The Last Step

Defensive end Tim Crowder's production and performance took a leap this season, but the change was more psychological than physical. Crowder talked with Inside Texas about the mental block that slowed him down last season and what's given him that last step to the quarterback.

There were times during the 2005 season when Texas defensive end Tim Crowder suffered from inconsistent play, and he even acknowledged as much during August practice, but predicted a leap in his production because he finally got that "last step." Well, that last step to the quarterback definitely resulted in significantly stronger play than ever before from the senior DE.

So, what does Crowder have this year that he didn't have last year that got him over the hump?

"Just more sense of urgency," Crowder told Inside Texas. "There were a lot of times last year when I would beat a guy and I would feel like he (the quarterback) was about to throw the ball, so I wouldn't get that extra push, he'd keep it in his hand and I'd miss the sack."

Crowder has 57 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks this season heading into the Alamo Bowl and says there are a great number of things he's learned that he hopes he's imparted on his successors as well.

"I've learned how to finish the play," Crowder explained. "Don't just beat the tackle or don't just get the sack, knock the ball out too. From a defensive end standpoint, you can make a lot of sacks off of just having a great motor. A lot of defensive players don't understand that, but the older you get the more you realize that you force fumbles if you're just running to the ball and hustling out there. I've hustled more this season."

Crowder's wisdom has also earned him a nickname from teammates. Well, actually Crowder said it's not so much a "nickname" per se, but something many of his fellow Longhorns call him.

"The Old Man," laughed Crowder. "I'm nothing but 21, but they say I've got the mind of a 50-year-old."

Crowder enjoys Mo-town music and other older artists and isn't a huge fan of "the stuff coming out today." He's also very traditional in his approach to most things, including his preparation for football.

"I do a lot of things by the book," he said. "That's just how I am. I stay within my boundaries."

Crowder says he's also earned the name because of his style of play.

"I definitely consider myself a throwback," said Crowder. "The only reason I where gloves is for grip. If I didn't have to, I wouldn't wear 'em. I don't wear wristbands or any of that. I'm not into how you look out there. It's about going out there and playing the game. That's all that really matters at the end of the day."

By the way, since quarterback depth is a concern for Texas heading into the Alamo Bowl, Crowder is jokingly lobbying to get on the depth chart at QB.

"They could put me back there. I'm probably about the fourth or fifth guy. I got a history of baseball. I could throw 90s in high school. So just let me throw. That's all I have to do. I don't have to run."

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