Interview: Talkin’ Quack w/ Andre Yruretagoyena

Talkin’ Quack with Andre Yruretagoyena  // @BigShaun & @WildKingdumb

‘Matter of Quack’ got to sit down and pick the brain of ex-Oregon football player and current amazing dude Andre Yruretagoyena (Prounounced: E-dru-etha-goyena).  We touched on topics ranging from his favorite times in uniform, to the great people who got him ready to put that uniform on.  Also some things most of us outsiders dont know from the worst place to play a road game to the best place to use the restroom.  (We never said we were high-class here.)  MoQ thanks Andre for taking time out of his day to drop some knowledge and talk a little quack.  Here we go…

MoQ:  How would you sum up your Oregon career as a player? 

Andre:  That’s a helluva stumper for the lead off. I joined the team at a special time which made my four years unreal. You learn a lot about yourself going through any sport at a collegiate level but the end result is truly rewarding.
The amount of time we dedicate to our studies paired with a full time job that is your sport is exhausting. However, if you can do that for four years, you can do anything. 

Most of my career was not in a starting role so I can’t really talk about that as much as some of my other teammates, but my brief time starting was a dream come true and the result of investing myself wholeheartedly into that program. Only thing I would have changed that year was I wish I could have played next to my boy (Tyler) Johnstone. 

Putting my time in Eugene into a few sentences is incredibly difficult because of how much you grow to love that place and everything all the amazing people involved in the athletic program do for you. It was an amazing learning experience and I am forever grateful for the people I spent those years around.

MoQ:  What was your favorite win of your Ducks career? Why? 

Andre:  My favorite win was the Rose Bowl against Florida State for obvious reasons. I’m not a fan of Jameis but I also don’t know him personally, so I would prefer not to judge too hard. He probably shouldn’t have played in that game but I’m glad he did because there was no excuse for the field day we had. I’m fairly certain that I could’ve lined up as a receiver and scored that day but I digress… what I’m trying to say is our offense played their asses off that and it was incredibly fun to watch/be a part of. The atmosphere of that stadium was nothing short of electric and incredible. Also, THIS was a product of that game.

MoQ:  Least and most favorite place you played a game? Why? 

Andre:  Least favorites: Huskie stadium and Boulder. Why: I have never felt more disrespected walking into a place to play a football game. I mean, I get the bitterness. I would be slightly bitter too if my team along with UCLA and USC were, “PREDICTED TO COMPETE FOR THE PAC” year in and out only to watch the season implode on itself. Anyways, it’s also my favorite place to win because sad panda huskies = another year of us being the better team. Why I don’t like playing at Boulder: the place is absolutely stunning and I would love to attend that school as a student but I don’t care what anyone says… that elevation is absolutely brutal to play in. I felt like I needed an oxygen tank after every play. 

MoQ:  Do you think the Oregon coaches set you up for success on and off the field? Why? 

Andre:  Absolutely. I’m not sure other athletic departments and coaching staffs are as dedicated to seeing their athletes succeed in sport and in life quite like the University of Oregon’s. You literally have to try to not succeed. Everything you need to do well is at your disposal, it is just a matter of you utilizing said resources.

As for the coaching staff I was playing for: it’s a good feeling knowing that you are playing for a head coach, position coach, etc that actually care about you. They make trips to campus to see if you’re in class, they let the trainers do their jobs and decide whether you are well enough to practice, and they encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try things. I knew that shortly after I met Coach Wood for the first time I was dealing with a real ass dude. He doesn’t beat around the bush or sugar coat things—which is a common trait amongst all of the coaches on that staff. That is a hard thing to find when you’re a kid in high school getting recruited by other universities. My second choice was USC but after I visited there I left feeling as if I had just hung out with a group of used car salesmen. I’m glad I stuck with my gut because they had some bigger fish to fry the following years. 

Chip, Wood, Helf, and Frost were the coaches I visited with during my recruitment and each of them encouraged me to visit other schools before making a decision. They know the facilities and gear are great recruiting tools but were more 
concerned with me being a good fit with the team, university, and Eugene. USC pulled the good ole, oh let’s whip out the recruiting board and show you that your name is at the top of our list for offensive linemen to make ya feel special, routine. However, my buddy visited them shortly after I did and saw his name at the top of their board as well and I was not naïve enough to get lost in that BS to begin with. That was back in 2011 though, different staff now so I have no idea what present day USC is like. I got sidetracked… sorry 🙂

MoQ:  Who is the most undervalued member of the Athletic/Oregon Staff? Why? 

Andre:  That is an incredibly difficult question to answer. There are so many moving parts to the program I feel that it’d be an insult to specify just one person (as corny as that may sound). If you take a step back from just the football team (roughly 105 players) and look at how many other sports there are with athletes that have similar needs to us it’s quite absurd what the coaching, training, academic, nutrition, administrative (eligibility, financial, etc) staffs have to go through to ensure we are able to compete. There will never be enough thank yous for those people because of the hard work they have to put in day in and out for us to play a sport. You don’t see a lot of these people but they are the real MVPs.

MoQ:  What would you consider a narrative about the Oregon program that people on the outside get wrong? 

Andre:  There is a lot more to my teammates (now former) and I than people assume. Despite all of the time we spend together, there is more substance than just football. I for one can’t stand when the only thing people talk to me about is football. That was the case in school and still is to this day. I get it though, that was once my life and I offer a firsthand perspective of that… but trust me when I say there’s a lot more to me than sports. We eat, sleep, and breathe it when we have to but when it’s time to unload, we do. 

I’m a very social dude and I love going out to meet new people. As a matter of fact, I made it a point to make a group of friends that weren’t athletes– or at least football players. That group of friends is very near and dear to me to this day and I share some of my best memories with them. The constant football conversations began to decrease once I hung out with my new group of bros because I wasn’t roaming around with a group of behemoth sized dudes at Taylor’s. Lastly, some of my teammates and I would tell people we were members of non-existent sports teams at the U of O. Examples: the equestrian team, the water polo team, or the curling team. To whom it may concern: if these are club teams I apologize and mean no offense 🙂

MoQ:  Best thing about the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex only players know about? 

Andre:  The bathrooms on the 4th and 5th floors… the coaches have some high tech toilets the players enjoy using J#Bidets4Dayz

MoQ:  Do you think NCAA Student-Athletes should be paid? Why? 

Andre:  Time to stir the pot! Yes, I whole-heartedly do. I am also pro walk-ons getting as many benefits as they possibly can until the program can offer a scholarship. Let me preface my entire explanation with: I AM INCREDIBLY LUCKY AND GRATEFUL FOR EVERYTHING I RECEIVED AS A STUDENT-ATHLETE.I am well aware of the other full-time students working jobs as well. We all have our struggles and are responsible for taking care of them. With that being said (and to reiterate), I am truly grateful for the full ride scholarship and other benefits I received as a Student-Athlete. However, NOT ALL SPORTS OFFER THE SAME BENEFITS AS FOOTBALL. Some people had parents to help, others did not. I always could have used more money to stay afloat but I was lucky to get what I got in the first place. I’d prefer that all Student-Athletes receive full ride scholarships to make things equal across the board but that is incredibly expensive.
As for the absurd amount of money the NCAA makes off of its athletes and fail to share the love: it’s fine… I didn’t want Chipotle anyways. 
For those that do not share my view on all Student-Athletes getting compensated: I challenge you to live a month in the shoes of any athlete while they are in season. Offseason isn’t much easier but you don’t have as many meetings or as much additional film study as you do in season. Furthermore, you work a job. So do we. It’s our sport and we have the added bonus of breaking our bodies down day in and out. Yes, I know, nobody is forcing us to play but why turn down the opportunity to play a sport you love? (For a school you love too). 

MoQ:  I know you sold some Oregon gear to pay for travel. Of what you kept, how often do you wear the Jordan’s and other “valuable” shoes and Ducks gear?

Andre:  Let me start this off with I love being able to experience new things. I also enjoy materialistic things but a life dedicated to sports limits your free time when it comes to experiences in other geos. We had a lot of great shoes given to us and I did enjoy them all. Unfortunately, I’m a simple dude when it comes to shoes. I wear Chucks until they’re falling apart. I’m starting to dabble in more shoes to wear so I can fit in with the cool kids. Anyways, I sold all of my Jordan’s, a lot of my cleats, other shoes, clothes, jerseys, etc and still have giant boxes filled with Oregon gear.

*But wait, save it all and give it to your kids when you’re old*

A. Post-grad had I not sold a lot of my gear, I wouldn’t have known what to do with all of it in the first place.
B. I love traveling. I got to go to Europe (something I’ve never done) because of the money I made from selling stuff and had the time of my life
C. Who am I to hold onto so much stuff I’ll never wear again? There are plenty of Duck fans who want legit gear and if I feel that I have too much, I’ll do what any normal person would do with extra belongings: get rid of it.
D. I will never sell a ring or any of my bowl jerseys because those are what I hold close to my heart in my time as a Duck. Those rings represent the seasons I grinded through with the guys and I don’t need 5952935.352 pounds of excessive clothing to tell me that.

MoQ:  Now that you are retired from football, do you still watch Duck games? If so, whats your SAT routine?

Andre:  I’ve never been a big spectator of sports so I struggle watching any sporting event haha. But now that I work Wednesday-Sunday the games are on in my office and I watch all the games.

MoQ:  Have any closing thoughts for Duck fans out there?

Andre:  Closing remark would be to realize programs do have buildings years that don’t always feed the results the fan base expects. I feel like they forget we’re a very young team and that the years of a Heisman winning quarterback have passed us. That type of talent isn’t always at our disposal but there’s a process to this whole thing. Give it time.

Make sure to follow Andre on twitter (@Haramdre) and Instagram (@ayruretagoyena)


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