Christian McCaffrey aims for bigger and better in 2018

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Running back Christian McCaffrey is plenty fast, but he doesn't enjoy playing catch-up.

McCaffrey is all about being prepared – mentally and physically. So last year, having to play catch-up as a result of missing spring practices to finish the semester at Stanford was not ideal.

"That helps a lot – being able to be there in OTAs," McCaffrey said after reporting to his second NFL training camp Wednesday. "The comfort level is definitely higher."

McCaffrey has prepared himself for more in 2018. More work, more responsibility, more success.

Head coach Ron Rivera provided an extra incentive when he expressed a desire to increase the number of carries for McCaffrey, who ran the ball 117 times for 435 yards as a rookie.

"When your coach tells you you're going to get the ball more, you get a little excited about that," McCaffrey said with a smile. "I love to hear that. Hopefully it happens. But whatever I have to do to help us win is what I'm going to do."

To handle the workload, he's earned some gains in the weight room – up from 202 pounds to 208 – without sacrificing his trademark explosiveness.

"Feeling good," McCaffrey said, "still feeling fast."

Through body language and interviews, it's obvious the former first-round pick is eager to prove he can be an elite player in this league. It's what he expects of himself.

His rookie year wasn't what he wanted it to be, and he's got big plans for Year Two.

"I have a lot of room to improve from last year," he said. "It's been a heck of an offseason. A lot of great work. Made some changes here and there. I feel more developed. I'm ready to go."

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