Crum Steps Into Starter's Role At Linebacker

The Florida Gator defense returns much of a defensive front seven from a team that finished top ten nationally in most categories last year. Starting linebackers Earl Everett (senior, leading tackler) and Brandon Siler (team captain) return as starters where Brian Crum, a key reserve on last year's team, hopes to crack the starting lineup. Crum is a senior that brings a wealth of physical ability and maturity to a position that should be a team strength in 2006.

A native of Woodbine (GA), the 6-3, 237-pound Crum has seen a lot of special teams action and last year, he saw significant time as a backup linebacker. He has speed, strength and agility although he does need a bit more seasoning.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Crum said Tuesday. "I feel a lot more comfortable than last year. I am learning a lot of new stuff everyday though."

His athletic ability allows him to play multiple positions. With Earl Everett slightly banged up for the last two practices, Crum has had to play the weak side linebacker's role in the nickel defense. It is something new, and he has a lot to learn.

"I am playing a little nickel, usually the nickel is the weak side linebacker and I play strong so it's new to me," he said. "I am just trying to learn it on the fly. Like coach said, we don't have a lot of depth."

Modesty rings supreme on this team, especially on defense. Crum isn't about to say this unit is a bunch of world beaters just yet.

"We have a chance to be pretty good," he said. "Our first guys are pretty good ball players."

He isn't quite where he wants to be or where the staff wants him to be. A favorite among teammates and a real asset to the team off the field, the Florida coaching staff wants Crum to have a great senior season but to meet their expectations he's got some work to do.

"Earl and B-Si (Siler) are seasoned," said Crum. "I have some reps but I am still a work in progress. I'm trying to get better every day. I need to get better every day, eliminate mistakes and just get to the ball as quick as I can."

Brian Crum will likely play a key role for the defense and he has a chance to play a big role in its success. He is one of only three linebackers on the roster with experience and maturity so his contributions will be critical. This is his time to take his game to a higher level while helping the younger linebackers develop in key backup roles.

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