Pre-Duke Interview: David Yankey

Talk about being thrown into the fire. Sophomore offensive lineman David Yankey earned his first collegiate start, the first meaningful playing time of his Cardinal career, on Saturday. The kicker? It was at guard, a position Yankey had never previously played, save for a few reps in spring practice.

David Yankey, who made the transition from right tackle to left guard after former starter Kevin Danser was sidelined with dehydration, spoke to The Bootleg after practice on Wednesday. He discussed his position switch, the San Jose State game, and returning to the East Coast to take on Duke.

The Bootleg: Obviously you were working at tackle for most of the summer before being moved to guard. How did you get approached about making that switch?
David Yankey: I was in the competition for right tackle and Danser was out for a couple of days. I had repped guard a little bit in the spring, just because I was able to some, and with Danser being out for so long, they put me there and gave me a chance to play.

TB: In high school did you only play tackle?
DY: Yes sir, I've only played tackle before.

TB: So this was your first extended experience at guard, but it seems like you were able to adjust to it pretty quickly?
DY: Umm, it's still an ongoing process, but I've got a lot of guys to help me. I've got Jonathan Martin next to me make calls, Sam Schwartzstein on the other side making calls, both senior, veteran guys.

TB: What is the biggest difference between playing guard and tackle?
DY: I'd have to say it's definitely more congested at guard. I've got guys on either side of me. Usually I'll be working on some kind of double team or up to a linebacker, as opposed to tackle, where I'm kind of out on an island.

TB: Now if I remember correctly, you played a few snaps last season as a true freshman before getting hurt?
DY: Yes sir.

TB: What exactly was the injury?
DY: I injured a ligament in my foot, I can't recall the name of it right now.

TB: When were you finally back to full health from that?
DY: I wasn't back to full health until the end of the season. I wasn't able to play, so I medically redshirted.

TB: What was it like to make your first college start on Saturday?
DY: IT was definitely really exciting. Nervous, butterflies and all that, just trying to focus on assignments and executing everything and doing well.

TB: How do you feel everything went for you?
DY: It went alright. Like I said earlier, luckily I have Moose and Sam, older guys, trying to cover up my mistakes a little bit, remind me everything when I'm a little out there, but it was pretty good. I have to get better.

TB: Obviously there's a little bit of a learning curve for you at guard, but was there anything in particular that you feel you need to improve on?
DY: Definitely double teams on power, got to get the gap game going because that's the signature of our offense, that's what Coach Shaw always wants, we have to physically dominate other people, so that would be the gap game in general.

TB: Do you feel comfortable at guard moving forward? Do you think this is where you'll stick long term or is that just not even in your hands, don't think about it?
DY: I have no idea. Where the coaches put me I'm trying to play.

TB: With you guys heading to Duke, I know in your recruitment they were probably the main competitor to Stanford, is there anything a little bit extra special for you going back there?
DY: It will be nice being back on the East Coast, my family will get to be at the game, some friends, but other than that, I'm just approaching it as a regular game. We're excited to go and play a great competitor and hopefully we'll do what we do.

TB: I know you're familiar with it, but any concern among the team because of the extreme heat and humidity and everything?
DY: Definitely. There's always that concern, so Coach Shaw and all of the coaches have been on us to hydrate, hydrate all week, not starting Friday, but starting now.

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