Post-Practice Crowton Meeting Warms Some Hearts

Amid the swirling controversy surrounding the team and BYU football program, head coach <b>Gary Crowton</b> and his football Cougars held a very focused and spirited practice Friday afternoon. But the most enduring visual was a quiet, private meeting afterward when Crowton greeted a VIP guest warmly on the sideline.

Mark Erickson, confined to a wheelchair his entire life, and his parents Joyce and Bruce Erickson, were especially invited by Crowton to watch the closed practice session and, in the process, fulfilled one of Mark's longtime wishes to watch his favorite college team practice up close.

Erickson has attended BYU football home games since he was four years old, long before a number of current Cougar players were even born. With permission granted by Crowton, the Erickson's drove from Centerville and relished their VIP role and opportunity to watch the Cougars run through drills and participate in a scrimmage to close the session.

Erickson soaked up every minute of it. What he couldn't verbally express in words, his smile and physical expressions conveyed louder than any cheers, especially after a 50-yard touchdown reception by receiver Todd Watkins.

After the intense practice, Crowton jogged across the field to an elated Mark Erickson and shook his hand with a warm smile. Seeing his excitement, Crowton knelt down beside him and took a picture take with him. The coach than called for and motioned freshman wide receivers Austin Collie and Antwaun Harris to stop their warm-down drills and come over to meet Erickson.

Crowton made the introductions and Mark's parents told them that former BYU receiver great Glenn Kozlowski was Mark's favorite wide receiver growing up as a kid. Harris seemed to make Erickson's visit even more memorable when he told him to keep coming to Cougar football games and they needed his support.

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