April 7, 2009
Yancy happy to be back and contributing
Austin Yancy watched in frustration as Stanford lost close games to UCLA and Oregon, denying the teams a bowl-eligible win.
Yancy doesn't say his play would have meant victory but after starting all 12 games in 2007 not contributing was a hard pill to swallow.
"It was real tough, watching the games on TV not being able to be with the team," Yancy said. "And losing so many close games. It hurts not to be a part of it, to feel like you could have helped a play there, help on a play there. Just to contribute on some play you know.
A hamstring injury is one of the most frustrating injuries there is to an athlete, there is no timetable, no goal date that can be set for return.
"It was pretty frustrating but there was nothing you can really do so you just have to wait it out," Yancy said. "The toughest part was not having the certainty of it, whereas a break they would know it is this many weeks, hamstrings are different from person to person."
With his hamstring fully healed Yancy is enjoying a productive spring. At first he was schedule to miss all of session one but came back earlier. And with Delano Howell out with an injury, Yancy is working with the first team.
"I think this spring is going pretty well," Yancy said. "It feels good to be back out there after so long but it's been a lot of fun to play football again. We have been improving."
After starting 12 games at strong safety Yancy is now manning the free spot.
"I'm playing free right now, we have to know both positions," Yancy said. "And all the DB's have to know all the positions because we could line up at any spot on any given play."
The Cardinal pass defense was porous last season against the pass, finishing ninth in the Pac-10. And that is not always the sole fault of the secondary, many factors can contribute to a solid pass defense, but Yancy knows the secondary must improve.
"Our coaches always told us last year, especially our DB coach, coach White, if we take care of everything on the back end we'll be fine," Yancy said. "Our front seven and the way they can rotate is getting better and so strong. This defense is if we take care of the deep ball, take care of our deep end we will be fine. And we didn't do that in all of the game. We knew it was a point last year but we didn't finish and get it done.
"That always been a main focus here, and even more so now, because we've seen what happened in the close games. We should have been in places we weren't."
With a healthy Yancy, Howell coming over from the offense, and Michael Thomas now full-time at cornerback, the defensive backfield has several new faces joining Bo McNally, Corey Gatewood and Kris Evans.
"I like our group, we are pretty tight knit and now what the other one is doing," Yancy said. "And that helps so much, we don't have to talk as much because we know where the other one will be."
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