McClung ready to lead Cincinnati receivers

We posed a question here a few months ago: Is Cincinnati receiver Anthony McClung ready for a featured role?

McClung was kind enough to answer for himself in a recent phone interview. He is more than ready.

"I put a lot on my shoulders this year," McClung said. "I'm the only senior receiver, and I try to approach it every day like an NFL receiver. I have to set an example for the younger guys, so I am trying much harder in that aspect."

Of course, it is not shocking to hear McClung wants a bigger role. Every player would tell you that. But there is often a new-found focus and motivation when a player only has one year left to play. Especially when he is the oldest player in the group, the most experienced guy in the room that everybody has to rely upon now.

No more passing the buck. No more looking at somebody else. McClung knows all this, and he embraces it. What he wants to do now is put on at least 10 more pounds in the offseason to get himself up to 190. McClung wants to be able to handle more of the blocking he enjoys doing, and be stronger to take some of the hits he gets when he makes tough catches across the middle.

"My mentality is different than others," McClung said. "I like to block. Defenders think I'm small, but when I block, I don't block small. Everybody has to get theirs, basically. I know if I miss the block, then I let my running back down. I also just like being physical across the middle. I take a lot of hits, so this will be good for me."

Though Cincinnati is expecting immediate contributions from a few newcomers in the fall, McClung said he saw major strides made from some of the younger receivers this spring, including Chris Moore, Max Morrison and Shaq Washington. Alex Chisum was hurt for part of the spring, but returned at the end.

McClung said they all spent extra time running routes after practice and are ready to have success in the new offense.

"Those guys came along really well," McClung said. "They're hungry. You can see it in them, you can see it in their eyes."