In the spotlight this week is student-athlete Carter Crum, a senior long snapper for the Auburn High football team
Auburn Villager: When did you start playing football?
Carter Crum: I've been playing since I was a little kid. My dad coached here for 27 years, so I've always been around the high school team.
AV: What are the challenges of playing long snapper? It's an often overlooked position?
CC: I don't get recognition anymore. I was a linebacker, but I got a lot of head injuries, so I couldn't play that anymore. I still feel like I'm a part of the team, but I just don't get the big hits anymore. I practice like normal, just trying to do my job for the team because one bad snap from me could potentially ruin the season for some of the guys.
AV: How much practice with the holder goes into long snapping?
CC: We do it for about 15 minutes a day. We'll go out and I just snap over and over again and let him get a feel, trying to get the laces in a good spot. We practice pretty well together, get some chemistry going, doing some different rhythmic things trying to get it fitted up right.
AV: Is this your first year snapping?
CC: I've snapped since eighth grade, but this is the first year I've just been a snapper.
AV: Any players you emulated?
CC: Noah Barnes really helped me back when I was freshman. We went to some camps together, and he worked with me a good bit, trying to get it figured out, teaching me some certain ways to spin the ball good, get it targeted in. He was probably the one I watched the most.
AV: What does the perfect snap look like?
CC: For a punt, you want the snap right on their kicking hip. It just takes a lot of practice. I've snapped about 150 times a day trying to get it right in on the perfect spot. I can hit maybe 80 or 90 of them on the hip. Most of them will hit them in the chest. I'm still working on getting it there every time, but for the most part I'm pretty consistent on hitting them in the chest.
AV: On field goals?
CC: The perfect snap for that — you just want it right there where there hand is, laces on their fingers so when they catch it they can just set it down, hold it and it's ready to kick. I'm all right with that. I'm not the best on that one yet, but I'm working on it.
AV: How does it feel when everything goes smoothly? It's one of those positions where you don't necessarily want to hear your name called.
CC: Yeah, you don't want it. That play we ran Friday, that was the only time I'll get recognition or anything. It's fun. Sometimes, I'll go down and make a tackle if anything's needed. But for the most part, it's just watching the guys that make the play. If they do their job, I feel like I've done mine because I feel like I might have set them up for it. If they have success, it's success for me.
AV: Describe what happened on that play last Friday.
CC: I was lined up on the ball, getting ready to snap, and the holder, Griffin (Speaks) the quarterback, came in and he told me we were about to run my play. And so I'm getting a little nervous being that it's set up for potentially, like this could make or break the game. So I snapped it and just managed to get open and saw him throw a perfect ball to me. I had to my part and catch it, and I did. It was probably one of the best moments of my football career. You dream for that game growing up, that being the biggest rivalry in the area. It was great. I'm glad that they put that play in there. It made it fun.
AV: Was that the first time you've scored?
CC: First touchdown in varsity. It was nice feeling right there in front of the students because they were going crazy. That was a really fun atmosphere for that game.
AV: In general, do you have any role models?
CC: Yeah. Demarcus Ware. My dad coached him, so I've met him a whole bunch of times. And him just being really humble. Even making it pro, he goes back to the community a lot. He doesn't really brag about himself. I think that's really the way to be. He's definitely one of my biggest role models.
Interview by Brian Woodham