Crump ready for expanded role

Gino Crump will see an expanded role Thursday in the absence of Juron Criner. Read on to see how he is handling it, what he is working on, and more.

For Gino Crump, his five catches on Saturday were more than just a sign of how his role in the offense has expanded. A walk-on in 2009 that entered his senior season with just four catches for 39 yards in his career, his receptions, as well as his touchdown grab, are an indication that all of the effort he's put in to get out on the field is finally paying off.

"It meant a lot to me to just get out there and be a starter and have those catches and get a touchdown," Crump said. "It's just a culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication I've put in the game. Hopefully there's a lot more to come. I've put in a lot of work since I've been here. It feels good to finally see some of that work paying off."

It appears that Crump's role may not be done expanding just yet, as the 6-foot-2, 210-pound receiver finds himself atop the depth chart for Arizona's upcoming game against Oklahoma State. With his performance as well as performance last Saturday, Crump has barely had time to soak in the changes and positivity around him.

"I've gotten to think about it all a little bit," Crump said. "My family was out here over the weekend and I got a change to sit down and talk to them over breakfast and reminisce over all of the difficult times and the trials and tribulations I've had to go through.

"It hasn't fully sunk in yet. I'll probably look back on it once the season is over and really look back and evaluate my whole season."

In case being thrown into a starter's role and having a career game last week isn't enough to think about, Crump is faced with the possibility of being Nick Foles' primary target with Juron Criner missing Thursday's game. However, Crump won't be trying to replace UA's All-American receiver and will instead play within himself and focus on his own game.

"With Juron maybe out, I wouldn't say my role changes, but I would say my role becomes a little bit more important," Crump said. "Juron is obviously a big part of our offense and we expect him to be there. If he's not, I'm going to go out there and be the best player I can be and hopefully that's enough to help us get the W.

"No one can be Juron. What I can do is be Gino; and if that's good enough to get us a win that'll be great."

Despite the probability of more passes headed his way in week two, Crump is focused on making small, incremental changes in order to perfect his game instead of trying to put up big numbers.

"This week I just expect to go out and do the same thing I did last week and kick it up a little bit more," Crump said. "Every week I plan on getting a little better, a littler stronger, and more comfortable with our offense and our quarterbacks. Hopefully I have an even bigger week than last week."

With a starting position in hand and a major role in the offense secure, it would be easy for Crump to become complacent and simply coast off his hard work for the summer. However, the senior receiver insists he's only scratching the surface.

"I want to take my game to the next level," Crump said. "I'm a hard worker, that's all I've known how to do since I've been here in this program. Every week I'm just trying to get better; so hopefully that translates to me taking the next step. If that means more yards, more touchdowns, that will be great."

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