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Cal Football Interview: Zach Yenser, New Offensive Line Coach

Coach Yenser chats with our own Lindsay Brauner to discuss the current state of the offensive line and his favorite parts about the Bay Area. Is he allowed to answer "all of it?"

Thanks to Leland Wong for transcribing!

Lindsay Brauner (LB): Hi, it's Lindsay Brauner, here with Coach Yenser; thanks so much for joining us.

Zach Yenser (ZY): Thank you for having me.

LB: How did practice go for you tonight?

ZY: Pretty good. It was a short practice because there's such a quick turnaround tomorrow, but it was good. Our guys competed well up-front and we got better. That's the bottom line, so that's always a positive.

More Lindsay interviews with coaches: Sonny Dykes Mike Montgomery Rob Likens Pierre Ingram Likens & Yenser

LB: You coach some of the biggest guys on the field; how is that for you and how are they comparing to some of the guys you used to coach?

ZY: Well, even the guys at Louisiana Tech were some big boys. Up-front you've got to recruit big boys. Here, the special thing about this group is they're extremely coachable. Obviously they're huge and they're big guys, but they are a group that wants to get better--they're determined to get better and they've proven that. Ever since we've gotten here, they've bought into everything we've told them and they are ready to rock and it's fun to coach them because they're just so coachable.

LB: Sonny Dykes's brand of offense is known for its pace. How are the biggest guys on the field adjusting to that fast-paced offense?

ZY: Well, we established that [on] the first meeting we ever had--our goal is to be the number-one, best-conditioned offensive line in the Pac-12 and that's our number-one goal. They've been working in the weight room towards it and out on the field on extra stuff. Everything they do is with that mentality. We have to be the best-conditioned offensive line because that's the whole point of this offense--the tempo. We wear people down and just pound and pound and pound and they've bought into it. Obviously, being the biggest guys up-front, they've done an unbelievable job to get into shape and they know they have a long way to go, but they've done an outstanding job so far.

Coming into it, you always know the offensive line is a special group; they're a different group. They have different personalities from outgoing to guys who don't say anything, but they're usually always great kids. This group is unbelieveable students and it's really fun to be around them. It's really cool.

LB: How do you have to adjust as the coach when your guys have a range of personalities--the guys who are more laidback and more shy and the guys who are really outgoing?

ZY: I don't know. I've always had the approach of just being myself no matter what and the guys kind of take to it. You gotta respect every single one of them no matter what. You gotta treat the guys how they want to be treated. That is the one thing I've learned in this business--it's not treating people how you want to be treated, it's treating them how they want to be treated and that's just [for] life in general. Treat people how they want to be treated and everyone wants to be treated differently. You just gotta learn their personalities, how they are, and what makes them tick and what [doesn't] and just go from there.

LB: What's your favorite thing you've done in Berkeley so far?

ZY: Me and [Running backs] Coach [Pierre] Ingram got the chance about a month ago to go over to San Quentin Prison with a couple of kids from South Central LA and [Assistant Director of Player Personnel/Community Relations Coordinator] Kevin Parker, he took us over there. You always see San Quentin on National Geographic Channel, but to be there with those kids and listen to their stories and listen to prisoners talk to them was a pretty cool experience. But, in Berkeley, I love to eat, so my goal is to just try everything I can. I guess last night we went to, uh, is it Bobby G's pizza?

LB: I'm gluten-free, so..

ZY: Well, I'm not! But that was pretty good last night. I don't know... I'm going to say the coolest place is where I live. I live above the stadium in the hills, or whatever, so I walk out on my deck and I see Alcatraz, I see the Golden Gate Bridge, I see everything everyday and it's like, "do I really live here?" It's pretty cool. It really is.

LB: That is! Well, it's getting pretty late and we are the last people on the field. Thank you so much for joining me.

ZY: Thank you so much.

LB: I'll talk to you soon.

ZY: Have a good night.

LB: You too.

LB: Um... shoot! I just forgot the next question!

ZY: Ha!

LB: Man! It was a really good one, too.

ZY: That's okay. Well, was it about football?

LB: Yeah, it was about football.

ZY: Um...

LB: Can you tell me something really cool about football?

ZY: Yeah! The great thing about this offense is that I actually played in this offense, which is pretty cool to be able to coach in it now. I played for [Offensive Coordinator Tony] Franklin, so that's my relationship with him. From playing in it to now coaching it is a huge advantage, I think.