Crabtree Focused on Consistency

As a redshirt freshman, WR Michael Crabtree astounded defenders and shattered records on his way to become the first freshman to win the Biletnikoff Award in NCAA history. Now ready for his sophomore campaign, Crabtree is focused on working hard and improving. RaiderPower caught up with Crabtree for a one-on-one interview and also talked with Coach Leach and Coach McNeill about their star.

As the top wide receiver in the country, Michael Crabtree knows that expectations for him and the Red Raiders are sky high. He also understands he is a marked man for opposing defenses. Despite the pressure, Crabtree is more excited than ever to for football season to start.

"I'm feeling good," Crabtree explained. "I'm just ready to get this second season started. I'm just here to work, so we're going to do what we've got to do and get the job done."

Defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill also echoed the sentiment that the Crabtree and his teammates are focusing on hard work and ignoring the hype.

"Our kids have been around us enough, the older kids, Graham, Crabtree, Rajon, those guys, know us and know that we're not going to let them too overconfident about anything," Ruffin stated. "We know we have a lot to prove, and it's proven between the white lines and it's going to be proven with hard with and consistency.

"That's the main thing we talked to them about last night is just being consistent between the white lines every day in practice. And it's a long journey. It's not a sprint; it's a marathon. It's 1000 mile marathon really. And each step is important, each practice is important. And that's what we talked to them about last night, just being a consistent group as a team."

Michael says that he's working hard to prepare for the defenders who will no doubt be gunning for him.

"[I worked on] route running and speed [over the spring and summer.] I've been working on it a lot, so hopefully it will pay off on the field. A lot of people are going to do stuff to us, so I'm just going to have to watch film and see what they've got, so I'll be ready for them."

Head Coach Mike Leach also has created some new twists that center around his All-American receiver. In addition to creating a new formation in which the center will direct snap the ball to Crabtree, Leach is toying with the idea of having him be a return man.

"We messed with [Crabtree returning kicks and punts] a little last year too," Coach Leach told us. "I think he would be good at it and have for a while. I'm not sure if they had him at kicks or punts, but I think he'd have a chance to be pretty good at either one, maybe better at punt."

As far as the new "Elf" formation, Crabtree, a former high school quarterback, says he's excited about the possibility of getting to play under center a little bit.

"It feels like I'm going back to my high school days. It feels good. It's just another play we have in our playbook and I look forward to executing it real good.

"I just like getting the ball, so if Coach puts me in that situation, then I'm just going to do the best that I can do."

And as he showed the country last year, Crabtree's "best" is pretty darn good.

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