Stephens making best of down time

Nick Stephens knew it the moment it happened.

It occurred during a workout last week when the Tennessee quarterback slipped and quickly stuck his hand out to break his fall. Instead, he broke his wrist.

“It bent all the way back,” Stephens said Tuesday.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. With a new coaching staff in place, every position, including quarterback, is up for grabs.

“It’s very frustrating, but you can’t dwell on something like this,” the junior said. “You just have to go out and keep working.”

That means more footwork drills, more fundamental work and more time studying tape.

But, he can’t pass.

“I’m going to be doing everything like I wasn’t hurt except for throwing the football,” he said. “I don’t expect to fall behind at all. As a matter of fact, I feel I can move ahead because I’ll spend more time in the film room, more time getting mental reps so when I do step on the field, I’ll be ready to go.”

Last year, an injury at this timemight have been impossible to overcome.

UT’s offense under then coordinator Dave Clawson was predicated on complicated calls and reads. Practice time was a must.

This season, UT’s offense under head coach Lane Kiffin and coordinator Jim Chaney figures to much less complicated.

“That makes a huge difference,” Stephens said. “I almost feel completely comfortable with (this offense) right now.

“I’m not saying I know everything. I’m not saying that at all, but with the stuff that I do know, I feel comfortable going out there and running it.”

Chaney believes Stephens has what it takes to overcome the untimely setback.

“It’s not a favorable issue; it’s not at all,” Chaney said. “Nick understands that. You’ve got to make up for that somehow.

“I’m certain that Nick — being the competitive person he is — will find a way to keep up with everybody. He’ll do his due diligence to stay on top of it. He’s fallen a bit behind but he’ll catch up.”

It will be up to senior Jonathan Crompton and sophomore B.J. Coleman to handle all of the spring practice snaps. Kiffin said the two will share first-team snaps equally for now.

“First and foremost,” Chaney quipped, “we hope we don’t hyperventilate either one of them.”

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Comments » 52

bigtangerine writes:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

Homermoosevols writes:

Keep the faith.

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

Keep your chin up tangerine. At least you aren't pumping gas in SC.

tngivem6 writes:

One down..hopefully this will be the only injury The Vols experience during spring practice..opens the door for BJ to move up and take the position..

Hacksaw57 writes:

This ends the speculation on what happened to his wrist.
He was preparing for the spring as he should have been. He wasn't in a bar fight or on a crazy rampage as others so hurriedly speculated. He was preparing for battle.

Ironcity writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

Tangerine are you suggesting that you would feel better if Stephens made the first practice? I personally feel he is number three anyways. He just isn't mobile enough for my taste.

Ironcity writes:

I hope they let our QB's chuck it down field in practice. I always hate it when you see scrimmage stats that show the QB's 12-16 for 75 yards.

As for Stephens. i believe he is the third best QB anyways. I will feel better if it ends up being Coleman.

NUCLEARORANGE5712 writes:

Lets go B.J. Step it up bro! I really hope Donald steps it up at Linebacker! GO VOLS!

Volunatic writes:

Sorry to hear about that. I hope Nick heals up quickly!

TNfaninMS writes:

Anyone else hear something about Bryce Brown visiting this weekend with his family? I heard it on another board. Guess we will find out sooner or later!!

ArealVolFan writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

Right, your dead on. A top 15 class and a injured qb that probably won't start anyway and will likely end up as the third string guy. I'm super depressed. There is no hope....

VolJoe writes:

bigtangerine is a memphis fan

utmdm writes:

in response to TNfaninMS:

Anyone else hear something about Bryce Brown visiting this weekend with his family? I heard it on another board. Guess we will find out sooner or later!!

Says he is going to fast and make a spiritual decision:

http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/...

Volchaz writes:

Looks like Crompton just moved up from #3 to #2 on the depth chart. Hope BJ can stay healthy, we're going to need him.

Bigger_Al writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's interesting, man.

kabzs writes:

BJ: 3 yr starter

DisorientedVol writes:

in response to utmdm:

Says he is going to fast and make a spiritual decision:

http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/...

I hope God doesn't tell him to go to Georgia. That seems to be a favorite answer of his. He must be an alumni. just kidding. Go Vols!

MidTennVol writes:

Hang in there, Nick. You impressed a lot of us out here last year.

Just keep your cool this time out and don't act like a high schooler when you make a mistake. Shake it off and get better.

cgbtn writes:

in response to utmdm:

Says he is going to fast and make a spiritual decision:

http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/...

If he's going to bring Butler with him, we should follow Miami's lead and cut this guy loose. Regardless of his skills, I don't believe an 18 yr-old with a press agent is what this program needs right now.

DenverVol writes:

in response to utmdm:

Says he is going to fast and make a spiritual decision:

http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/...

I'm about tired of hearing from this Bryce Brown kid and his "mentor"...especially now that Oku is wearing orange. Brown needs to sign with Oregon and be closer to the Nike factory.

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

Nick: you are the most competitive QB UT has on staff. the facts are this: Crompton was given the job last year, everyone knows that the former head coach gave the job to the one hop hit my knee pass Crompton....secondly, BJ is a nice kid from Tenn, but he is not D1 material, if he was they would have thrown the ball 40 times against Vandy...big difference fromn the high schoolers you went up against at Hargrave...I am glad the home fixin is over in KnoxVegas..now play the best players not the homers that Fulmer ran---PS Chavis played only the best...

Nick Stephens work your tail off and go win this job again like you did in 2008

dvhill100 writes:

Unless we are extremely lucky, he won't be the only injury. A physical spring (which I agree with including no green jerseys for anyone) will get people hurt. The conditioning program will help a lot in prevention. Having said that, if the injury bug bites too hard, we could be in trouble as thin as we are. Time for the coaches to finally get out from all the media trashing and do what they were hired to do: coach and teach. I am SO looking forward to this coming season.

CoverOrange writes:

Two references in two days to the Clawfense being "complicated" and players not getting it. Funny that I don't remember that kind of verbage eleven months ago. Is that 20-20 hindsight Drew Edwards and Dave Hooker or is that the line the players are feeding you.

whatever you guys think of Nick or BJ or Jon, we need three QBs around next season. Especially if Gerald and Eric are too busy elsewhere to step in.

volroadwarrior writes:

in response to utmdm:

Says he is going to fast and make a spiritual decision:

http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/...

This Butler guy is a complete nincompoop. If he has this kind of influence over this kid, I question the kid's intelligence. Why doesn't he just pray, have a seance, roll dice or flip coins instead of starving. Butler has to do something "mystic" or something to justify his position. Flim flam artist.

jimr07 writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

it is fizzling only in your mind. i know it disappoints you. and, what does your post have to do with Nick Stephens breaking his wrist?

kdaff51 writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

Hope they dont let you play with pointed or sharp instruments......

Ironcity writes:

in response to QB_10:

Nick: you are the most competitive QB UT has on staff. the facts are this: Crompton was given the job last year, everyone knows that the former head coach gave the job to the one hop hit my knee pass Crompton....secondly, BJ is a nice kid from Tenn, but he is not D1 material, if he was they would have thrown the ball 40 times against Vandy...big difference fromn the high schoolers you went up against at Hargrave...I am glad the home fixin is over in KnoxVegas..now play the best players not the homers that Fulmer ran---PS Chavis played only the best...

Nick Stephens work your tail off and go win this job again like you did in 2008

None of our QB's gave us any reason to be optimistic about their play this year. The only difference between Coleman and the other two is that the other two proved they couldn't compete in the SEC. Coleman never got the chance.

Stephens has no mobility. No matter who QB's he has to be ability to move in the pocket and sometimes outside the pocket. In Stephens case that's just not going to happen. If we ever need to throw a hail mary then Stephens is your guy, otherwise I 'll take the other two.

utvolntrs writes:

in response to volroadwarrior:

This Butler guy is a complete nincompoop. If he has this kind of influence over this kid, I question the kid's intelligence. Why doesn't he just pray, have a seance, roll dice or flip coins instead of starving. Butler has to do something "mystic" or something to justify his position. Flim flam artist.

nincompoop, lol. never seen any1 actually spell that before.

utvolntrs writes:

Where is Jim Bob Cooter when you need him?

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

in response to Ironcity:

None of our QB's gave us any reason to be optimistic about their play this year. The only difference between Coleman and the other two is that the other two proved they couldn't compete in the SEC. Coleman never got the chance.

Stephens has no mobility. No matter who QB's he has to be ability to move in the pocket and sometimes outside the pocket. In Stephens case that's just not going to happen. If we ever need to throw a hail mary then Stephens is your guy, otherwise I 'll take the other two.

Iron City- appreciate your comments, everyone has there view and at least in 2009 the best will start, barring no more injuries..Coleman's brken foot can rear its head again, Crompton's bad ankle will rear its head again, he gets chewing gum...just so everyone knows the fact is this- the fastest QB of the 3 is Nick Stephens, including lateral movement...Iron City good luck and send Santonio Holmes to KnoxVegas...

cgbtn writes:

in response to ButchIsBack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Interesting. Where and when did the players say that?

marvinVol writes:

I can't believe all the whining going on. I am excited about the new staff, the new recruits and the future of big Orange football. Save the negative comments until next December!

Go Big Orange!!!!

ColeTrickle writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

we should get you a "jump to conclusions mat", like on the movie Office Space, so you can jump on it! maybe I will put it over a very deep well for you.

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

in response to ButchIsBack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go to hell?

Ironcity writes:

in response to QB_10:

Iron City- appreciate your comments, everyone has there view and at least in 2009 the best will start, barring no more injuries..Coleman's brken foot can rear its head again, Crompton's bad ankle will rear its head again, he gets chewing gum...just so everyone knows the fact is this- the fastest QB of the 3 is Nick Stephens, including lateral movement...Iron City good luck and send Santonio Holmes to KnoxVegas...

Stephens may be the fastest but his pocket presence was poor and his initial first step is slow. Casey Clausen was slow as Christmas but he had a way of stepping up and moving in the pocket that allowed him to make a number of plays. Crompton struggles as well moving within the pocket. Now I did not get to see Coleman much but from what I saw in his limited snaps he showed some ability to move within the pocket. I do agree with you that who ever shows the most will start next year and I don't think that was the case last year.

Vol43 writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

So what do you suggest Mr. bigtangerine? should we close the football program down? You got an answer?

smokyredbone writes:

in response to bigtangerine:

Hard to stay positive lately. The recruiting dream team is fizzling, there are no linemen of note coming in, and now this.

Bigtange have a drink and play a little Russian Roulette. If your not excited now it's not gonna happen for you!!

I heard the spring game is a near sellout already!!!!!! Limited seats because of construction.

murrayvol writes:

in response to DenverVol:

I'm about tired of hearing from this Bryce Brown kid and his "mentor"...especially now that Oku is wearing orange. Brown needs to sign with Oregon and be closer to the Nike factory.

Is there something wrong with having two of the best backs in the nation in Knoxville? Just curious.

Vol43 writes:

I'll tell you guys one thing for sure. You think the interlopers are a problem? Not even close. The problem here in Nashville is AM 560, more specifically, Bill King and the Tennesse football hater of all time, Joe Biddle. These guys HATE Tennessee football with a voracious appetite. Biddle has never liked UT and we all know that. King, on the other hand, used to be a VOL, especially when he worked with Bob Bell. Whatever turned against UT is anybody's guess. Even today they couldn't wait to trash Kiffin on the radio. They look for any opportunity to discredit Lane Kiffin and company. I really wish Bob Bell would come back on the radio. If you ever listen to the show, you will see what I'm talking about. Boycott Bill King's show.

1974Vol writes:

in response to sjt18:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Welcome back sjt18, voices of reason with something of substance to say are needed here. If the 2009 Vol offense can just avoid imploding we'll win more than we lose.

TommyJack writes:

Bad luck for Nick. Could force him into the #2 slot behind BJ.
Not wanting Bryce Brown is just stupid. (with respect, of course)

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

in response to orangeluvr:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My son-in-law, who is, admittedly, an Auburn graduate, says that this thing is much bigger than is known. he says these violations were committed while Bama was on probation, which could result in the death penalty.

Buck Fama . . . .

belayvol writes:

Just a thought but regardless of who has the better pocket skills, remember last season and who was coaching QB's plus the pathetic line play which equaled 2 seconds from snap to get rid of the ball. Now if we have improved line play and decent QB coaching, how do any of us know who will be the better QB this year? I am pretty sure with 4 to 5 seconds of time, a decent QB coach and a case of Red Bull before each game, i can make it through 4 progressions and dot the I on a receiver.

buzz29 writes:

What's up with the MSNBC article about Kiffin supposedly telling Jeffery he'd regret going to South Carolina?

pdhuff#552644 writes:

There is a strong chance we won't be losing to the likes of Wyoming-SC-Ga-etc,etc..

again.

No excuses, bring it.

therazbo writes:

in response to ButchIsBack:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

lil-gay-butch

BamaVol80 writes:

in response to buzz29:

What's up with the MSNBC article about Kiffin supposedly telling Jeffery he'd regret going to South Carolina?

This time, Kiffin says he is innocent

March 10, 2009 5:05 PM

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin did his best Tuesday to distance himself from comments attributed to him during the recruitment of heralded receiver Alshon Jeffrey, who wound up signing with South Carolina.

In a last-ditch recruiting effort that was confirmed to ESPN.com by Jeffrey and his Calhoun County (S.C.) High School coach, Walter Wilson, Kiffin told Jeffrey during the wee hours of the morning on national signing day that he would end up pumping gas for the rest of his life like all the other players in the state of South Carolina if he signed with the Gamecocks.

Kiffin, who's already been reprimanded by the SEC for comments he made about Florida coach Urban Meyer, says that this time, he's innocent.

"I never said that to Alshon, nor would I say anything like that," an obviously concerned Kiffin said during a meeting in his office. "That's just not something I would say."

Kiffin has been a lightning rod ever since taking the Tennessee head job. In addition to erroneously calling out Meyer for cheating, he's sparred with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and openly gloated about hiring away coaches from Alabama, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

In the aftermath of the Meyer firestorm, Kiffin suggested that any publicity was good publicity when you're trying to recruit at this level. He also said he wasn't really concerned about offending anybody else around the SEC as long as the Tennessee fans were energized and behind the team.

But he made it clear Tuesday that he doesn't want to be known as a negative recruiter.

"That's not the way we're going to do things here, and it's something I don't condone," Kiffin said. "Things get said all the time in recruiting, but I don't know where (the pumping gas comment) came from."

Probably the best news for Kiffin and the Vols is that practice is finally here. They opened spring workouts on Tuesday afternoon.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Me you and QB-10 are on the same page.

Get well soon Nick.

belayvol writes:

in response to gatorzz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Because Coach K is doing his best to help you with that lard around your middle. Having you sweat bullets for 3 days while you gleefully dance around your monitor naked was much cheaper than sending you a Wii Fit. Beside's it was too scary a thought about where you would stick the nunchucks during rest periods.

Chasboy79 writes:

This kind of thing happens when you are limp wristed.....

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