Frank Crum is only in his second year with the University of Wyoming football team, but two key events have been vital to where he is now as an offensive tackle.
The Laramie High graduate was like most of his classmates in UW’s 2018 recruiting class in their first year – playing on the scout team simulating the opponents’ offense for the Cowboys’ defense.
During that time, some pain developed in Crum’s left knee. In the offseason, he had surgery to repair his meniscus.
That forced Crum to miss spring practice, or at least that was the plan. But as his rehab progressed and injuries mounted throughout the offensive line, Crum received some reps near the end to show what he could do for first-year offensive line coach Bart Miller.
“That was huge,” Crum said.
Added Miller: “It was big for him in terms of being able to understand techniques because we changed a lot of things, especially in our pass protections. To go out and execute that against people, and even in drills, was huge for him.”
That was the first key time for Crum. The second came over the summer when fully healthy, he was able to go through his first full session of summer workouts with UW’s strength and conditioning staff. Crum went through that last summer, but newcomers don’t go through the same program for as long of a time as those already on the team.
“I came in (as a true freshman) at 270 pounds, and now I am in the low 300s,” Crum said. “That’s a good benchmark to reach when you start getting up there with the starters. Now it is time to put that production on the field.”
Crum’s work has put himself in position to play this season. UW looks to be set in terms of the starters in sophomore Rudy Stofer on the left side and junior Alonzo Velazquez at right tackle. Velazquez is coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss UW’s final seven games.
Depth behind Stofer and Velazquez is thin, but Crum is in that mix. His progress has pleased Miller and sixth-year coach Craig Bohl.
“(Crum) has come on strong and earned the right to get some looks,” Miller said. “What’s good about (Crum) is his ability to play on both sides.”
Added Bohl: “I would say he is ahead of what we normally would have thought. He is a smart guy. He is almost 6-foot-8, and put on some good weight. He had a good summer and it has showed (in fall camp).”
Crum is pleased with what he has done over the past year, but not satisfied.
“I’m never settled with where I am,” he said. “I always want to try and get to that next level. My mentality is to keep working. The goal is to play. I am a lot stronger now than I was before the surgery.
“Nothing is ever locked down. I want to keep working, keep grinding and try to get one of those (tackle spots).”
Crum is the third generation in his family to play for UW.
His father, Gary, was an offensive lineman from 1979-81, a team captain as a senior in 1981 and earned All-Western Athletic Conference honors that year. Crum’s grandfather, Earl, lettered for the Cowboys in 1940.
“That was more of a thing when I signed,” Crum said of his family legacy at UW. “Since I got here I’ve been on my own journey. I am proud to play for this school, and it is cool that my dad and grandfather did, too, but I try not to get caught up in all that.”