By no means is Eric Crume small. His menacing 305-pound frame stands out right away.
But according to the 6-foot junior defensive tackle, his teammates often jab at him for having short, “alligator-esque” arms. With 6-foot-4 Jay Bromley and 6-foot-5 John Raymon standing next to him on the line, the lighthearted teasing makes a little more sense.
“Everybody says I have short limbs,” Crume said, “so I’m just trying to be a technician and use the power and the strength I have.”
Power and strength aren’t issues at all, though. In fact, they’re Crume’s forte. His impressive physical build and improved technique make him an imposing threat for Syracuse. Working alongside Bromley the past three seasons has helped Crume overcome his short limbs.
This year he’ll be counted on as a staple of Syracuse’s defensive line.
“He’s still good,” Bromley said. “He’s still as strong as an ox, so that helps him out.”
Crume, who calls himself 6 feet, 1 inch despite the fact that his roster bio marks him at 6 feet and Bromley said he’s certainly no taller than that, only started playing football in high school. But once he started, Crume blazed through the competition in Detroit, earning recognition as a Division IV All-State selection.
He lined up at defensive tackle, defensive end and offensive guard, leading Detroit Central High School to three league championships. Crume was only a two-star recruit out of high school, and defensive line coach Tim Daoust said Crume got onto the field during his freshman year out of necessity.
Last season, as a sophomore, he saw time in 12 games. Everything started to click as Crume figured out how to use his semi-stocky build to his advantage.
“If he stands up he’s still as tall as the shortest offensive lineman,” Bromley said. “He has great leverage.”
Instead of lining up at pad level like most linemen, Crume starts out standing nearly straight up. He knives through offensive lines seamlessly and his physique doesn’t deter him from applying pressure on the quarterback.
Crume has big shoes to fill with the departure of Deon Goggins, but Daoust believes he will do just fine.
“Eric is a tough, hardworking kid,” Daoust said. “He fights for his position up there on the defensive line.”
Crume said playing for Daoust gets him fired up. The feisty, intense Daoust loses his voice with regularity. If Daoust could strap on pads and play, Crume said the coach would do so in a heartbeat.
“As a person you can get the best out of yourself,” Crume said, “but you need somebody to push you over the top.”
Perhaps Crume can complement Bromley to form a lethal one-two punch and push the Syracuse defensive line over the top. The duo has played together for two-plus years now and often practices together when Daoust drills the D-line.
When Crume warms up by reaching forward and grabbing a teammate’s shoulders with the opposite hand, Bromley is that teammate. When Crume pushes Orange mats forward in practice, he’s pushing them into Bromley’s gut. When he glides underneath the droopy trampoline in the end zone at practice, Bromley’s often by his side.
“It makes it easier for me,” Crume said, “and hopefully I make it easier on him by producing.”
Bromley cited Crume’s conditioning and pursuit of the ball as two of his strong suits. He also said Crume’s football IQ has gotten better every year and he’s now better at reading offenses.
Though he teases Crume, Bromley has nothing but love for his teammate. Crume has gotten used to the jokes and will be counted on to produce against Penn State on Saturday and for the rest of the season.
“It really doesn’t bother me,” Crume said, looking off into the distance. “I just tell them I get the job done, so it’s all fun and games.”
That is, until he gets on the field.
Published on August 26, 2013 at 11:14 pm
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