Stephens admits performance in practice was sluggish

Nick Stephens lost some ground to Jonathan Crompton on Wednesday morning during their battle for the starting job as Tennessee’s quarterback.

“Personally I’m not afraid to admit that I did not have a very good day (Wednesday morning),” Stephens said. “As an offense, I have to look at the film but I can guarantee we’ll come back stronger tonight.”

Stephens fumbled a snap from center, was off-target on several passes, and his worst moment came when he threw a long wounded-duck-like pass that was intercepted by freshman Eric Gordon.

“Overall, slow practice, sluggish personally,” Stephens said of his play. “It’s not going to happen again. I’ll come back stronger (Wednesday night) and so will the offense. The offense finished strong today. I didn’t and that’s on me, so I’m going to come back stronger.”

Stephens, a junior from Flower Mound, Texas, started six games in 2008. Crompton, a senior from Waynesville, N.C., also started six games in 2008 – the first four and the last two.

Crompton had a couple of forgettable moments Wednesday morning, too. Early in the 11-on-11 drills, Crompton fumbled two snaps from center. The two fumbled snaps were separated by only one play.

Late in the 11-on-11 drills, Crompton threw a pass almost right in the hands of rushing defensive end Gerald Williams, who easily batted it down. Crompton threw another pass behind tight end Jeff Cottam that could easily have been interception.

Crompton also threw another pick during seven-on-seven drills, but that one went through the hands of Bryce Brown and was returned by junior linebacker Savion Frazier for a touchdown.

However, Crompton finished strong, moving the offense down the field late in 11-on-11 drills with a nice pass to fullback Austin Johnson and later threw two touchdown passes to Quintin Hancock.

Crompton has been working mostly with the first team, but the competition for the job is still there.

“Like I’ve been saying from Day One, I’m not worried about that (competition for the starting job),” Stephens said. “If you worry about that, it’s going to alter your play. I’m just doing the best I can. I’m going to come back strong (Wednesday night) and have the best practice of the fall camp so far.”

Out Of Action: Several projected starters missed practice Wednesday morning, including wide receiver Gerald Jones, who fell on a pass route during Tuesday’s practice and couldn’t finish it. He appeared to hurt his left leg.

Starting left cornerback Brent Vinson (hamstring) and starting lineback Rico McCoy (knee) also missed Wednesday morning. Also out were freshman linebacker Herman Lathers, junior linebacker LaMarcus Thompson, sophomore defensive back Art Evans, and senior defensive tackle Andre Mathis.

Gordon Cleared: Freshman cornerback Eric Gordon was back on the field Wednesday morning after missing Tuesday’s practice due to unresolved initial-eligibility rules by the NCAA. UT sports information director John Painter said Gordon’s issues were resolved and he is clear to play.

Looking Good: Freshman wide receiver Marsalis Teague, who caught two long passes during Tuesday’s practice, had another good practice Wednesday morning when he caught a pass for a touchdown during seven-on-seven drills.

“All three of our freshman receivers (Teague, Nu’Keese Richardson and Zach Rogers) are playing well,” Stephens said. “They’re making plays and knowing the offense. That’s all we can ask for, and they’re going to keep getting better.”

Richardson, who took some more shotgun snaps from center Wednesday morning, delivered one of the biggest hits of Wednesday morning’s practice when he pounded freshman linebacker Jerod Askew with a downfield block.

Limping: Starting center Josh McNeil hobbled off the field late in practice after bumping a knee with a defensive lineman, but told a team manager he was OK. “I’m straight,” McNeil said.

Senior defensive tackle Wes Brown, who has struggled with knee problems during his UT career, was also hobbling with a sore knee, but kept practicing.

Morning Highlights: Freshman running back David Oku made a long run early in the 11-on-11 drills, making a couple of spin moves to dodge tackles. Late in the 11-on-11s, Oku made a long run up the middle. … Crompton threw a long sideline pass to Brandon Warren, who made a tough catch inbounds. … Safety Eric Berry forced an incomplete pass when he popped Rogers, who dropped the pass. … Freshman defensive tackle Montori Hughes recovered Stephens’ fumbled snap, but on the next play running back Montario Hardesty ran past Hughes for a long gain. … Hardesty made another long run late in 11-on-11 drills before being pushed out of bounds by Berry.

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Comments » 41

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

I always liked this kids moxie and honesty--proof is in the pudding if you want the job go take the job

RockinTop writes:

Cool....appears Nuke can lay a block on you too!

Truevol writes:

in response to CrimsonTide987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We just need an average QB to beat Alabama, our running game will take of the Tide.

VolFanInAtl writes:

Euwah! My cool-aid isn't as sweet now.

It's like a fuse blows in Crompton's brain and the lights go out for a day. Stevens isn't much better.

longtimefan writes:

Wish someone would stand up and take charge at quarterback. Just get the ball to the playmakers and dont make mistakes. Stay under control aka Darryl Dickey and Andy Kelly. Peace Out!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to CrimsonTide987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

They will.

See ya in oct.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to QB_10:

I always liked this kids moxie and honesty--proof is in the pudding if you want the job go take the job

Agree.

I still think he'll be our startin qb this year...eventually.

Rockygrass writes:

We can win some games if we can just hand the ball off without fumbling.

ColeTrickle writes:

"Richardson, who took some more shotgun snaps from center Wednesday morning, delivered one of the biggest hits of Wednesday morning’s practice when he pounded freshman linebacker Jerod Askew with a downfield block."

ok I may be wrong but wouldnt think of Nuke as a punishing blocker. I think he ways about 165-170 lbs, alot smaller than Jerod Askew, think he weighs at least 220-230. if this happened i find this really surprising, wonder if that was a typo above.

UCFgradVOLatHEART writes:

Come On. I played QB for years. It really is not that hard to get the snap from the center. I understand dropping one occasionally. But almost back to back is crazy. He has been here way to long to be having problems getting the snap. I always say I believe in JC but you make it hard on a brother

VolFanInAtl writes:

in response to Rockygrass:

We can win some games if we can just hand the ball off without fumbling.

That's step two... we've got to get the ball from the center first! AAAH!

kiffownsfla writes:

in response to CrimsonTide987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

aS WE ARE NOW WE WILL STILL BEAT THE TIDE ON RUN GAME AND D ALONE.

heyitsme writes:

Considering that both QB's fumbled snaps, it may have been more of a 'centering' problem than a QB problem.

BobbyBoucher writes:

in response to longtimefan:

Wish someone would stand up and take charge at quarterback. Just get the ball to the playmakers and dont make mistakes. Stay under control aka Darryl Dickey and Andy Kelly. Peace Out!

Well said. Two UT quarterbacks that were great managers. Thats what we need. If Crompton can get the basics of managing the talent around him, I think he is our best bet at a couple of big plays (for our team) too.

1974Vol writes:

Center Josh McNeil was out of at least part of the practice. Fumbled snaps could be caused by substitute center. Would have been nice for KNS to have commented on this obvious possible connection.

bkgunter writes:

Save us from Dimwits like you. Get behind the more talented QB now and save yourself time chasing the bandwagon when he performs. Stephens is a back up.

StroVol writes:

in response to kiffownsfla:

aS WE ARE NOW WE WILL STILL BEAT THE TIDE ON RUN GAME AND D ALONE.

Isn't Bama about to go 0-3?

allvol32 writes:

Nu'Keese is gonna be one heck of spark plug for this team. Lightning quick, excellent football instincts - and at 165 soaking wet pounds laying the wood to 230 pound linebackers!

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

Glad to see this is a NS beating...Jonathon Cropmpton had 2 Fumbles today- Why doesn't KNS report this-- Biased JC ill fumble at teh swamp 4 times.....

DuckRiverVol writes:

My biggest concern all along about the quarterbacks is that it seems mental. If you cant get the ball from the center... nothing else matters! If you cant hand the ball to the tailback without it hitting the ground... we are in for a long season. I have all the faith in the world in our new coaches... but I dont see anyone jumping above and beyond to be the starting QB. Go Vols!

TommyJack writes:

in response to QB_10:

Glad to see this is a NS beating...Jonathon Cropmpton had 2 Fumbles today- Why doesn't KNS report this-- Biased JC ill fumble at teh swamp 4 times.....

What??

rockytoptilidie writes:

LOL @ Stephens needing to see the film... Must've picked that up from Ol' Phixable.

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

in response to TommyJack:

What??

JC had 2 fumbles early in practice today, so why is that not news, but the Stephens kid is..who is writing this Heath Shuler?

cloudodust writes:

There has been zip continuity in the Volunteer offense due to the fact they've had 3 different OC's in 3 straight flipping years. This is a clean slate. I'll withhold any judgement on the QB play until after game 1...After all, they call it practice for a reason.

tdforvols writes:

in response to QB_10:

JC had 2 fumbles early in practice today, so why is that not news, but the Stephens kid is..who is writing this Heath Shuler?

Sounds like Stephens was the only player the writer had an actual face to face conversation with thus he gets top billing. The rest of the article was observation about the day's practice.

ncvol17 writes:

Both are sub par non SEC calibre QB's. We should have kept that kid from VA no matter what Offense we run. These 2 cannot run any Offense w/o throwing INTs and dropping the ball. Yell back at me -- but what will happen when the monsters from Bama, UF, and UGA come calling on Cromp or Stevens.. Everyone on here keeps saying they 'will' get better but they don't do they? Next year we better go JUCO + a couple of freshman

ncvol17 writes:

We can run the ball until they put 9 in the box cause we cannot throw...Also, 1 or 2 INT's and a fumble or 2 will get you beat everytime..Run for 200 yds but drop the ball 2+ times and go home sad....These camp articles scare me cause they sound just like the spring articles..

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Maybe someone was flashing a picture of Clawson at the center.

Maybe not..

OrangeMagic writes:

I'm going to have stop reading comments. It's insane to evaluate the QB's after every play. Oh, great pass!, he's the man, oh no, he fumbled in practice, we have no hope.

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

in response to OrangeMagic:

I'm going to have stop reading comments. It's insane to evaluate the QB's after every play. Oh, great pass!, he's the man, oh no, he fumbled in practice, we have no hope.

OrangeMagic: your post by far is the most sensible of this stringm including my previous 2- You get my RockyTop award vote for the day for the best comment

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

Not to worry. According to Coach K., Carson Palmer had major problems his junior yr. then won the Heisman the following yr. Palmer had more interceptions than TD his jr. yr. Crompton will surpass your expectations and will lead this team to 8-4 or 9-3.

davethevol writes:

I think that both Stephens and Crompton will perform just fine once the season begins. I think both guys had too much of the blame thrust upon them last season.

volsgirl writes:

in response to CrimsonTide987:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Look like some one star to worry.......

rich182x writes:

Tebow fumbled 3 times on tuesday....

xvolx writes:

Tebow fumbled a snap against miss. last year and went on to win nc. Get off these kids backs and support them. Crompton has the tools and talent to be a top notch qb. now that he has good coaching, good blocking, good running (minus foster), good receivers and great fans. be one or be gone.

volstokke writes:

I think Crompton can be a ball player. A few years ago when he played against LSU and started against ARK. I felt very good about the future. He is a very hard nosed player. The problem is his brain is scrambled. If he can stay level headed we can be a good team this year. If not we will have to beat Vandy and Kentucky to make a bowl.

VOLinAthensGA writes:

in response to FreeTDTN:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True. After reading this, all I can think about is the Florida game last year when we were still in it until Crompton's fumble. Woody Hayes once said, "Only three things can happen when you pass the ball and two of them are bad." However, Woody never coached Crompton. If he did, we might have punted on 1st down last year after the Florida game.

tdtnsee writes:

They should put both of them in the shotgun so we don't have to worry about them fumbling it away. I'm just saying... GO VOLS!!!!!!

rich182x writes:

in response to xvolx:

Tebow fumbled a snap against miss. last year and went on to win nc. Get off these kids backs and support them. Crompton has the tools and talent to be a top notch qb. now that he has good coaching, good blocking, good running (minus foster), good receivers and great fans. be one or be gone.

That's why I brought up Tebow, just to imply that funbling in practice isn't a big deal. Don't get your panties in a bunch, it only counts in the games.

xvolx writes:

in response to rich182x:

That's why I brought up Tebow, just to imply that funbling in practice isn't a big deal. Don't get your panties in a bunch, it only counts in the games.

I didn't post in response to you. I posted in response to the article. Never read your post until now. If you would have taken time to notice, I never replied to your post.

madcountyvol writes:

bring on the hilltoppers, is all I have to say! I'm ready for football time in Tennessee!

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