Competition, Development Fuel Transition to Inside Linebacker For Quavaris Crouch
Quavaris Crouch was rated as the top player in the country following his Junior season of football. Crouch, a two-way star, played running back and linebacker at the college level, and where he ended up deciding to play at the college level was nearly as intriguing as his recruitment.
Crouch has carried the ball for Tennessee, but he has primarily served as a defender at Tennessee. Crouch played with his hand in the dirt as a defensive end, and at times stood up as an outside edge rusher during 2019, but he is likely poised to start at inside linebacker beside Henry To'o To'o.
Crouch had plenty to say about his transition during Tuesday's media availability. He started by talking about his development in the role, which he said, "Well with development, I feel like I still got a long way to go. I feel like that I get better each and every day. I just go out every day and try to get better at one thing every day. My role is just to help the team, any way that I can, rather it be any position. So, I’m just ready to play football this year."
A key part of Crouch's development comes with an off-season body transformation. He said on this, "I actually lost weight. Last year I weighed a little bit more, so this year I kind of cut down a little bit because I wanted to be more lean so I can move sideline to sideline to be a great athlete to make tackles. That was something that I changed about myself, just not being so heavy and being able to run and move around better.”
Another key piece of his development is getting to learn and grow beside his "brother" in Henry To'o To'o. Crouch said on the relationship between the two, "For me, I just came from a spot where I have a lot of athletic ability and I just wanted to play and when it came to Henry helping me and developing me as a linebacker, it came more as me not just memorizing what’s going on and stuff like that but me learning the concepts and stuff like that. Learning the front and what my alignment is supposed to be and just little stuff to help me develop to be a better linebacker. Knowing how to make all the calls, set all the fronts and stuff like that just in case. You never know, like I was saying, this season with the COVID deal going on, if Henry might be out, then I’m going to have to run the show, or we both might be out and somebody else has got to run the show. So, we try and teach every linebacker in our room the whole defense so that they can be able to run the show if they have to. That’s where I feel like Henry has helped me out a lot with developing me to know the whole defense. Knowing how to really play in the scheme.”
Crouch is not just going to be able to walk away with the job, as the return of Jeremy Banks has provided plenty of competition. He talked about that as well: Jeremy Banks is a great guy man. I love Jeremy Banks man. That’s my dog. He pushes me because he brings a certain energy every day. Jeremy is always going to bring a certain energy. Every day he plays with so much toughness and stuff like that, so then it just makes me match him. We match each other, so we’re always competing, and iron always sharpens iron, so that’s how Jeremy helps me out a lot. There’s a lot of other people that help me out a lot also in the inside linebacker room, just with little stuff. Even the new guys that came in, (Martavius) French, Bryson (Eason), whoever it is, they ask questions to the coach, and I might not even know the answer to the question all the way, but because they are asking it, it makes us all learn. It’s just all a whole learning curve, and you can never be done developing and learning a certain position.