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4B - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 27, 2006
nywhere Drew Tate went, But instead of leaving with a smile
Shawn Crable was close and a starting job, Crable just received
behind. another wake-up call.
In Saturday's 20-6victory When Crable entered, Carr pulled
against Iowa, the linebacker a stack of papers out of his desk and set
was like Tate's shadow, who them out in front of his underachieving
is wi e yought of as one of the nation's linebacker.
grittiest and most talented quarterbacks. The documents ended up beingtransfer
Tate's reputation didn't scare Crable, papers, and Carr offered to sign them for
though - he broke through the line time Crable on the spot.
after time and continued bringing Tate to Crable had never asked for a trans-
the ground. fer, and was very surprised by his coach's
Along with numerous knockdowns, actions.
Crable posted a career-hightotal ofthree "I looked at him like, 'Man, you're a
sacks to go along with a forced fumble. jerk,' " remembers Crable. "He told me
How did his coaches feel about Cra- he thought I should transfer, because I
ble's seemingly dominant performance? wasn't doing anything."
"He's coming along," first-year line- Crable didn't know that this was a
backers coach Steve Szabo said. "I traditional motivational tactic Carr had
thought he could have made some more pulled with many of his players.
plays tonightcthat he didn't make." "When you reach a point where a
That'snotexactlytheringingendorse- guy is not cooperating, and I tell them
ment you would expect after playing the I'll help them transfer, I'm serious on
game of his life in front of millions on one hand," Carr said. "The message I'm
television. sending them is, 'Hey, you're not going to
But that's nothing new to Crable - his be successful here, because you won't do
career at Michigan has been filled with the things that you told me you would do
tough love. when I recruited you."'
Instead of accepting Carr's offer to
WAKE UP CA LL transfer, Crable took Carr's challenge to
After suffering an injury before heart and rededicated himself to football.
ever stepping onto the field his fresh- Before Michigan, things had always
man year, the 6-foot-5 linebacker rarely come easy to Crable, a four-star recruit
played during his redshirt-freshman and the No. 2-ranked linebacker coming
season, either. out of high school. He realized after the
He picked up just seven tackles in meetingthathe should turn his intensity
nine games that season. That's a sharp upa couple notches.
contrast from the 17 sacks he tallied his "A lot of what he was saying (in that
senior year of high school, when he gar- meeting) was true," Crable said. "If
nered All-State honors at Washington someone is telling you something you
High in Massillon, Ohio. know, you can fight itor you can actually
But Crable remained optimistic that do something about it. I left that meeting
his sophomore season would be differ- wanting to do something about it."
ent and that Michigan coach Lloyd Carr After his meeting with Carr, Crable
would be eager to work him into a more consulted Sam Sword, a former Michigan
active role in the lineup. linebacker and a then-graduate assistant.
So when Carr summoned Crable to The conversation calmed Crable, as
his office at the beginning of that year, the straight-shooting Sword informed
Crable almost rushed into the office in Crable that Carr had asked him to trans-
anticipation of what could result. fer when he played, too.
Crable appreciated Sword's honesty, Crable's teammates were
both about the transfer situation and throwing him a baby shower in anticipa-
Crable's on-field performance. tion of the birth of his second child, Tay-
"He'd tell you straight, tell you exact- ten, who was born a little more than two
ly what you needed to do and stuff like weeks after the shower.
that," Crable said of Sword. Diapers were replacing blitz schemes
That brutally honest approach seems for at least one night, and, although
to be the common theme for the coach- Crable's teammates were able to focus
ing staff when dealing with Crable. on football the next day, the balance of
Then-defensive coordinator Jim Her- football and fatherhoodbecame a reality
rmann followed Carr and Sword's lead for Crable once again.
with liberal criticism of Crable, who felt "Ihad a weird camp,"Crable admitted.
as if he should've started as both a fresh- "I missed a couple meetings to do things.
man and sophomore. The two sat down I missed a couple practices because I had
midway through last season to address to see my son born. It (wasn't) really a
Crable's playing time, which had picked line-up-and-play-football-and-that's-
up from the previous year, but still wasn't all-you-think-about camp."
where Crable felt he should be. Crable made tripsback and forth from
"He told me I needed to play harder practice to University Hospital during
and be better than everybody else on the camp. Since school hadn't started yet,
field before I even get a chance to be on he could check on his girlfriend, Julie
the field," Crable said of his conversa- Parker, and their newborn son without
tion with Herrmann. "I thought maybe I having to worry about missing classes.
wasn't getting a shot, or maybe it wasn't Parker, who also hails from Crable's
my time. I just needed to know. hometown of Massillon, shares an apart-
"We talked about what I needed to ment in Ann Arbor with him, where they
work on just to get on the field. I think it also take care of their first-born child, 2-
helped me a lot. I took what he said and year-old Jayvian.
it got me on the field. That was the best Though the additions to Crable's fam-
part - he kept his word." ily may appear to be an extra distraction
And Crable kept his, too. to Crable's football career, he said Tay-
He tallied 10 tackles, three sacks and ten and Jayvian actually inspire him to
a pair of pass break-ups in the season's be a better player.
final four games. Crable collected just "I've got to try to create a better life
two solo tackles in the seven games prior for them," said Crable, a general studies
to his meeting with Herrmann. major who has shown interest in educa-
Crable's late-season surge put him tion down the line. "Whether it's getting
in line for a starting job for this season, my degree, whether it's playing football,
which he solidified this spring. Crable whether it's whatever, I've got to ensure
was the lone linebacker who guaranteed that their lives are OK.
himself a spot in the starting lineup in "I can't cheat them out of it because
the spring, after a performance that Carr I decided not to work hard (or) decided
called the best of any of his linebackers. not to do what I was supposed to do."
Crable can already see a shift in his
: 'III -'- ij" - maturity and thinks he's already become a
It was a day before theTegmiing stronger person both on and off the field.
of training camp - Aug. 5, to be exact "That's what had me playing subpar
- and excitement spread throughout a earlier in my career - I was living the
room filled with Wolverines. college life," Crable said. "I think this
But it had nothing to do with football. situation has got me more grounded.
It's got me focused on what I need to be
With all of the drama and obstacles
behind him, Crable has finally found
his niche on the Wolverines' top-ranked
And even though his outgoing person-
ality has caused his teammates to refer
to him as one of the bigger jokers on the
team, he's letting his play on the field do
the talking for him, now.
As a starter, Crable has made an
immediate impact. He has doubled his
career totals in nearly every category
in just eight games as a starter this sea-
son. His five sacks are tied for second on
the team behind LaMarr Woodley and
are already more than he had in his two
prior seasons with Michigan (four).
"He's stepping up big time for us," fel-
low linebacker David Harris said. "You
know he's agreat athlete. He can do a lot
of things for our defense, and he's just
stepped up his game in a big way, and
he's just helping bring something differ-
ent to the table."
Crable's versatility has been on dis-
play under new defensive coordinator
Ron English. Crable oftentimes lines up
on the line to create a more potent pass
rush. But he can also drop back and
cover receivers, too, which is surprising
considering his 6-foot-5 frame.
"He's a big guy, extremely athletic,
probably one of the fastest lineback-
ers we've had at Michigan," Carr said.
"Shawn can run with the best of them.
He really has come on."
His linebackers coach agreed, but also
added a trademark criticism at the end
"The kid is a great football player, and
he's doing good things for us," Szabo
said. "Ijust think with his physical abili-
ties, he'll be able to do more."
Do more? That's a scary thought for
-uES I ASEY/Daily
CrablechasesafterQuinn in South teed. His 6-fot-5 frame and 4.5 speed in the 40-meter dash make him a versatile member of Michigan's top-ranked defense. So far this season, Crable has a career-high five sacks, along
with numerous knsckdowns and quarterback hurries.