Photo by Saul Young // Buy this photo
Audio slide show
- 'That loss is on me'
- Report Card: UT vs. Florida
- Adams: Series gap more gaping than ever
- Fans deliver boos; Crompton says 'we play for our football family, that's each other'
- Turnovers, missed chances hurt offense
- Short-yardage failures soured defense
- It's all business for Florida and it shows
- Florida has easy time with stumbling Vols, 30-6
The boos were back Saturday during Tennessee's 30-6 loss to Florida.
After boos were part of the story during last week's lackluster victory over UAB, fans at Neyland Stadium began booing late in the second quarter following an incomplete pass by quarterback Jonathan Crompton.
The junior threw an interception just one play earlier that was called back when officials flagged Florida for having 12 men on the field.
The boos were heard again later in that drive when UT waited 15 seconds to call its last timeout with 16 seconds left on the clock.
The boos reigned down en masse when Crompton threw an interception in the end zone two plays later and continued when the clock expired and the teams headed to the locker room at halftime.
The boos returned in the third quarter when Crompton was tackled for a 5-yard gain on third-and-17.
"That's part of it," UT coach Phillip Fulmer said. "There's probably not anybody very happy with me right now. There's probably not very many happy with the quarterback right now."
Defensive end Robert Ayers didn't seem bothered by the boos.
"For people (to boo) that probably never played the game, it doesn't faze us," the senior said.
Crompton said he's only concerned with his teammates' and coaches' opinions of his play.
"You don't pay attention to them," Crompton said of the boos. "We play for our football family, that's each other.
"We know what we're capable of as an offense. I know what our defense is capable of. That's who we care about the most."
Center Josh McNeil was obviously stung by the public display of criticism.
"No comment. No comment," McNeil said as he just shook his head.
James Gang: If you're the type that likes to see the glass half full, at least Tennessee only has to face Brandon James one more time.
The return specialist took a Gator-sized chomp out of UT's upset hopes when he returned a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to give Florida a 17-0 first-quarter lead.
In more ways than one, it seemed like an ESPN Classic moment for the Gators, as if it hadn't been seen before.
That's because James returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown against the Vols last season.
Rewind one more time. James would have had three in a row against UT had it not been for an illegal blocking call during another punt-return jaunt into the end zone in 2006.
Still, Fulmer wasn't focusing on James after the game.
Instead, Fulmer was citing the Vols' mistakes as bricks that paved James' road to the end zone.
"He's a good player," Fulmer said, "but that wasn't us."
Actually, it has been.
James has been at his best against UT. His longest punt returns for scores both came against the Vols.
"He's a very talented returner," said tight end coach Jason Michael, who coaches UT's punt team. "That was an emphasis this week. That wasn't a surprise.
"Obviously, his quickness is harder to tackle."
Punter Chad Cunningham accepted some of the blame for punting the ball on the hash mark and not closer to the sideline.
"You want it as far as possible over to the sideline as you can get it," Cunningham said. "I could have definitely done a lot better punt than I gave our coverage team.
"I take blame for that. But I'm sure we probably missed a couple of tackles."
Four as a matter of fact, which coincidentally is the number of James' career punt returns for a touchdown, tying Jacquez Green's school record.
To establish his own mark, James has the better part of two seasons left in his career - and a favorable match-up against UT looming in September 2009.
Attendance: The announced attendance was 106,138 for Saturday's game. Neyland Stadium was mostly full with the exception of the upper level student section and some higher rows in the south end zone.