Depth chart taking shape for Vols

Orange & White Game not end of competition

Highlights from practice - April 16, 2009

Video

UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks to the media following Thursday's practice at Haslam field.

UT head coach, Lane Kiffin, talks to the media following Thursday's practice at Haslam field. Watch »

Video

UT defensive end, Chris Walker, talks about what being named the most improved defensive player of spring practice means to him.

UT defensive end, Chris Walker, talks about what being named the most improved defensive player of spring practice means to him. Watch »

Video

UT quarterback, Jonathan Crompton, isn't resting on his laurels. After being placed in the number one position in the depth charts, he's still pushing himself as if he were in last place.

UT quarterback, Jonathan Crompton, isn't resting on his laurels. After being placed in the number one position in the depth charts, he's still pushing himself as if he were in last place. Watch »

Video

UT assistant head coach, Ed Orgeron, talks about Chris Walker being named the most improved defensive player in spring practice and the impending Orange and White game this Saturday.

UT assistant head coach, Ed Orgeron, talks about Chris Walker being named the most improved defensive player in spring practice and the impending Orange and White game this Saturday. Watch »

With the Vols' final spring practice before Saturday's Orange and White game in the books, Tennessee's coaches have a much better feel for their personnel than they did six weeks ago.

But head coach Lane Kiffin's pledge of open competition won't end Saturday evening, either, even as UT's first true depth chart begins to take shape.

"I don't think you're ever satisfied," Kiffin said Thursday. "This staff pushes so hard to do things at such a high level, but we did get a lot done. We've got a much better handle on our players, what they can do and what they can't do."

UT's major playmakers aren't all that different than they were a year ago.

Safety Eric Berry, despite being limited from full contact this spring, is UT's best player. Receiver Gerald Jones is dynamic. Linebacker Rico McCoy will be a staple in the starting lineup this fall.

Of course, as with any spring, there have been surprises.

Kiffin called end Chris Walker UT's best player on the field this spring. Receiver Quintin Hancock has been solid, both in his performance and work ethic.

True freshman defensive tackle Montori Hughes has shown he can contribute come the fall.

And while fans who make their way to Neyland Stadium for Saturday's 3 p.m. kickoff will see a depth chart in the game program, it's about as fluid as the Tennessee River.

Which is to say that it's definitely subject to change between Saturday afternoon's intrasquad game and the season opener against Western Kentucky on Sept. 5.

"I don't know necessarily if we can put a nail down on a depth chart," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "What we're finding out is individually what these young men can do. As you put the game plans together, you can find out what they're going to be able to do and what they can't do.

"As far as a depth chart, I think we're going to let this competition keep on going a lot of times. What you find is some kids that have played a lot of football are really antsy about what's going on, but Coach made it very clear when we walked in the door that everything is open. And we are following true to that. That's exactly what we're doing here."

That appears to be what the Vols will do at several positions, including quarterback.

While Jonathan Crompton has a slight edge leaving spring drills, neither B.J. Coleman nor Nick Stephens have been eliminated from the running.

It's the same story at one receiver position, right tackle, middle and strongside linebacker, free safety and cornerback.

And that's just for now.

The Vols will welcome the Rivals.com's top overall recruit in tailback Bryce Brown to campus sometime this summer, as well as the recruiting Web site's top all-purpose back in David Oku.

True freshmen also could push for playing time - if not a starting spot - at wide receiver, linebacker and in the secondary. Giving incoming freshmen a chance to earn a starting job is another promise that Kiffin made when spring practice began.

And the operative word is earn.

"There's nobody, 'Oh, you're a four-star, five-star player, highly touted player. You're going to be our starter,' " defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. "It won't happen that way. They'll have to win it.

"You can't have them back here, 'You get three reps today.' You got to give them the reps. That's where Lane's taken the philosophy, and that's what we're going to do - get these players the reps. And if they're not ready to start, they're not ready to start."

Crompton, who remains at the center of the highest-profile competition, said he and his teammates will all be ready to work.

"We're practicing like we're the last guy on the depth chart," Crompton said. "That's a good thing, in my opinion, because it makes you work harder. That's the thing, even if guys know they're in the lead or kind of got the edge, they're not giving up. And Coach Kiffin's not going to let them give up. I love that."

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

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 72

kabzs writes:

GO BJ
keep competing

GO VOLS

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

So Crompton and Rogers are still first team just as if Fulmer never left.

Fear the Kiffen.

wagee12 writes:

According to Randy Moore on Scout, Coleman is bracketed at No. 1 QB with the Waynesville Rocket. Rogers is not listed at first team, he is a second teammers right now, the first three receivers look like Gerald Jones, Qunintin Hancock and Denarius Moore. BJ Coleman will win the quarterback job in August, book it Dano!

SignalMtnVol writes:

in response to wagee12:

According to Randy Moore on Scout, Coleman is bracketed at No. 1 QB with the Waynesville Rocket. Rogers is not listed at first team, he is a second teammers right now, the first three receivers look like Gerald Jones, Qunintin Hancock and Denarius Moore. BJ Coleman will win the quarterback job in August, book it Dano!

I sure hope you're right. Bad memories from Crompton are still lingering, since his spring #'s basically replicate last year. I just don't think Crompton has it in him to QB an SEC team. Go Coleman and / or Stephens.

teampenny#658108 writes:

I do not have a clue who will be QB. I do hope we show some patience with who ever is chosen. These three are our horses this year. Being cruel or slamming them ever chance we get will not make us a better ball team. Go vols

GahLee writes:

Were quoting to the Waynesville Rocket now?

UTandETSUfan writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The Real RR09 is a smart man! I'd put a solid grand on that line as well.

supersteve17 writes:

In was at practice today and it was electric! The coaches were setting a dizzying pace. Everything that has been reported about competition and intensity seemed to be true. The team meeting before practice, the stretching, group (position) drills, scrimmage work, special teams work -- just everything I saw was up tempo and enthusiastic. I am a realist and I saw some glaring weaknesses that have been noted by others also -- d-line depth, o-line depth, linebacker depth, QB inconsistency, etc. Bottom line for all you Vol fans -- be patient. The guys are working hard and I will almost guarantee you this staff will not be outworked!

P.S. Chris Fowler, Todd Blackledge and the ESPN Spring Football tour was in town. Not sure how the footage they shot will be used, but watch for it coming up. It was also good to see Coach Majors roaming Haslam Field once again.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to burntorangeVOLffle:

So Crompton and Rogers are still first team just as if Fulmer never left.

Fear the Kiffen.

trust the coaches...maybe...just maybe it was the offense last year....

i need an OS from Utfan

or a Go Big Orange from VFear

VAvolfanRON writes:

uf fans have no scrupples...steal identities....steal credit cards.....who cares.......where i can leave my door unlocked as i go out........it's nice

a good fla character is if you aren't in juvey by 10

MrBamSeydu writes:

This "freshmen get 1st snaps in fall practice" philosophy kills 2 birds with 1 stone. You get to recruit big time players by letting them know they're a starter in fall practice and it's their job to lose. Also, you find out who your best players truly are without burying your freshmen in the depth chart automatically. The best player will find the field at every position, no matter what year they are in college.

Caveman writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Caveman say your old username must have been terminated. boo-hoo - Interloper..

Caveman say Crompton may still have some Moxie he showed as a backup to Ainge, needs a good QB coach to teach to protect ball and make good decisions.

Pound the Rock!!!

Fire say NUFF SAID!!

UTandETSUfan writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True, but Eric Berry should have started every game, not come in as a nickleback in the first game.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

THANKS...my friend!!!!

i expect to hear you guys up here in Richmond!!!!!

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to RichRollin:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Rich....we need to get you some pads and get in the middle of this!!!!!!!lol

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

JohnsonCity_George writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As opposed to the real Richard Rollin? Like Dick Rollin?

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

....EARTH.......WIND........and.......FIRE....

fear the kiffin

UTandETSUfan writes:

in response to BobbeaVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kiffin may use him as a "wedge buster" on kickoffs... he is fairly expendable! lol

VAvolfanRON writes:

just another POSITIVE response from Bobbea........he doesnt earn the last 3 letters

19SEP09 writes:

This guy could help the depth chart. Rivals # 8 overall prospect (5 star) OL James Hurst announces his top 5.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/video/amp-foo...

dvols writes:

depth chart equal kiddie pool!

i'm just sayin

old_number1 writes:

in response to UTandETSUfan:

Kiffin may use him as a "wedge buster" on kickoffs... he is fairly expendable! lol

Please tell me you're not agreeing with the traitor! Rogers is all Tenn. , he has sold out for the team! He plays beyond his talents. He will contribute this year. Check out his '07 record!

newtonrail writes:

in response to BobbeaVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope Rogers starts and stars with his brother just to rag your racist heart Robert, aka Naffy. If Kaplan doesn't get rid of you for good I think it only fair to let everyone know your full name.

Vol_atile writes:

I think the webmaster ought to look into banning IP addresses instead of user names. Maybe that would cure some of these sophmoric interlopers. It can be done.

Vol_atile writes:

sophomoric...whoops

belayvol writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

Summarize todays practice at QB

Coleman: 2 more picks
One Hopper aka Jonathon Crompton; Another pick
Stephens; Zero picks...get ready for Saturday Nick and go win this job

If Kiffin, Cheney and Reeves think Jonathon Crompton is the best they have, maybe the coaches need to be drug tested..from the people who have been at practice have all said Crompton looks as bad as 2008 and BJ is just not an SEC QB and Stephens is....

GaytorHater writes:

in response to Rich_Rollin_09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TommyJack writes:

in response to newtonrail:

I hope Rogers starts and stars with his brother just to rag your racist heart Robert, aka Naffy. If Kaplan doesn't get rid of you for good I think it only fair to let everyone know your full name.

I predict big year for Rogers.

Dupree69 writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Momma Momma I want some milk.

Dupree69 writes:

in response to belayvol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I can cross my eyes like the dude playing dueling banjo on Deliverance.

Dupree69 writes:

I sometimes pretend I'm in the Halls Highschool Marching Band as well. I have a flutey instrument and a toy geetar.

TommyJack writes:

in response to Dupree69:

I sometimes pretend I'm in the Halls Highschool Marching Band as well. I have a flutey instrument and a toy geetar.

flutey instrument like a skin flute?

rockytopman writes:

Anyone know why Hubbs is saying this will be the 3rd highest attended O&W game? I figured higher I guess.

rockytopman writes:

The University of Tennessee announced Thursday that ticket distribution for Saturday's Dish Network Orange and White Game has surpassed the 30,000 mark, making it the largest pre-sale in school history and setting the stage for the 2009 game to be UT's second largest spring game crowd.

The Vols all-time record spring mark of 73,801 was set in 1986. Since that time, the next largest crowds have been 31,500 in 1988 and 28,898 last year. With a record pre-sale and clear weather predicted for Saturday, those marks seem in jeopardy of being surpassed.

I guess a little research would've helped...but then again I like talking to myself.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to Dupree69:

I can cross my eyes like the dude playing dueling banjo on Deliverance.

Kinda nostalgic missing Dupree in front of his favorite donut shop in the Am's.

Even remember his record 47 buggy push at Halls C K Mart.

Things change.

elchichon writes:

in response to burntorangeVOLffle:

So Crompton and Rogers are still first team just as if Fulmer never left.

Fear the Kiffen.

Kiffin*

VolGraduate writes:

in response to sjt18:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Rogers will play until he drops a 3rd down pass

99gator writes:

i keep saying this....but, it continues to bear repeating.

it will take time folks.

there is no great qb on the roster. none. tenn may sign a bblue chipper in 2010 and have him start as a true freshman, but the answer is not on the roster.

that is true at several positions.

they are good enough to be competitive. they are good enough to go to a bowl game.

but, he will need time to get a roster together that can go compete with the big boys. it is what it is.

don't be surprised if some freshman get some serious playing time at several spots by the end of october if not sooner.

Caveman writes:

in response to 99gator:

i keep saying this....but, it continues to bear repeating.

it will take time folks.

there is no great qb on the roster. none. tenn may sign a bblue chipper in 2010 and have him start as a true freshman, but the answer is not on the roster.

that is true at several positions.

they are good enough to be competitive. they are good enough to go to a bowl game.

but, he will need time to get a roster together that can go compete with the big boys. it is what it is.

don't be surprised if some freshman get some serious playing time at several spots by the end of october if not sooner.

Caveman say you speak truth... Oh - and I hate to agree with Gator fan.

Fire say NUFF SAID!!

RockyTop1_old writes:

Can KNS not monitor some of the 'trash' put on this site more closely? I would like a site where I would feel safe allowing my grandkids to read comments and catch fire for the VOLS! Not the dribble and sometimes profane comments I have seen in recent days!

True VOLS know how to express themselves without being vulgar or offensive. Let's stick to the facts, BAMA is enemy number one in the SEC and Florida prior to "visor-boy" was just an after thought that had NEVER even won an SEC Championship! I give them their due as of late along with Tebow! That said "lets drain the Swamp or at least get it started this year!" We are not taking it any more, beware the Kiffinator, THE VOLS ARE COMING!! GO VOLS!!

See you at the O/W game tomorrow!!

99gator writes:

in response to sjt18:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

well, i am not sure any of these guys have played up to john parker wilson's level (even prior to wilson's 2008 season).

but, the main problem is that none of these qb's will be playing behind alabama's 2008 offensive line.

alabama got away with a mediocre receiving corps (except julio jones) and an average qb because the offensive line wasn't just pretty good or good. they pancaked most of their competition.

tennessee doesn't have close to that kind of line, but they do have an average (at best) qb and a mediocre receiving corps.

now, if bryce brown is so good that he's one of those backs who can get yards even if there is no hole, that will help a bunch.

but, i think in 2009, the offense for tennessee will have major problems.

however, the good news, is that simply eliminating the "bonehead" stuff will make for a much better offense anyway

Dupree69 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

flutey instrument like a skin flute?

No - like a juice harp.

Dupree69 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Kinda nostalgic missing Dupree in front of his favorite donut shop in the Am's.

Even remember his record 47 buggy push at Halls C K Mart.

Things change.

pdhuff - I love you man. Will you take me fishin?

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to 99gator:

well, i am not sure any of these guys have played up to john parker wilson's level (even prior to wilson's 2008 season).

but, the main problem is that none of these qb's will be playing behind alabama's 2008 offensive line.

alabama got away with a mediocre receiving corps (except julio jones) and an average qb because the offensive line wasn't just pretty good or good. they pancaked most of their competition.

tennessee doesn't have close to that kind of line, but they do have an average (at best) qb and a mediocre receiving corps.

now, if bryce brown is so good that he's one of those backs who can get yards even if there is no hole, that will help a bunch.

but, i think in 2009, the offense for tennessee will have major problems.

however, the good news, is that simply eliminating the "bonehead" stuff will make for a much better offense anyway

Wow, you know so much about the team that you should be a coach....Here's me thinking there is a reason you are not. Keep this in mind bonehead, games are not played on paper. Kiffin and co. can make up for not having a roster loaded with 5* recruits at the moment. Some of these other Vol fans may "respect" you, but I don't. You go on diatribes, and I am sure, pat yourself on the back after each on. GET OVER YOURSELF. If you think Tennessee is just going to pack it in, and hope for a bowl this year, you are kidding yourself. I'm predicting a 8 win season, plus nine with the bowl. Don't be so self righteous that you don't think we can play with the Gay tors this year. I'm sure you were on a Ole Miss message board saying the same thing last year.

Take a hike.

volhallathunder writes:

Crompton will be the starter against WKY. Don't like it and don't think it'll last but that's the way it's gonna be. Next subject.

volhallathunder writes:

in response to Dupree69:

No - like a juice harp.

Didn't you botch an attempt at a tebow impersonation and accidently lose the "skin flute"?

99gator writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

Wow, you know so much about the team that you should be a coach....Here's me thinking there is a reason you are not. Keep this in mind bonehead, games are not played on paper. Kiffin and co. can make up for not having a roster loaded with 5* recruits at the moment. Some of these other Vol fans may "respect" you, but I don't. You go on diatribes, and I am sure, pat yourself on the back after each on. GET OVER YOURSELF. If you think Tennessee is just going to pack it in, and hope for a bowl this year, you are kidding yourself. I'm predicting a 8 win season, plus nine with the bowl. Don't be so self righteous that you don't think we can play with the Gay tors this year. I'm sure you were on a Ole Miss message board saying the same thing last year.

Take a hike.

ok, a few problems.

for sake of argument, i will concur that kiffin and his staff are great coaches.

well, great.

rich brooks, bobby petrino, and mark richt have coached teams to bcs bowls. bobby johnson coached vandy to a bowl game (a truly great accomplishment) and won.

nick saban, steve spurrier, urban meyer, and les miles all have national championship jewelry.

you are not the only school in the SEC with a good coach or coaches.

which means......you need talent.

now, i am sorry if you don't see it. i am sorry if you don't want to believe it. but, the talent is not where it needs to be at tennessee.

i don't care how big an idiot some of you think phil fulmer is, if tennessee had great talent they would not have lost to wyoming under any set of circumstances.

now, i have said i think tennessee will win around 8 games. so, i don't know how much we disagree since you think tennessee will win 8 games.

volhallathunder writes:

in response to sjt18:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Crompton is on his third comeback attempt, he couldn't beat out an injured Ainge, he bombed last year and now this. I personally think sequels are boring.

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