A sore arm won’t be Jonathan Crompton’s excuse if he struggles in today’s scrimmage.
And why should it be?
The junior quarterback has endured pain throughout spring practice with a loose particle in his right (throwing) elbow.
Cortisone shots were used once it was determined that no damage could be done.
Surgery is scheduled for the week after spring practice, which ends on April 19 with the Orange and White Game. Doctors have described the ailment as very minor.
This is the second surgery to be performed on Crompton’s throwing arm.
Crompton had a torn labrum repaired in his shoulder shortly after arriving at UT.
The recovery time for the latest surgery is three to six weeks, meaning Crompton should be back to full strength by the time summer workouts begin in early June.
Whatever Crompton may have lacked in production this fall, he’s made up in toughness, practicing despite persistent pain.
The heir apparent to Erik Ainge has become, simply, the heir.
“Jon’s our quarterback,” UT coach Phillip Fulmer said. “… He will be our quarterback unless something really drastic happens.”
That doesn’t mean Fulmer and staff are ready to shut it down and open the season in the Rose Bowl against UCLA.
Far from it.
Tough or not, Crompton threw three interceptions just a week ago in UT’s last full scrimmage.
Receivers and a slippery turf shared the blame, but that doesn’t make the offensive performance, or lack thereof, acceptable.
“Taking care of the football, regardless of what else happens,” Fulmer quickly retorted when asked what he hoped his offense would accomplish today. “I’m not expecting the defense to touch the football.”
Fulmer talks of timing more than throws when he critiques Crompton. With a clock running on every play, UT’s quarterbacks are expected to throw the ball within 3 seconds of the snap.
That hasn’t happened nearly enough.
In order to remedy the situation, Fulmer has decided to take the green, non-contact jerseys off his quarterbacks today. The theory is that a linebacker’s tackle carries more reinforcement than the ticking of a timer.
“That should increase the sense of urgency for him not to hold the ball,” Fulmer said of Crompton.
That’s a gamble considering backups Nick Stephens and B.J. Coleman have yet to draw strong reviews and Crompton is the only quarterback on UT’s roster with game experience.
Crompton will get approximately 32 scrimmage snaps today.
“We all want to have a good scrimmage, go out there and compete,” Crompton said. “That’s what we’re here for. We’re trying to get ready for UCLA. We’re just trying to have a good scrimmage as an offense. Mainly as an offense, we’re trying to have no turnovers and no penalties.”
Those aren’t the only goals. Finding playmakers downfield in the passing game would be nice.
Running the ball consistently would be better. A work in progress, Fulmer estimates Dave Clawson’s new offense is 80-percent installed.
“You have growing pains, but we’re starting to get over them and get over the little speed bumps,” Crompton said. “We’re starting to get better.”