information that can help you in life.
How about offensive line Coach Cavanaugh?
Coach Cav (Cavanaugh) is a great experience. He reminds me a lot of my father when it comes to football. He’s very hard on you but in a good way. When I tell people that they ask me how is it good to play for a hard coach? I don’t want a coach who will be like ‘oh, okay, you did okay but you missed this part.’ I want a coach who is going to be on me military style, get in your face but know that he’s trying to help you be the best player you can be. At the end of the day he’s trying to help you go to the next level, he’s trying to help you become a better man. Coach Cav has been a great inspiration to me.
Who is your favorite player?
Steve Hutchinson. I’m a Green Bay fan. Even though he plays for the Vikings, it’s Steve Hutchinson.
Why Steve Hutchinson?
That man is raw. That’s all I can say, he’s raw. He played in Seattle with Shaun Alexander and I’ve never seen a guy get off the ball and just take over a game. You rarely see it from a lineman. The defensive line is like ‘number 76 is right there.’ You never see anything like that. I go on YouTube every day and I watch him.
How does Hutchinson effect how you play your game?
I try to take some of his technique. He has clips on YouTube where he teaches you proper steps and stuff like that. I try to pick up little pointers and cheat moves. I just go on and watch everything from him at Michigan; he played at Michigan, to Seattle, and to the Vikings. Mainly, I look at Steve Hutchinson for his run blocking game because that’s something I need to work on.
How is Spring Ball going?
It’s been good. It started off rocky. I was out of shape, not as bad as when I came in before but it’s been kind of rocky. The last two weeks I’ve exploded. I’m having fun now. I’m having fun. That’s the thing I was waiting for. I was waiting for myself to be like ‘this is great, I’m in there and playing.’ I’m more relaxed now because I now know the plays. It’s not like when I got here and was like ‘that’s a big playbook; I have to learn all this in like a week.’ Now it’s an easy transition.
What happened to make things click for you this spring?
One person, Paea, Stephen Paea. We were in the weight room one day and he just took me aside and was like, ‘you can be one of the great linemen. You have it. I want you to go out with me every day after practice.’ I work out with Stephen Paea every day. He helps me on the run blocking game. Going against him, that’s a monster, and by going with him I know that by game time I will be prepared and be ready. He’s a big motivation.
What’s life like off the field?
Life is great. My fiancé just moved up with my daughter. I’m having a great time, my family’s here. That’s what I’m playing for. Fall semester, like I said, I was going through some things, but now that my family’s here I’m really happy. By them being here I’ve seen my production go way higher. That was two weeks ago. My daughter’s two months old and when I look into her eyes I know I have to get my B.A. and play football. This could be our way out. My motivation is my daughter and my fiancé.
What are your expectations leaving spring practice going into fall camp?
Just to be in competition. There’s a three way competition between me, Ryan Pohl, and Michael Lamb even though Lamb is hurt right now. I just want to have the competition as close as possible so when summer time comes we’ll still be in competition until the first game. Another goal is to get into the best shape I can get into. I was 325 when I first came here and now I’m 305. I was 290 in junior college so I’m trying to get down to about 295 and to stay there.
Anything that Beaver Nation should expect out of you?
Hard work. Hard Work. I just want Beaver Nation to know that we’re coming out to play. There’s no stopping us this year. Last year was a great year but there are a lot of new faces this year, including myself. I don’t want Beaver Nation to think that it’s going to be a recession year, it’s not. We’re the same team as last year. I’m not saying that we’re better I’m just saying that we’re going to improve. We’re going to improve.
OSU Spring Football practices are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday from March 30 – April 29 beginning at 3 p.m. The spring season culminates with the Spring Game, May 2 at Reser Stadium at noon. Tickets for the Spring Game can be purchased beginning Monday, April 6 at the OSU Ticket Office in Room 107 of Gill Coliseum. Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370.You can make an “everyday champion.” Follow Beaver Athletics on twitter.