Yankey: A Rager in the End Zone

Yankey wants to "physically dominate"

David Yankey is polite, soft-spoken even. Jonathan Martin carried himself with a similar demeanor, and he was one pick away from being a first-round pick. Those in the know say Yankey may project as a better pro yet, but first there's the matter of another season or two on the Farm.

On the offensive line:
We've got four starters coming back. We lost Sam Schwartzstein, who directed the ship, but there are lots of guys who are competing at center. Conor McFadden, Khalil Wilkes, and the younger guys, all battling.

Outside, Andrus Peat is a great young tackle, as is Kyle Murphy, and then Josh Garnett and Johnny Caspers are great young guards who have made a lot of strides since the end of freshman season. Any of them could step on the field for us.

I ask about this offensive line's potential and whether it could compare to some of the great Stanford lines in recent years:
It definitely can. It's one of most talented lines we've had in a while, since David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin. It's similar in talent across the board. I'm excited to physically dominate.

Mike Bloomgren is an awesome coach, a hands-on coach. He has techniques he'd like us to use, but his thing is whatever you need to get the job done within rules of the game, I'm willing to let you try that [in practice, and prove that it can work in a game.] [Comment: This makes such sense to me. Everyone is different, so their techniques will naturally vary slightly. As long as it reliably works, no need to force players into preconceived molds].

I ask about breakout players:
Michael Rector, who you saw in the spring game, can have a great year as a deep threat. Luke Kaumatule you have heard a lot of talk about and he can make a lot of plays for us. On defense, Blake Martinez has been a great asset and that role should expand.

Yankey had praise for some of his other teammates too. In particular, former walk-on David Parry continues to shine:
On a play-by-play basis, [Parry] is one of the best nose tackles in the Pac-12, if not the nation. He's very talented, strong, physical and his technique is great.

Obviously, the rest of our defense is good as well. Henry Anderson is 285 and moving well. … A.J. Tarpley is really crafty, good at being slippery, and then Shayne is always a challenge obviously."

On personal goals: [To be] close to perfect, close to 100 percent. To make my block every play.

Quick takes on starting the season:

  • I'm excited to have three weeks in camp to get the pulling in.
  • It's really strange. We haven't had a bye week to start season before, so we'll watch everyone start. We'll be hanging out. I wish we could start earlier, but that's the way it goes. [Shaw echoed that a week one bye wasn't his preference either and only came out via an unfortunate confluence of events. Stay tuned].
  • San Jose State is a very good team. They're something we're definitely going to be ready for. I feel we didn't play our best game last year. That's an extremely good opponent week one. [Us media and fans pooh-poohed when the Stanford players and coaches heaped praise upon SJSU after Stanford's 20-17 victory last year. SJSU finished in the top-25, so maybe they were onto something].
  • There are lots of questions on offense this year as opposed to years past. We had good, proven tight ends leave, so it's time for tight ends to step up like Luke. We need wide receivers to step up too.

On a lighter note:

  • Last year, the defensive front seven popularized the "party in the backfield." Yankey thanks Coach Mike Sanford for coining the offensive equivalent, which is that the OL will have a "rager in the end zone."
  • The defense came from behind to win the "Fat Bowl", the offensive line/defensive line scrimmage, though Yankey thinks it was "definitely a game changer" that he wasn't able to participate. Jordan Watkins was the game's MVP.

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