April 9, 2008
If you google Chris Crane's name between now and the start of the season, there's probably going to be a cliché phrase that comes with almost every hit you get. That cliché you'll find with his name is "biggest shoes to fill". With that in mind I thought it would be the best if I was the first of 457 different people to ask Crane what he took away from the man with the huge shoes.
"Just competing with him (Matt Ryan), studying film with him, and watching his work ethic, I learned what it takes to be competitive and successful at this level. I think without having someone in front of you showing you how it's done it makes it a little unknown and maybe a little scary going into the season. But I've seen it done and know what needs to be done to take this team where it wants to be."
Replacing the offense that comes from 4,507 yards passing and 31 TD's is not something that Crane plans on having to do on his own. He thinks the running game will have to play a big part in the offense coming together.
"We are currently trying to get our run game down pat, so next year we'll have more of a two dimensional offense. So far, it's going really well. Josh Haden's been doing tremendous. James McCluskey's been doing great, and the offensive line is really starting to come together.
Speaking of the OL, Crane likes what he sees from them as well.
"We got a couple new guys up front, Thomas Claiborne and Rich Lapham, and they are grasping the zone scheme and things are really coming together. That will help us in the passing game."
One factor that will play to Crane's advantage is he will have a lot of last year's weapons to work with at receiver. In fact, out of the top seven players in receiving yards from last year, five will be returning. The leader of the group is Rich Gunnell.
"Last year Rich Gunnell emerged as a player that has great hands and can make big plays. It wasn't a surprise, because we had seen it in practice."
Out of the new weapons that Crane has to work with, he seems most excited with the potential of sophomore Ifeanyi Momah. Crane said, "Momah's 6'6", strong, lanky and he's been showing this year the improvement of being able to jump up and get the ball over the other receivers, and controlling his body in the air. I think that could be a big weapon for us because we haven't had a tall receiver that can make big plays in a long time."
It seems the only downside of Crane's spring is being without starting WR Brandon Robinson, who's out after having shoulder surgery. However, the QB says that there are some positives that can come out of that.
"Brandon's a veteran. He came in the same year that I did and he knows the offense. He's getting all the mental reps during practice and in the meetings that allows him to see a play like a QB does." Crane added, "This is kind of beneficial for him to be able to take a step back and see the concepts, and see what he can do to influence a defense."
When Crane's not doing anything football related, he's like the rest of America, he's hooked on the TV show Lost. Last summer, Crane and his roommates (Ryan Purvis and Bryan Murphy) got hooked on the Lost DVD's of old seasons, and now they're caught up to the current season.
"It's one of those things where it's a love-hate season. You watch an episode and they don't answer anything, but you can't help but watch the next episode to see if anything gets answered."
As for his favorite character, it's Sayid because, "he always seems to know what's going on and he takes charge".
Would you expect any other answer from a QB?
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