Wyoming’s Frank Crum relishes new leadership role
LARAMIE -- Looking for a new house in Laramie?
We might know a guy.
Frank Crum doesn't just protect his quarterback from oncoming pass rushers and bowl over linebackers, paving the way for running backs, in his spare time, the junior is also a licensed real estate agent.
"It's a little side gig," the Laramie native said, flashing a smile. "Sold my first house last week."
Is that as exciting as dishing out punishment on the football field?
"I don't want to get too ahead of myself in my career, as far as getting into a professional career," he continued. "It's definitely exciting, but not a priority in my life."
Sorry, Real Estate 1, Craig Bohl needs to borrow the big right tackle for at least one more season.
Crum went from the local feel-good story to a veteran on the Cowboys' offensive line seemingly overnight. He appeared in all 12 games -- starting five -- as a redshirt freshman in 2019. The following season, with COVID-19 disrupting, well, everything, the 6-foot-7, 315-pounder was in the starting lineup for all six outings. That didn't change last year. Crum is the anchor of the right side of the line.
Despite being an entrenched starter, his head coach said one of Crum's best attributes is he certainly doesn't act like it.
"He has played an awful lot of football," Bohl said. "I think things would probably look fairly promising for him (to be a starter) but I can tell you he's not had a mentality of 'well, I've arrived.' I mean, he's got a really sharp edge and he's going out there and working really hard."
There's a reason for that.
"I'm stepping into more of a veteran role now, as one of the older guys," Crum said. "I would never say I've made it. I don't want that mentality. I want to be where my feet are. And man, like, the game of football, no one ever has it perfect. I think some people don't realize that. You've got to truly realize you can always get better at something and you can always critique yourself. I think if you know that, I mean, that's how progress happens is learning from the mistakes."
Crum hasn't made too many of those.
Though Wyoming's offense struggled with inconsistencies under first-year offensive coordinator Tim Polasek, mainly in the passing department, the Cowboys once again featured one of the top running attacks in the nation, averaging nearly 212 yards per game on the ground. That ranked 20th in the FBS out of 130 teams.
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Titus Swen, the team's top returning producer out of the backfield, averaged nearly six yards per carry.
You better believe the game plan this fall will revolve around him.
That's music to Crum's ears.
But how will this new-look offensive line shake out when the dust settles? All-American Keegan Cryder is an NFL hopeful. Logan Harris and Alonzo Velazquez, a pair of super seniors, are now onto the real world, too.
Oh, by the way, this program is also on its fifth offensive line coach since 2018.
That leaves Eric Abojei and Crum to pick up the pieces and mentor a crop of young talent that has Bohl and Co. optimistic about the future.
But it's unproven.
"We have a lot of young guys, but, I mean, there's opportunity," Crum said. "Guys are hungry right now and I think that's important. We haven't had that in a while on the offensive line. We've had dudes who were solid and really held those spots down. The competition is -- I've never seen it this high my whole time here.
"... All of these guys, they're going to have to step up. But, they are stepping up to the plate right now."
How does the vibe this spring compare to last year overall?
"It's a lot of guys fighting their butts off for a position," he continued. "So, it's very competitive. You know, it's a positive team, man. It's a really close team. There's no cliques to it, so it's really nice. You know, stepping up as older guys, it's now our turn to pave the way and bring those younger guys along."
Crum is known for having an edge on the field. You wouldn't be wrong if you referred to it as a mean streak.
Defensive tackle Cole Godbout gets a front-row seat to that every day during practice.
"Emotions are hot and you are always also super competitive," he said about facing Crum in the trenches. "We're always trying to win. So, you know, we might get under each other's skin, but at the end of the day, as soon as that final whistle blows, that's my guy again. But during practice, it's on, for sure."
Crum is a legacy player at UW. His father, Gary Crum, also manned the offensive line from 1979-81. His grandfather, Earl Crum, donned a Cowboys uniform, lettering for the Cowboys in 1940.
Utah State wanted the youngest Crum out of Laramie High School. So did Border War rival Colorado State.
The latter wasn't really ever an option, right?
"It would've been horrible," he joked. "I don't think I ever would have really done it."
He didn't. The local kid with the head of curly blonde hair and the wide grin doesn't regret a thing.
"Bohl did give us an opportunity," Crum said, referring to recruiting Wyoming natives. "There are players in Wyoming that do deserve a look and coach Bohl gives a fair analysis, which I appreciate."
University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players
- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players