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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Crump working his way into rotation

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Gino Crump. UA vs. NAU Sept. 3, 2011 at Arizona Stadium.

There’s something different about Arizona receiver Gino Crump this season.

It’s not that he had an impressive fall camp, his second in as many years. It’s that now, at least through one game, he’s been able to translate his success on the practice field into success on game day.

After finishing the 2010 season with four catches for 39 yards, all in the season’s first two games, Crump hauled in five catches for 43 yards and a score in Saturday’s season opener against NAU.

“The thing with Gino last year … he kept going up and down,” quarterback Nick Foles said. “Some guys get too high, and that’s the one thing he’s really improved on. If he catches a ball, he might get excited. But then he’s just like ‘All right, I’m back.’”

Consistency is something that Crump has struggled with both on and off the field, head coach Mike Stoops said.

That’s why the biggest offseason change Crump needed to make was a mental one.

“Gino’s grown up a lot,” Stoops said. “He’s really improved his maturity and consistency. It’s amazing how that goes hand-in-hand.”

Things clicked for Crump towards the end of spring practice, when he had a meeting with Stoops and receivers coach Dave Nichol. Crump said he was upset with where he stood in the receiving rotation, and decided it was time for a change.

“At the end of that conversation, I just wasn’t happy,” Crump said. “I really took it personal. It kind of clicked for me that I had to do something drastic.”

And that’s where the transition started. Crump spent more time with Corey Edmond, Arizona’s director of performance enhancement, this summer, focusing on getting into the best shape of his life.

“I figured if I just went out and put in a little more effort than I’d ever put in, that’d definitely help me out,” Crump said.

Crump’s new mindset is a big reason that he’s been able to carry his success over into game action so far this season, even if it is just one game against an FCS opponent.

But after being frustrated by his lack of production in 2010, Crump realized that he couldn’t let outside factors affect his play.

“My whole thing was just to keep at it,” Crump said. “I knew that if I just worked hard, did what I had to do and controlled what I can control, then things would work out. So far, that’s been going my way.”

And while his numbers weren’t where he wanted them to be in 2010, Crump was able to take a lesson away from the 11 games he appeared in since transferring from West Virginia after redshirting for the Mountaineers during the 2008 season.

But his mental game isn’t the only area where Crump — a senior from Washington, D.C. — has made improvement. Foles said that Crump has been doing catching drills with tennis balls along with extra work in the weight room, and the results have shown.

“His coordination has gotten better, tracking the ball,” Foles said. “He showed that (Saturday), but he’s got to continue to do it.”

Now, Crump could find himself with a bigger opportunity should Juron Criner not be able to go due to illness in Thursday’s game in Stillwater, Okla.

But talk to Crump about how he’s grown up as a receiver, and everything comes back to that April conversation with Stoops and Nichol.

“From that point on,” he said, “it was just a different Gino.”

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