Another in a series from our friends at Mighty Oregon. An interview with senior offensive lineman, Carson York
By Dusty Ritter
Carson York has been a cornerstone of Oregon’s offensive line for the last four years. From his debut as a redshirt freshman through his senior year, his intelligence and strength have left a pervasive influence on his fellow Ducks. After suffering a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the 2012 season, he moved from a “coach on the field” to working the sideline; never giving up that leadership role.
Coming out of high school, York was a SuperPrep All-American and a four-star recruit. He was the state of Idaho’s top recruit and one of the best offensive linemen in the country. His Lake City High Timberwolves went a perfect 12-0, and won the 5A State Championship.
As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Carson started in twelve of thirteen games for Oregon. He earned First-Team Pac-10 All-Academic honors along with Freshman All-American honors and finished the season with a total of 41 pancake blocks.
In 2010, York was again First-Team All Pac-10 and All-Academic honors; a rare feat. Carson led Oregon’s number one overall scoring offense and the nation’s top running back (LaMichael James) to the BCS Title Game. 2011 brought more of the same for York as he earned Capital One academic All-America second team, starting in all 14 games.
2012 brings an end to Carson York’s stellar Oregon career. His place in the classroom and on the field will always be remembered as truly motivational and admirable.
Q and A:
MO: What was your first love in sports?
CY: Soccer, I guess. I played every sport I could as soon as you could sign me up. Back home, the first sport you could sign up for was either soccer or t-ball.
MO: How did high school football go for you?
CY: Senior year we went undefeated and won the state championship. High school was awesome, and it’s amazing how much an Idaho State Championship means to you when you’re 18-years old. At that time, it was the highlight of my life.
MO: Who were the teams recruiting you, and what made you choose Oregon?
CY: Most of the schools from the Pac-10 except for USC. My final two schools were Oregon and Stanford. Even if I had the chance to go back, I wouldn’t trade this degree for a Stanford degree at all. I fell into a (academic) program I love with awesome professors.
MO: How would you describe your career at Oregon?
CY: Amazing. I came here because I thought this was the best football experience I could have. At the time, Oregon had been in the Fiesta Bowl and Holiday Bowls, but we’ve since won three straight conference championships, going to two Rose Bowls, and the National Championship game. It’s been absolutely amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
MO: How is Steve Greatwood as a coach?
CY: Coach Greatwood is the best offensive line coach in the country. We’ve got a bunch of talented young kids now, we’ve been surviving for years with just a bunch of ugly old guys that aren’t very good (laughs). He turned us into functional football players, which I’m not sure anyone else could have done.
MO: How hard was it to learn this system?
CY: From a responsibility standpoint, it’s not that hard. From a mental mindset, it’s a lot harder. You’ve got to play harder for longer here than anywhere else, and you’ve got to embrace the chaos because you don’t have time to get all of your bearings about you.
MO: When you’re at the line of scrimmage what are you looking for and what are your responsibilities?
CY: Here we’ve got to do everything a lot faster. First thing we do is just get lined up and go. If we can run a play before the defense is lined up then we just kind of feel it out on the run. Sometimes it works well, other times it doesn’t. We just try to get everyone on the same page and just go.
MO: What do you do for fun other than football?
CY: Grad school takes up a lot of time. I like to go fishing, I like to go snowboarding and just be outside. I try to spend time with my friends, but free time is hard to come by.
MO: What would people be surprised to know about you?
CY: Growing up I was a pig farmer. First car was from the money I made raising pigs. We had a few acres so I made some money every year in 4-H selling pigs at the fair.
MO: What has been your personal highlight so far?
CY: My redshirt freshman year we beat USC on Halloween and that was the greatest thing ever. We just went out there and whooped them. We ran the same play fifty-five times
right down their throat. We beat them by nearly 30 points. That was probably the most electric atmosphere I’ve ever been in at Autzen.
MO: Thoughts on the future of this program and the development of incoming players?
CY: I don’t really know how to describe in words what has happened here in the last five years from a college standpoint, and what the soul of this team has become. We don’t win because we’re the most talented team in the conference. We win because of who this team is. It’s not any one person, and I think as long as we keep a core group of coaches and leaders while passing that down to each other, this program will keep doing the same things it’s been doing for as long as that flame burns in the team.
Coach Steve Greatwood’s comments on Carson:
MO: How has Carson developed in his time at Oregon?
SG: He’s like a coach on the field. As an athlete, he’s gotten himself to the physical stature that he needs to be at to compete at a consistent level here. He did a great job in the weight room getting his body ready and off the field in the classroom Carson has always carried around a 4.0.
MO: What are his strengths and what stands out about him?
SG: Just his overall dedication, knowledge, his fundamental base in the game of football. His self-discipline in life helps him tremendously.
MO: What impact will he leave on this program?
SG: His stamp is how to prepare yourself week in and week out mentally and physically. I hope what he leaves behind for younger players is that this is something you have to work hard at every day.
Mighty Oregon Reporter Dusty Ritter has been a Duck fan since he was ten years old, and started writing at a local newspaper when he was only fifteen. His favorite Duck football moment was in 2003 vs. Cal when the lights went out at Autzen stadium with Oregon behind, but the Ducks beat Aaron Rodgers and crew in a dramatic comeback fashion. Now, age 21, he attends Oregon games and plans on studying journalism at the U of O.
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