Crompton named starter; injuries mount

Jonathan Crompton will be Tennessee's starting quarterback on Sept. 5. That's the coaches' decision announced Monday.

Who snaps him the ball might be decided by an orthopedic specialist.

Head coach Lane Kiffin confirmed Monday that Crompton, the fifth-year senior, is the starter and junior Nick Stephens the back-up.

"I went back and took all three preseason games together,'' Kiffin said, "all the numbers, all the film. It was a very hard decision.

"We've got two good quarterbacks.''

And one healthy center.

The most heated job competition on the team may go to Cody Sullins by default.

Josh McNeil, who has a string of 35 consecutive starts at center, missed Monday's practice to allow a specialist to evaluate his aching knee.

McNeil and Sullins have battled through spring and fall practice but Monday belonged to Sullins.

"I want to say eight or nine days ago (McNeil) came down weird on it and kept playing through it,'' Kiffin said. "It was really an issue for him Saturday.

"We sent him for some more tests. You can't just send him for an MRI because he's had so much damage (in the past) you can't really tell anything.

"We'll see what the results say when they come back and hopefully we'll have good news and he'll be able to play for us.''

If Kiffin's quarterback announcement was good news to Crompton he didn't break out any champagne.

"Nothing is settled,'' Crompton said. "We haven't played a game yet.

"Everybody's really hungry and nobody cares if anybody's been named a starter.''

Crompton started six games in 2008, the first four and the last two. Stephens started the six games in between.

Both got a fresh start when Kiffin was hired in December. A hand injury limited Stephens in the spring, leaving B.J. Coleman as Crompton's main competition through the Orange & White Game.

Coleman transferred after spring practice to Chattanooga, feeling he wasn't getting a fair shake. A healthy Stephens challenged Crompton throughout fall camp, although Crompton generally worked with the No. 1 offense.

Kiffin said both Crompton and Stephens had very good numbers in general.

"I really came down to Jonathan was a little more accurate,'' Kiffin said. "But if something happens to Jonathan, we're very confident Nick will do a great job for us.

"It's weird to say it. If anybody looks at one of the five most improved players from spring, Nick would be one of them, even though he didn't win the starting job.''

Crompton appreciates that and vowed to continue working hard. He was throwing with receivers after practice ended.

"Coach has done a really good job of planting in our heads that we're not anywhere close to being there,'' he said. "We've got to keep working.

"We all know we're playing for our jobs in week 10. Nothing is guaranteed around here. The minute you stop competing you get complacent and that's when things start going downhill.''

For McNeil things started going downhill when he reinjured his knee in practice.

"He got landed into, he heard a crunch and it hasn't been the same since,'' said offensive line coach James Cregg.

"Josh is really hurting right now ... and it's too bad. This camp has taken a toll on him and over the years has taken a toll on him right now. He's battling his butt off, though.''

Cody Sullins' twin brother Cory snapped for the No. 2 offense on Monday. Cregg said guard Jacques McClendon could also be "an emergency go-to guy.''

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Comments » 177

ColeTrickle writes:

no surprise here

bls8617#370509 writes:

Bummer

rollreadyvol writes:

Well lets rally around Crompton if John Parker can manage Ala then he should be able to do a much better job. Here is to being optimistic lets go vols

ColeTrickle writes:

in response to bls8617#370509:

Bummer

bummer?

HollySpringsVOL writes:

in response to ColeTrickle:

no surprise here

No kidding. Lets hope he performs in game situations. With all the upper classman receivers out, he will be handing off a lot. That should minimize the number of bounce passes.

Waldorf writes:

Simple offense. Hand it off. Run playction. Assuming he's mastered handing it off, he has a chance to look a whole lot better this year. I'm thinking he'll be a pleasant surprise.

mbradshaw1#655539 writes:

Why the long faces? He deserves another chance after enduring the Claw-fence. I wish him the best and he deserves our support.

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

matt52500 writes:

Alrighty then, let's support him and bring the Vols back to glory!!!

bls8617#370509 writes:

in response to ColeTrickle:

bummer?

Yeah, bummer dude... it's gonna be gnarly

smashmouth98 writes:

let's hope he has learned a few things from the new coaching staff. Let's run, run run the ball. Best way to minimize mistakes!!!

movol77 writes:

Here's a revelation:
Crompton is named starting QB. If he manages the game well, the coaches will be exonerated but calls for Stephens will still ring. If he excels, people will talk about how they "knew he would he was the man." If he falters, people will talk about how they "told you so."

Cldvols1 writes:

All I gotta say is he better be better than he was last year! Go Vols!!!

volfan2002 writes:

Hand it off to Brown, Hardesty and please get out of their way.

sothernohiovol writes:

you know what if the kiff thinks he is ready than we all should give him another chance! i was unhappy with his play last year but that was last year! make us a proud vol nation again! go vols!!

abnerPeabody writes:

If you truly are a vol fan,keep your trap shut and get behind Crompton until he proves he should not be the man.He is the QB of the Vols,like it or not.I believe you will see a much improved leader behind center if the line will give him time to work.That has been the biggest problem with Crompton all along.Crompton has tried to play for 4 different offensive coaches since he has been at U.T..That is not fair to anyone.If you love the Vols as you claim,get behind him NOW.

movol77 writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

If you truly are a vol fan,keep your trap shut and get behind Crompton until he proves he should not be the man.He is the QB of the Vols,like it or not.I believe you will see a much improved leader behind center if the line will give him time to work.That has been the biggest problem with Crompton all along.Crompton has tried to play for 4 different offensive coaches since he has been at U.T..That is not fair to anyone.If you love the Vols as you claim,get behind him NOW.

:)

tigervol77 writes:

How about instead of saying negative things about our starting QB......Let's rally around him. Kiffin had to see something to name him as the starter. Remember when Cutcliffe came back and worked wonders on Ainge?? Maybe our staff has done the same with Crompton. LET'S HOPE!

GO VOLS!!

Greer_Vol_22 writes:

He'll be fine...right up 'til the first boo.

go_vols_go writes:

in response to volfan2002:

Hand it off to Brown, Hardesty and please get out of their way.

.... and please don't fumble like a previous UT running back.

chargervol writes:

One thing is for sure, after Crompton's career at Tennessee, he will not be able to say he wasn't given oppurtunities. The Vols need him to show some senior leadership on the field. It is in his hands to make or break his oppurtunity. The Vols need him to take that step forward and command the offense. Good luck. Wish him the best. GO VOLS!!!

Joevolsxtra writes:

Good. We know who our man is now let's play some football!!!

Cyclopskiller writes:

I hate to say it but he is just not a leader of men, some are,some aren't! Now can he throw the ball, yes. but the intangebles, don't see 'em! I hope to Christ I'm wrong but don't think so......... Go vols any d@m() way!

standfast#211788 writes:

OK, Coach Kiffin has made his decision. I would suggest that all true Vol fans get behind this young man and give him your support. He has been through some difficult times and considerable adversity. In spite of all this, he has consistently taken the high road and maintained a good attitude. Personally, I am happy we have two quarterbacks who fought hard to win the starting job. And, Stephens still has another opportunity next year. There will probably be those who gripe and moan about the decision, but if you love UT football, get behind both these young men. Give them encouragement -- and not a bunch of negative whining. Go Vols.

Millisa writes:

I hope he does well.

volzcrushm writes:

NEW COACHES!! NEW TEAM!! NEW ATTITUDES!! NEW OUTLOOK!! NEW SEASON!!(some of the same ole pessimistic a-holes on this site!) GO VOLS!! GO CROMPTON!!

davethevol writes:

I hope he does well. I really want the best for our team.

ColeTrickle writes:

in response to bls8617#370509:

Yeah, bummer dude... it's gonna be gnarly

I disagree. he is the best QB we have, like it or not. like it has been said a thousand times on here, his slate is clean now. this is a totaly different offense. give the guy a shot. he deserves it. poor guy has had to learn a new offense every year.

allvol9 writes:

It's a new season....and let's get behind Crompton 100%. He outperformed the others and earned the right. After all he went through last year I give him kudos for earning the right to start. Go Vols!

jst4tdyvols writes:

straight out of CROMPTON!! YOU ARE THE MAN.

wags32 writes:

Go Crompton you can do it i know you can Clawson is gone now it is time to turn it on. GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEAT FLA'S AS&***&^^

Madkels writes:

in response to abnerPeabody:

If you truly are a vol fan,keep your trap shut and get behind Crompton until he proves he should not be the man.He is the QB of the Vols,like it or not.I believe you will see a much improved leader behind center if the line will give him time to work.That has been the biggest problem with Crompton all along.Crompton has tried to play for 4 different offensive coaches since he has been at U.T..That is not fair to anyone.If you love the Vols as you claim,get behind him NOW.

Agreed. I believe with the new staff and a much better attitude, he will show much improvement.

RockinTop writes:

I'm rallied around him. But, if he doesn't stop looking at the intended reciever the second the ball is snapped, get used to hearing the word "interception". This is the SEC and we will get our lunch eaten. It was clear to me watching Saturday that Kiffin had already made up his mind.

Go Big Orange!

NobodyCares (Inactive) writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Really?

757vol_fanatic writes:

"Did I just hear a toilet flush? Ughhhhh"

yeah you did...too bad it was your Vol Nation Membership Card going down the drain!

SEAL_9821 writes:

We're gonna be alright. It will be an up hill battle and we will go thru the fire in Sept. but I think these players and staff have conditioned themselves mentally and physically so that they will be ready. Let's rally behind this team starting Sept.5th and show the rest of the college football world we are here and we are ready for the challenge

Ironcity writes:

On a different note, if Hughes is beating out Williams, that's a good sign for our defensive line. As for Crompton, I think he's the best we have.

tennrich1 writes:

in response to ColeTrickle:

I disagree. he is the best QB we have, like it or not. like it has been said a thousand times on here, his slate is clean now. this is a totaly different offense. give the guy a shot. he deserves it. poor guy has had to learn a new offense every year.

I think he was "bummer" ing about the injuries...at least lets hope so...Go Vols.. J.C. we're with you...

rich182x writes:

I trust you kid, make a difference and Ill see you on sundays.

Volguy1971 writes:

Last year was LAST YEAR.....Let's not undo what Coach Kiff has done all spring in putting the past behind us all.....I say we kick arse (since some genius decided 7 words in the entire English language is a "Bad" word) and chew bubblegum....oh by the way, I'm all out of bubblegum.....GO BIG ORANGE!!!!

2001_Volunteer writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DennisVols writes:

Over and over again I keep hearing references to how Crompton played last year. Maybe I missed something but I also witnessed and O line that gave up more sacks in the first 2 games last season than they did the entire year prior, saw receivers drop passes, run poor routes, running backs get the ball and stare at the line as if they did not have a clue as to what they needed to do.
Lets face the whole truth here. Nothing about the offense, including all of the parts played worth a dang last year. NS was no better in his opportunity as well.
That said, that was last year with last years coaches and an offensive scheme that was not taught well or coached well.
JC and NS have both worked hard at learning this new system (the 5th for Crompton)and developing their abilities to run it.
UT's staff with more National Championship and NFL Super Bowl experience than any prior believes Crompton currently gives this team the best chance at winning.
Everybody on this team deserves a 2nd chance and none on the offense played at the level they should have last year.
Enough of the singling Crompton out as if it was his fault this team wound up 5-7. The sacks, fumbles, missed blocks, dropped passes and poor excution all the way around lead to last season, including one of the worst coaching performances in UT history.
Lets be real fans and show our support to whoever starts or plays. This is not last year this is the first year in a lot of ways.
Keeping it Real
Go Vols!!!

volcycle writes:

***Newsflash***
Crompton will make mistakes. It's part of being a college player. Peyton made them. Ainge made them. Shuler made them. It's going to happen. Cut him some slack. Last year was an aberration. Throw out last year and look for the Crompton that we expected to see last year. That's probably more like what we will have. Stephens will have a year in the "system" and he will be a great replacement next year!! Go Vols!! Let's hope for 9-3! (I know, that may be too optimistic, but that's my personality.)

dvhill100 writes:

in response to 2001_Volunteer:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Feel Better? :)

I agree that last year is over and JC should be given the same thing any of us in his position would want - a chance to prove last year was an aberration, not indicative of his skill set.

I agree with everything you said less the physical threats of violence.

Get behind the entire team! GBO.

teampenny#658108 writes:

Does not seem to me the two QB's were treated equal. I believe that is why BJ moved on. I believe Stevens will start a few games when it is all said and done.

volcycle writes:

in response to 2001_Volunteer:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"...get your cheese knocked off your cracker!!"

Now that's a funny post. Love your passion 2001_Volunteer. Go Big Orange!!!!

smashmouth98 writes:

I hate to see Wilks move over to offense. He was laying some WOOD at the scrimmage on Sat. but given our depth on D it's understandable.

Gator_Hater (Inactive) writes:

Eric Berry himself said Crompton was the man and nobody but the team really understood how banged up he was last season. He has the respect and backing of the team, that's enough for me. If they have faith in him, and if Kiffin and Chaney have faith in him, then so do I. I pray he'll prove himself this season and erase the memories of 2008. Go Vols!

deadheadvol writes:

in response to rich182x:

I trust you kid, make a difference and Ill see you on sundays.

Im not convinced we will see JC on Sundays, but I like your confidence. I cant wait to see him on Saturdays, and hope for no more injurys, GBO

VolFanInAtl writes:

in response to volfan2002:

Hand it off to Brown, Hardesty and please get out of their way.

hilarious

dvhill100 writes:

in response to lawyervol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

True, but is also true the QB gets too much credit for the wins and too much blame for the losses. Let's give him a chance and cheer him on rather than boo him back.

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