Interview with 2001 Heisman Trophy Winner Eric Crouch, April 10, 2009.
Eric Crouch won the 2001 Heisman Trophy playing for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. Eric finished his career at Nebraska with 59 rushing and 29 passing touchdowns. He was the first Division I player to pass and run for 1,000 yards in the same season. In 2001 he was the career record holder for all purpose total yards in the Big 12. His teams were 35-5 when Crouch started at quarterback.
Eric, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. As I mentioned before, our goal is to gain your insight on youth football. We want to allow the coaches that come to my web site to understand how the top athletes in the country were impacted by the game at a young age and by their youth football coaches.
Dave: Eric, how Old were you when you started playing youth football?
Eric: I was 9 years old when I first started to play tackle football. I played for a team called the KWAA Dolphins.
What was your first youth coaches name?
George Connelly was my first coach in Youth sports, I remember it well.
How much did that coach and that season play in you developing your love and passion for the game?
It was very instrumental in my development because they made the game fun for all of us, but also demanded that we understand that football was not an easy sport. It required sacrifice, toughness and passion to be successful.
What would you like to see more youth football coaches doing that they may not be doing today?
I would like to see them having fun with the players, and teaching them about character. Football is temporary. They should know this from the beginning. That is why you play so hard, because someday it will end and be over.
Some High School coaches think that the youth coaches job is to help develop a love and appreciation of the game in the kids so they will continue on playing the game, that this is job #1, teaching good fundamentals, getting all the kids into the game, making it fun, keeping the kids engaged so they won’t ever consider not playing the game.
I would agree with this statement. Football is supposed to be fun, and you should enjoy it to the fullest.
Another camp thinks the youth football programs should be mini High School programs, that from lets say the 3rd grade on teaching the schemes of the local High School.
I do not agree with this statement. I feel that you can complicate the game by too much information. Simplifying the game will allow for the kids to play without having to think too much. They may also continue to play year after year if they are having fun.
Do you think youth coaches should be teaching character development beyond just being a great role model? Why?
I do. You may not even know that you are a role model in certain cases. You don’t have to be the star on the team even. A little brother or neighbor may look up to you for being a football player or being part of a great program. Football will NOT last forever. You need to develop life skills for the future and for your self confidence. When it is all said and done you want people to remember the person you are, and what you gave to others. That is far more important than how many touchdowns or tackles you may have had.
Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of your effort to improve youth football. I am happy to help in any way possible. I was fortunate that I had great coaches at a very early age. It is the most contributing factor in my success today, not only as a player but as a person too.
Thanks again Dave, glad I could help you.
As you can see Eric Crouch remembers his youth football experience like it was yesterday, even though it was 21 years ago. He remembered his youth coaches name and how the game affected his love for the game at an early age. What will your players remember about you and their youth football experience 21 years from today?
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