Friday, August 15, 2008

Crum named Cowboys starting QB

Richard Anderson photos
Dax Crum, pictured Wednesday before the scrimmage at War Memorial Stadium, was named the Wyoming starting quarteback on Friday over incumbent Karsten Sween (below).

By Richard Anderson

For much of his career, Dax Crum has enjoyed success -- first at Horizon High School in Phoenix and then at Mesa Community College.

In other words, he has always been “the man.”

In high school, Crum passed for over 4,000 yards and was named First Team All-State and Desert Valley Region Player of the Year.

After leaving Arizona State after one redshirt season, Crum earned Honorable Mention National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-America honors and was named the NJCAA Co-Region I Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Western States Football League at Mesa Community College.

The past six months as a Cowboy has been laborious for Crum. But he’s “the man” again after being named the starting quarterback for Wyoming on Friday for the season opener against Ohio.

“I think this entire process humbled me a little bit,” Crum said Friday after practice. “It was arduous the last six months not knowing what was going to happen. I feel really proud to have this opportunity and I am going to make the best of it.”

Crum was picked over incumbent starter, junior Karsten Sween. After Crum came to Wyoming last semester, he and Sween had battled through spring drills and in the first two weeks of fall practices.

“It has been a battle, and we feel we have two very good quarterbacks,” Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said. “But at this point, we have to get one guy ready for the opener against Ohio. Dax will get the start, but Karsten needs to stay sharp and I know he will. We feel good about both of them.”

First-year offensive coordinator Bob Cole said after practice on Friday that it came down to who they felt would move the football the most. Crum did that a little more than Sween Wednesday during the first major scrimmage.

“The way the scrimmage was structured, with the ball being placed on the opposite 25-yard line, that was pretty much my stupid idea to put the offense in the hole every time we went out on the field,” Cole said. “The reason for that, I wanted to see which three or four guys could drive down the field without making mistakes and get us in scoring position.”

Crum was just 4 of 7 passing for 33 yards, but he had a 10-play drive that resulted in a missed field goal and a 12-play drive that was capped by a field goal.

Sween was just 2 of 2 passing for 14 yards and had one fumble. He is 343-for-571 for 3,342 yards in 21 games in his career, but has 25 interceptions to his 21 touchdowns.

Sween said he is frustrated in the decision, but will be a team player.

“I thought I had a good scrimmage for what I had given me. But like I said before, I support the coaches’ decision,” Sween said. “I’m getting ready for Ohio and I have to be ready to play. There are a number of things that could happen that would put me in the game. I’m just getting ready. I’ll take fewer reps in practice because Dax is getting ready. But I have to stay sharp to go in, whenever that might be.”

Cole said that coming up with the decision was not an easy thing for him to do.

“I didn’t have a whole lot of fun yesterday, calling those guys in one at a time, talking, especially Karsten. He’s such a great guy and a mature person,” Cole said. “He handled it like a great person would handle it. He said, ‘I’ll do anything for the team, that’s your decision. I’m disappointed, but I’m here for the Cowboys 100 percent.’ I have all of the respect in the world for him.”

Crum said that he thinks the coaches believe he gives the Cowboys the best chance to win. “That’s the main thing,” he said. “I’m just blessed and this is just a dream come true for me.”

Wyoming senior running back Devin Moore said it is important for the team to know who is going to be their starting quarterback.

“We know who the coaches are behind and where their heads are and what type of leader this guy is,” Moore said. “We’re happy with the decision and we’re behind him 100 percent.”

Crum will get most of the reps during practice.

“As a starter for any of the 1s, they have to get the bulk of the reps because they are the guys in their fighting,” Crum. “It might not be fair for everybody, but that is how it has to be to get ready to win against Ohio.”

While Glenn, Cole and Sween have all maintained that Sween has to be ready to play as the backup, Crum said he won’t look over his shoulder and worry about not getting the job done.

“Even if you are a returning starter, you have to perform,” Crum said. “I’m not really trying to worry about that; I’m going out there to try my hardest and execute. I’m not trying to think about any of the negatives right now.”

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