Cronk ready to become more complete player as a sophomore

There were times last season when Coy Cronk felt he was merely surviving rather than thriving.

That’s life as a freshman left tackle in the Big Ten.

There were moments when his footwork was jumbled, or when his blocking relied more on natural strength rather than good technique. There were days when Cronk felt he was just getting by.

This fall, Cronk doesn’t want to feel that way again.

So this offseason, the Lafayette native took meaningful steps to grow his game. He “religiously” studied film to better understand his strengths and weaknesses. He bulked up and worked to grasp the finer points of playing his all-important position at a high level.

Entering his sophomore season, Cronk wants to be a more complete and reliable tackle. Those inside Indiana’s program see a young player who is on his way to fulfilling that objective.

“We challenged him to hone his craft and become better in the fundamentals and technique during the summer months,” IU offensive line coach Darren Hiller said. “I’ll tell you, he went out there and it’s showing up in fall camp right now.”

All things considered, Cronk turned in a solid, if not very good, freshman campaign. He started all 13 games at left tackle, setting an Indiana freshman record for an offensive lineman.

He earned national recognition by the end of the season, picking up freshman All-America honors from 247 Sports, ESPN.com and BTN.com.

Even with the accolades, Cronk knew there was more he could do and more he could learn. So he went to work.

He studied his 13 games and acknowledged the good and the bad moments. Now, Cronk says, when his footwork is wrong or his technique is not as sharp, he feels it in the moment.

“Last year I made some great plays and then some cringeworthy plays,” Cronk said. “… I just knew if I wanted to help this offensive line and this team grow, I needed to work on things. I needed to work on my footwork.

“I put a lot of time into it because, first off, it means something to me. I don’t know if I’d be able to sleep at night knowing I didn’t give my all for my brothers out there. So I just take a lot of pride in my work and my film, getting obviously a lot better. Now, as soon as I see even one false step, I know it immediately on the field.”

Others are taking notice.

Asked this week which players are impressing nearly two weeks into camp, offensive coordinator Mike DeBord paused before first pointing to Cronk.

“I think he’s playing really well right now,” DeBord said. “Coy played last year and everybody can say he played last year, but as a freshman lineman, he didn’t execute technique all the time and things like that. He just kind of got on people. Right now, he’s really locked in to technique stuff. He’s been really playing well.”

And he looks good, too.

The 6-foot-5 Cronk said he weighed 265 pounds when he stepped onto the field for his first career Big Ten game on Oct. 1 against Michigan State.

Now, he’s a legitimate 305 pounds.

And he’s ready to put it all to good use in 2017.

“I just feel like the confidence level is up a little bit,” Cronk said. “I know I’ve already done it. I did it probably with little to no experience and no training heading into it, collegiately. So this year, I just expect myself to get comfortable in my role that I had last year and just improve mentally from Year 1 to Year 2.”

2 comments

  1. If he can avoid injuries, he will be IU’s next NFL OLman unless B Knight can get rid of the injury bug then he may go before Cronk. Cronk could be the best of the latest string of OLmen IU had put out. He has the athletic ability, strength, and now size for the part. We will be blessed to have the chance to watch a top OLman develop over his college career.

    Cronk is a good way to start to build your OL. When Knight gets back IU will have two very talented players on the OL with Crider starting to work his way on the list. Wes Martin, Simon Stepaniak, and IU has a number of large talented OLmen to develop into a solid OL.

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