Ball security issues

Scrimmage filled with miscues

Toney Williams broke free down the sideline. Tauren Poole juked his way into the end zone. Montario Hardesty lowered his head and punched the ball across the goal line.

But Tennessee's tailbacks - and much of the offense - didn't exactly leave Neyland Stadium grinning from ear to ear following a Saturday afternoon scrimmage.

Four fumbles and an interception have a way of doing that.

"I know they feel like crap right now, but not as bad as I do," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "At the end of the day, we'll get better. We'll get that cleaned up.

"Sometimes turnovers are a lot of mysterious things, and ultimately they're horrible. But their effort level is fine. What we've got to do is become a smarter, technically sound football team."

Most of the miscues came in fairly quick succession at the beginning of Saturday's 84-play scrimmage.

On UT's first series, quarterback Jonathan Crompton and Poole fumbled an exchange that linebacker Nick Reveiz scooped up, killing a drive at the defense's 29-yard line.

The first-team offense's second drive ended when Crompton fell on the ball on third down after end Chris Walker broke loose for the sack and forced fumble.

A lengthy drive led by B.J. Coleman ended when cornerback Dennis Rogan jarred the ball loose from receiver Tyler Maples.

Later, Poole fumbled the ball out of bounds at the end of 19-yard run.

"You look at what we did on offense today, and we stopped ourselves three times," running backs coach Eddie Gran said. "You can't do that. If we stop that, then we continue those other drives and it would have been an unbelievable day. But it wasn't because of those mistakes, and we've got to eliminate them."

But as is usually the case during spring practice, turnovers cut both ways. While the offense bemoaned its ball security issues, UT's defense was pleased with its ability to knock the ball loose.

"That's something we strive for every day in practice," said linebacker Rico McCoy, whose six tackles were second only to fellow linebacker Herman Lathers' seven stops. "That's something we talk about every day before we go practice - turnovers, strip, rake the ball out. Our No. 1 key is get the ball. Get off the field, get the ball. I can see it happening in scrimmages."

Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron particularly liked what he saw on Walker's sack and forced fumble.

"That's the best play in football," he said. "We drilled it every day. You create habits and you play that way. That's the way we coach."

If there's a silver lining for the offense, it's that players bounced back from their earlier mistakes.

Despite being a part of two fumbles, Poole rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries, including runs of 21, 19 and 16 yards. The latter went for Poole's only touchdown of the day - and it came after his earlier mistakes.

"What he did is he came back after that second one and made three big-time plays," Gran said. "That's what you're looking for, for somebody to recover."

Williams, an early enrollee, took advantage of increased carries after Lennon Creer left the team earlier in the week.

Williams' first carry went for 42 yards and he added touchdown runs of 4 and 2 yards. All told, the true freshman had 84 yards on 14 carries.

Hardesty, who occupies the top spot on the tailback depth chart, Gran said, had 29 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries.

"We did not run Hardesty as much today just because he's had a lot of work and feel good with where he's at," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "Just wanted to see the other guys."

UT's quarterbacks had mixed results, too.

Coleman led the way with 112 yards on 17-for-22 passing. Crompton, meanwhile, was 9-for-16 for 90 yards and an interception. Nick Stephens (wrist) did not participate in the scrimmage.

Crompton's interception came when cornerback C.J. Fleming nabbed an underthrown ball intended for Gerald Jones, who finished with just one catch.

"I know I underthrew him," Crompton said. "I've got to get back and watch the film and see if anything mechanically was there. I don't really know right now."

On his only series after the interception, Crompton guided the Vols into field-goal range, completing two of his three attempts for 31 yards.

Most of Coleman's and Crompton's passes were shorter throws, largely because downfield throws weren't a point of emphasis on Saturday.

What will continue to be emphasized, though, is taking care of the football on offense, even if that means the defense is forcing turnovers.

"It's great to see our defense responding," Kiffin said. "Unfortunately, our backs aren't understanding what it takes. We'll keep sitting them and putting the next guy in and figure out who's going to protect the ball because that's more important than who makes the big runs at times.

"Everything our program's about is taking care of (the football)."

Drew Edwards covers University of Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274.

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Comments » 158

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

Lets make them carry the football around everywhere they go all week.

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

You must protect the football like it is your baby me thinks!

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

"I know I underthrew him," Crompton said. "I've got to get back and watch the film .

Say I will not every do it again and don't ever say anything about Film...You are brinking back last year and very bad memories of post game quotes of people asking Phil what happened and him telling us he has to watch the Film.
I was always wondering if Phil just watched the same game we did?

rockytopatl writes:

>"I know I underthrew him," Crompton said. "I've got to get back and watch the film and see if anything mechanically was there. I don't really know right now.">>

Duh... you underthrew him. How will looking at the film help explain that, or prevent you from doing it again? What's missing "mechanically" is between the ears.

wheatbarley writes:

For the first time in years I can't wait for the start of football season. Go Vols!

belayvol writes:

Three stories, three different turnover counts. Let's review the film and see how many there were.

givehim6 writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

>"I know I underthrew him," Crompton said. "I've got to get back and watch the film and see if anything mechanically was there. I don't really know right now.">>

Duh... you underthrew him. How will looking at the film help explain that, or prevent you from doing it again? What's missing "mechanically" is between the ears.

Can't believe Crompton said he said to watch the film. Gee where you come up with that come back?

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

The funny thing about the film comments that everyone always gets so worked up over hearing is every single coach in the nation says it on a regular basis. Even after wins a coach will say "I need to go look at the film". Players from every team say it too. Get over it. As long as you are a football fan you will always hear/read it.

gohawks1 writes:

in response to givehim6:

Can't believe Crompton said he said to watch the film. Gee where you come up with that come back?

When I read that quote about looking at the philm I got a headache.

wagee12 writes:

burntorangeVOLffle writes:
The funny thing about the film comments that everyone always gets so worked up over hearing is every single coach in the nation says it on a regular basis. Even after wins a coach will say "I need to go look at the film". Players from every team say it too. Get over it. As long as you are a football fan you will always hear/read it.

Dude, the guys are not talking about coaches, they're referring to Ruff Tuff Mountain Boy saying he's got to look at the filmum when he already knows he obviously under threw a target, just like he underthrew dozens of targets last year. He is a senior for crying out loud and he's still makes the same mistakes he's always made. Crompton is a turnover waiting to happen, particularly in really big games.

dvhill100 writes:

Is it good defense or bad offense? No doubt a bit of both. I am not too concerned about the offense right now. Multiple offenses and coordinators, and the defense is usually ahead of the offense this time of year. Keep improving, that's all anyone can ask.

Looks like the quarterbacks haven't separated themselves either. LK will get it worked out with his coaches.

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

Crompton is a bafoon at QB. Still can't stick it in the bread basket of a RB and continues to throw to a spot...leading with his eyes.

firefulmer (Inactive) writes:

Fulmer and the previous clown's poison is still there..wait awhile. Crompton must go..please leave!! My 12 year old nephew is pretty good.

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to DrJCrown_theMagicMan:

"I know I underthrew him," Crompton said. "I've got to get back and watch the film .

Say I will not every do it again and don't ever say anything about Film...You are brinking back last year and very bad memories of post game quotes of people asking Phil what happened and him telling us he has to watch the Film.
I was always wondering if Phil just watched the same game we did?

i'm confident that this year's staff will squash this and if crompton or anyone else continues to do it, he or whoever will find themselves on the bench with a numberless jersey.

DrJCrown_theMagicMan writes:

in response to Down_The_Field:

i'm confident that this year's staff will squash this and if crompton or anyone else continues to do it, he or whoever will find themselves on the bench with a numberless jersey.

I agree with you on that.
Govols!

99gator writes:

you can never read too much into spring scrimmages.

i don't care what the coaches say at this point, i doubt whether the players really know what their doing yet.

take it all in stride for the time being.

JMP_Vols writes:

Brutal honesty - this offense will never be good with Crompton running it.

He doesn't have it.

Don't care how he practices, good or bad. He's not a gameday player.

mattnchatt writes:

Interception and fumbled exchange with a running back. Doesn't sound like JC is progressing to me.

kevin151 writes:

hahaha Crapton still cant get the handoff down. Lets just name Stevens our QB and keep the gameplans simple. Defense will have to win games

VAvolfanRON writes:

good gosh....where are the TRUE vol fans?......the coaches will work it out.......that's what practice if for....

I did see my boy C J fleming intercepted!!.....

Come a little support here instead of criticism.....any walk ons in here?

VAvolfanRON writes:

99gator.....are ya'll nixing the I formation? or still trying it?

99gator writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

99gator.....are ya'll nixing the I formation? or still trying it?

they are still running a spread offense.

they are just incorporating some plays out of the "I" into the offense this season.

i don't think it's that big a deal and don't know how much you will really see it.

99gator writes:

i also forgot to include that i think some of the reason for some incorporation of the "I" formation is preparation for next season.

when john brantley becomes the starting qb in 2010, you may see some more conventional formations more frequently tha before

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to 99gator:

they are still running a spread offense.

they are just incorporating some plays out of the "I" into the offense this season.

i don't think it's that big a deal and don't know how much you will really see it.

oh no....i knew yall wouldn't scrap the spread.....but reading meyer's quote that he wasn't pleased with the results of the I formation...i just wasn't sure if yall just quit trying

bugman (Inactive) writes:

bench their butts and let me play. i'm a pretty good slasher at 145lbs

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to 99gator:

i also forgot to include that i think some of the reason for some incorporation of the "I" formation is preparation for next season.

when john brantley becomes the starting qb in 2010, you may see some more conventional formations more frequently tha before

there ya go...now THAT makes sense!!....

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to bugman:

bench their butts and let me play. i'm a pretty good slasher at 145lbs

you go get 'em bugman!!!!!!!

tums writes:

"On UT's first series, quarterback Jonathan Crompton and Poole fumbled an exchange that linebacker Nick Reveiz scooped up, killing a drive at the defense's 29-yard line."

Oh God. The bad memories are coming back!

chrisw2967 writes:

I think Kiffin knows that crompton isnt going to be the guy to lead this team but I also think he is giving him every chance to prove that he can. It will come down to Coleman and Stephens.If he names Crompton the starter then he will be one game and done and never to be heard from again.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to 99aintagator:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

see, if you would keep your posts to this level of civil/mature posts....i'd respond...

but, i don't think you can...

if you post more like this one....i, for one, will respond and discuss football

CoachFulmer writes:

As crappy as Crompton is and has been in the past, I hope he proves me and the rest of the Vol Nation wrong. Perk up kid, get your head out of your a55, and play some dag gum football.

GO VOLS!

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to CoachFulmer:

As crappy as Crompton is and has been in the past, I hope he proves me and the rest of the Vol Nation wrong. Perk up kid, get your head out of your a55, and play some dag gum football.

GO VOLS!

rest assured...our best QB will be on the field....and whoever it may be.....we shall support him!!....right?

VAvolfanRON writes:

let the gators show there lack of class......vol fans....we have more class!!!!

kabzs writes:

in response to rockytopatl:

>"I know I underthrew him," Crompton said. "I've got to get back and watch the film and see if anything mechanically was there. I don't really know right now.">>

Duh... you underthrew him. How will looking at the film help explain that, or prevent you from doing it again? What's missing "mechanically" is between the ears.

"underthrew him".. translated as..."I almost bounce passed it to him but it didn't hit the ground, the defense got to it first.

Don't send him to the film room, send him to the weight room to build his strength up, so he can get hte ball there in the air or at least give some Cheerios. I'm so over his inaccuracy

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

Crompton did play poorly last season but Stephens played only slightly better. Crompton completed 51.5% of his passes Stephens 48%, Crompton 5 interceptions vs 3 for Stephens, Crompton qb rating 98 vs 108 for Stephens. Does anyone really remember Stephens leading the offense on many long sustained drives? The one game that gave me some hope for Crompton was the Kentucky game. He had the long bomb and ran for some first downs. Hearing about these turnovers is certainly cause for concern. I don't know who should be starting but we darn well better be able to run the ball so we don't depend on less than stellar qb's to get some wins. It may all be mental for Crompton and he may never turn out to be a true SEC qb we so desperately need. I say start Nuke at wide receiver even with only fall camp. Forget the g-gun it was never going to be a success unless we started completing passes from the formation. GO VOLS

kabzs writes:

in response to chrisw2967:

I think Kiffin knows that crompton isnt going to be the guy to lead this team but I also think he is giving him every chance to prove that he can. It will come down to Coleman and Stephens.If he names Crompton the starter then he will be one game and done and never to be heard from again.

You think Kiffin would hold the Senior QB out now as the starter as recruit bait to set the hook in a Heaps or the like? As If a present nod to BJ would dissuade a young recruit?

douglasawilliams#582863 writes:

in response to Jovi:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That was a good zinger

VAvolfanRON writes:

well, so much for the class!!!

scott_m99 writes:

anyone get the feeling that Crompton is a lot like Fulmer? Need to go look at the film to see why I threw an interception??? Let me help you out Crompton...B/C you thre it right to the guy on defense! My biggest problem with Crompton is his non-chelant attitude and his chill attitude. He always seems as though nothing is ever his problem or his fault. CLK, please start Stephens...Crompton is a hack

vol_chaz writes:

It's nice to see BJ back in the hunt again...17-22, doesn't sound so bad. Come the O and W game, look for Coleman to get the rest of the first team snaps..unless we really are trying to send the message to potential recruits that they can waltz in next year and start, then I could see Crompton throwing grounders all fall....

chaos001 writes:

damned crompton.

looks like the defense is playing well and the offense didn't quit like they used to last season.

slowly, but surely...

VAvolfanRON writes:

UTFan....have faith my friend!!!!!......could it possibly be that the receivers werent where that were supposed to be???....let's support our players!!!!.....

VAvolfanRON writes:

UTFan....you have the defense spirit...now get over on the offensive side!!!!!

VAvolfanRON writes:

that's what I'm talking about!!!!!..i figured you'd think of one.....

Stephens, crompton or BJ.....the best will be on the field....and by god, ill support HIM...

for help on nicks..you have:
thin OL line
a running back corp like noone
a QB tandem that needs confidence
receivers with talent.....

take that and be creative!!!!!!

VAvolfanRON writes:

BTW.....

you ARE the man!!!!!!

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

its hard to argue with you there!!!!.......

but, you know what....my fat arze can't get out there and do any better.....so, im going to cheer my team on no matter who its is....lol....

who am i to criticize??.....i have faith in the coaches and players.....

mlsoft#228820 writes:

in response to bugman:

bench their butts and let me play. i'm a pretty good slasher at 145lbs

Hey bugman...

Size is not everything. I am 6' and weigh 230, just 10 lbs over my playing weight in HS. On the other hand, I am 63 years old and my football playing years are far behind me -- I have one leg and all my muscle has migrated to my belly.

Go get 'em, and enjoy yourself.

mlsoft

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

absolutely my friend....you are more likely a better evaluator of talent than i am.....and if Stephens is the guy....im on board.....

i just dont like the bashing of coleman....what good does that do?......negative thoughts mean negative results......the glass is half full ..or twice as large as it needs to be

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

absolutely my friend....you are more likely a better evaluator of talent than i am.....and if Stephens is the guy....im on board.....

i just dont like the bashing of coleman....what good does that do?......negative thoughts mean negative results......the glass is half full ..or twice as large as it needs to be

i know i typed crompton.......i remember...because i had to backspace to put in the 'm'......wtf??......the 80's were good to me i guess

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to myfollower#555763:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i didnt know about the death he caused....

believe me....ive read and cant stand his posts...but that one was civil...of course it was about his gators......but, if he could post those type...i could actually talk football with him......like i said tho..i doubht he can.....i guess im nieve!!!!!...lol....or optimistic

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