They called him “King Stout” last year because of his size and strength. This year David DeCastro is ready to lead the charge in the middle of the Stanford football offensive line. The redshirt sophomore enters his second season in the starting line up for the Cardinal in what is expected to be a very good offensive line. With four starters returning, the line should be a strength for the team and one of the reasons that a running game that loses Toby Gerhart is not expected to drop off too much.
I talked with DeCastro after practice on Tuesday.
Q: It is week two of camp, how is it going?
It is going great. I am really enjoying it. The third time around is probably the best. You know what is coming. You are not too worried about it. You are more worried about technique and not about messing up. The team is looking good, guys are coming along. It is good.
Q: How is your personal progression, what are you working on this camp?
Trying to use my hands a lot more and use them a lot better. I am just focusing on progressing with my technique each day and each practice and not just going through the motion. Make sure I am focusing on doing something every day.
Q: Talk about the competition going on, on your right side (right tackle). It is one of the more heated battles of camp, what do you see?
It is going really well. Guys are pushing each other every day, every practice and that is what we need. It is exciting to watch.
Q: On your left side you have four returning starters including yourself, we anticipate a great offensive line, talk about the guys you are playing out there with for a second season?
We have some great guys. You have Chase Beeler and Andy Phillips, veteran guys, old guys, that you really look up to. They do a great job of leading the group and getting us going. They are vocal leaders. It is really nice to have them. Next year will be kind of weird without them but I am just focusing on this year. They are doing a great job.
Q: And Jonathan Martin at tackle?
He is a special talent as you know. He is real athletic, great body, a typical left tackle body type. He is going to be special player.
Q: I am guessing that there is not a lot of talk about it now, but when I look at you I see four guys that will get a shot on Sundays when you are done at Stanford, is that how you feel about each other?
We see that in each other but I don’t think we really focus on it. We are so focused on the next practice. You just try to zone it out. People say stuff, I am like, I am here. We have practice tomorrow. It is like Coach Harbaugh preaches, don’t worry about that.
Q: Talk about the chemistry. You set records for your running game last year. With all due respect to Toby and Andrew (Luck), they don’t do much if they are getting knocked down all the time. Talk about the bonding experience for the offensive line?
It is a pretty special bond with all the guys. Toby was a pretty special player. I am going to give him a lot of the credit. But we have some good guys. We care about each other. You want to do your job for the guy next to you because you don’t want to let them down. It is a special bond.
Q: Have you been paying attention to who is running the ball behind you in camp?
Whoever has the ball we are going to try and give them the best opportunity possible to get as much yardage as they can.
Q: Talk about Andrew Luck. As you look back from last year to this year, talk about the leadership he is taking of the team?
Not like he was not a leader last year, but it was different. He was a little more quiet last year. This year is completely different. He has taken over the team. He has got it all. He has the leadership. He has the mental, the physical, all the talent and the leadership ability. Whether it was player practices in the summer or even now in the huddle, getting us going and getting us in the right mindset, he is doing great.
Q: I would guess in practice the first team offensive line is usually going against the second team defense, tell me about some of the guys on the other side of the ball that you are working against?
You have Terrance Stephens. He is a really good nose tackle. He is a really strong guy. Ben Gardner is really quick. Josh Mauro too. He is playing with the ones a bit too. They are all quick. There is no let down from ones to twos.
Q: This is your third camp, but you are less than year removed from your division one football debut on the field, do you think about how far you have come in less than 12 months?
You can watch it when you look at films. On plays from last year you say wow what was I doing? But that is what happens when it is your first few games. You are kind of freaking out. You don’t really know what is going on. It is all a blur. Now it has settled down. Now you know what is going on. You don’t have to worry about it too much.