Q&A with Frosh OL Wade Yandall

Wade Yandall, the redshirt freshman offensive lineman, talked to us about being ready for fall camp, the opportunity he has with the losses on the offensive line, the impact of Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson, and more...

The redshirt freshman offensive lineman, Wade Yandall, talked to us about the upcoming fall camp.

BRO: Well, let's get right to it. Come fall camp, with the injuries and Stan Hasiak leaving the program, you're going to have to be in a pretty prominent position. You ready to play some football?

WY: Yeah, it's something that happened, but when the opportunity comes up, you have to take advantage of it, so it's a big opportunity for me to do what I have to do and play up to the expectations everybody has for me and for the program so we can do good this year. I don't want to lose any more.

BRO: How ready do you feel for this challenge?

WY: I think I'm pretty confident. I just have to make sure I get my workouts. I still have to drop some weight – I want to drop down to 310. I'm at 320 right now. I was 3-, like 335, before the summer started. So, I've been doing pretty good on that, but I've still got a long ways to go because we're going to run that no-huddle and that's going to be monstrous. You definitely have to be fit for that and Coach (Mike) Johnson told us to come ready because as soon as we hit camp we're going and we're not stopping. I'm pretty confident, but at the same time I'm just trying to make sure I do what I have to do in workouts and running and all that so I'm ready … really ready for it.

BRO: Has the weight been coming off like you would expect. Any problems there?

WY: I mean, it's going down pretty good to me. But this week I've been doing pretty bad because I've been low on money so I've been eating like fast food and stuff because I'm trying to budget and that's the cheapest stuff. I kind of maintained this week. I haven't lost any weight this week. But I just got some money from my parents so I've been eating healthier. I feel I'm going to be able to drop the last 10 pounds before camp – we've got two or three weeks – so I'm definitely going to be there. I just want to be solid and lean, athletic.

BRO: Seeing you out on the field during the PRPs, you are tighter, leaner than you were a year ago.

WY: Yeah, I remember last year, man. It was tough. It was. Spring ball my freshman year, I just remember getting tossed around.

BRO: Well, let's go through that process, because you did come in early for spring football, then went through your redshirt season. That first spring, just a total shock to the system?

WY: To be honest, yes. When I came here, I was not expecting to go against a Nate Chandler. Nate is a strong dude. He's so explosive, and they were putting me against him every day, during 1-on-1s, when we were running plays in team. I feel like he made me better and at the same time, I made him better, because as the year progressed, I got compliments out of them when I was on scout team … it was like, man, keep making us work, you're doing a real good job. I'm just trying to keep that working mentality on because the workouts here, Coach (Mike) Linn definitely gets us right.

BRO: You must feel like you've put the work in to be ready for this opportunity.

WY: Definitely. It kind of sucks because I've had some dumb injuries, like just freak accidents. I had a concussion during spring ball, the last practice. That was unfortunate. I ended up being out for a month because, I was out for one week and tried to come back, but when I went to work out I got light-headed really easily. All my symptoms came back. I couldn't read and stuff, so the doctors kept me out for another two, three weeks, so all of my (weight lifting) numbers dropped lately, but I'm definitely gaining it back quick. For me, the most important thing for me is stamina. That no-huddle, to be able to go …

BRO: Let's talk about that offense. Last year you obviously ran the ball well, but …

WY: Coach Johnson – great offensive coordinator. That dude knows what he wants in an offense and he's expecting us to do it. And he said, if we can't do it he's going to find guys that can. He's pushing us to get better. And with Coach (Jim) Mastro from Nevada, he knows the running game. He's like our second offensive line coach, because he's over there while we're doing our drills because he's with the tight ends and he's making sure we step right, we've got the right gaps, we know who we're reading to and all the schemes that go into the Pistol and the zone plays. I think it's going to be crazy this year, and then at the same time we've incorporated the passing game. I think the pass game is definitely going to help out our run game, too. Coach Johnson and Coach Mastro, they know what they're doing.

BRO: Coach Johnson has you guys doing more, too. Before, when your part of the meeting was done you'd go get ready for practice, whatever, but now you're in there the whole time …

WY: We're sitting through meetings, we're in there with the whole offense. We've got to know the defense, we've got to make sure we can read the linebacker, the way they line up, see if they're coming or not. We've got to be able to read the defense as well as the quarterback, but then they took a lot of pressure off of us with the quarterback calling it out, really, and then telling us the protection he wants us to go to. That's pretty good. And, this year, we don't have a lot of slide protections, so we all just get the guy in the next gap and let the running back get the last guy. He wants all of us to block a dude one on one and it's actually gotten us a lot better with our pass pro. It's been pretty good.

BRO: How much of a difference do you think that's going to make?

WY: It just gives you a key, like, who you're supposed to get. He pairs up everybody. It makes it a lot easier because we know who we have to get and so we don't really have to worry about a gap, we have a man and we block him. I mean, it's still man to area, but just knowing that we have to key in one someone that makes it easier.

BRO: I would think as a lineman you would relish those match ups and grinding on them all game long, too …

WY: Yeah. I mean, one on one is pretty tough when you're going against a pretty good defensive lineman, especially in D-1 football, there are a lot of crazy athletes on the d-line. But it's definitely something you relish when you can beat the guy. Definitely.

BRO: Still, it's a lot more than what you were used to …

WY: From high school? Shoot, high school, we really didn't have as many calls. We had a guy. My coach called it man-area, and here we have all these numbers and everything that I've never experienced, like, we have the four down lineman and the Will (linebacker) on certain protections … in high school I was like, I have the end, and that's it. I've learned so much more. The numbers and a turn protection, a slide protection, it was crazy trying to soak it all up. But I've been able to do that, just try to become a student of the game as well. I feel like I'm a fast learner and that's what I was when I got here. I know all the plays, it's just sometimes, I don't know, there's a question sometimes, like, who do I get on this play? But , I mean, when you know your stuff that's when the confidence goes with you and that's when you play faster. I like to play smart.

BRO: You do have that base under you know, having been here for two springs, ran with the scout team last year. You're still just a redshirt freshman, but you must have that confidence that you can step in and really play.

WY: Do I have that confidence? Yeah. Last year I was going against a starting defensive line in a college program every day and it was crazy how we had to run the offense of the opposing school every week. It was something we had to pick up real quick – we had to pick up their tendencies, the way Stanford used to shift all the time, I mean, it was just a constant learning process. You keep learning. Just the practices from last year and spring ball, I definitely feel confident going into this year. I know the coaches are looking at me for a reason. They wouldn't give me a chance if I wasn't ready, so I'm going to make sure I'm going to do everything they ask of me because this is definitely an opportunity for me, a huge one, to just get out there and basically shine this year, put my name out there.

BRO: Think about it, and there aren't a lot of linemen out there that can play four years. It takes a lot of guys time to build up to that …

WY: Exactly. A lot of them play their junior year, their senior year, because there are men out there. I'm still a teenager. I'm 19. But at the same time, they call it growing up … grow up. That's what they always tell me – Wade, we need you to grow up fast – and so I'm just taking everything in, as much as I can, and I have a really good chance of playing this year. It's crazy how fast it came. But, just like I said many times, I've just got to do what I have to do.

BRO: Yeah, 19. You must not feel 19 – it seems like you've been here for a while …

WY: I don't feel 19 at all. Even the older guys on the team, they're like, man, dude, I feel like you've been here since I was here. I'm just like, I've only been here for a year and a half now. It's my second year, but I'm nowhere near your age. But, I don't feel like I'm 19, because over here, you've really got to grow up fast. When you come here, you're on your own. You don't have your parents, so basically you turn it to a young man. That's what's been happening.

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