Cast gone, Stephens back at practice

Tennessee quarterback Nick Stephens returned to practice Tuesday, slightly ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken right wrist.

The junior had the cast removed from his throwing arm Monday, two days earlier than expected.

Stephens said the decision to speed up the process was made to get started on his rehabilitation sooner.

Stephens was limited on Tuesday, throwing only short passes to running backs.

“It’s getting better,” Stephens said. “The plan is to be full speed by next Tuesday. I’ll just progressively keep throwing more and more until it stops getting sore.”

Stephens missed the first week of practice after suffering the injury when he fell during a workout just days before the start of spring drills.

The timing couldn’t have been worse considering a new offense is being installed and an open competition is being held for the starting quarterback position.

“It’s been hard obviously,” said Stephens, who is competing with senior Jonathan Crompton and sophomore B.J. Coleman. “You see everybody get fired up. You get fired up too but you know you’re not doing everything.”

Stephens said there’s still some weakness in his wrist and his grip.

UT still has three weeks of spring practice remaining following a week off for spring break last week.

“This could not be going any better,” Stephens said. “This is going faster than I expected. To be on the field by next Tuesday gives me plenty of time to make up what I have to make up. I’m excited. I’m ready to go.”

Practice Report: UT coach Lane Kiffin said he was very pleased with UT’s defense. The offense was another matter.

“I thought they really came out ready to play, executed a bunch of new install stuff really well,” Kiffin said of his defense, “and the offense fell behind.”

Kiffin said he was displeased with UT’s offensive execution throughout practice.

“As they say ‘It’s never as bad as it seems and it’s never as good as it seems,’ ” Kiffin said. “Hopefully that will be the case (when coaches watch practice video), but I thought it was pretty bad today.”

Kiffin said UT’s offense struggled as coaches tried to implement more of their offense.

“We put a lot on them today,” Kiffin said. “You want to see them come out and execute when you put a lot of plays in.

“It just showed us we weren’t ready for it yet and we have to do a better job of coaching it.”

Kiffin said he didn’t blame last week’s spring break layoff for UT’s shortcomings.

“If you were to expect anything — which I wouldn’t — it would be that they would come back and not be very good, but one side was great,” Kiffin said. “One side brought it today … I don’t think it had anything to do with a week off.”

Kiffin said the break actually allowed players to recover from the first week of practice.

Dropsies: Dropped passes were the norm on Tuesday. Kiffin reasoned that some of the drops were caused by new passing routes that were added near the goal line, which affected UT’s rhythm.

Receiver Gerald Jones took the blame personally.

“I think I caused that,” the junior said. “I’m still mad at myself about it.”

Jones said he had the first drop then Darnius Moore let a pass slip through his fingers. Then there was another drop by Jones and at least one drop by Quinton Hancock.

Jones and Moore punished themselves by running a lap around the field and doing ten pushups for every drop. Jones turned in 20 pushups on Tuesday, which meant two drops.

“Two too many,” Jones lamented. “Two too many.”

Warren Report: Brandon Warren said he continues to feel more comfortable at receiver after having been moved there from tight end before spring practice.

“I’m doing much better at working my release coming off the ball without getting jammed up,” the junior said. “Then the top ends of my routes, I’m coming out of them a lot more sharp.”

Warren said he plans to work on his speed this summer. For now, he’s focused on battling his way through press coverage.

“It’s like a fight,” the former Alcoa High School star said. “If he (the defensive back) hits me first, I’m going to fall backwards. I’ve got to make first contact.”

Warren said he weighs 218 pounds, a weight he’s comfortable with while playing receiver.

Practice Points: Defensive end Chris Walker continued to look unstoppable. The junior had at least three tackles for a loss and a forced fumble … Coleman and center Cody Sullins fumbled a snap meaning they had to take a punishment lap around the field. … Run blocking on the right side with guard Jacques McClendon and tackle Cody Pope looked strong and helped break a few long runs.

Visitors: UT signee Marsalis Teague was at practice and plans to be in Knoxville for the rest of the week.

Several former players visited practice, including linebacker Ellix Wilson, offensive lineman Anthony Parker and defensive end Daniel Brooks. Coaches from local high schools and Western Carolina were also in attendance.

As has become a regularity, a handful of fans were lined up outside the fence to watch practice.

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Comments » 96

GahLee writes:

1st?

GahLee writes:

That is a pretty speedy recovery...hope he does well.

orange__hammerhead writes:

thought Stephens made some good plays against Georgia

did not see SC game or any of Coleman's playing time

who's got the inside track? or is it a total crapshoot?

Vol213 writes:

He's betta than Crompton GO VOLS!!!

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

i want the fella who can get it done on Saturdays. i don't care if jim bob cooter takes up his eligibility again.

UTmama writes:

Heard something interesting today from a former Vol player who was at practice today. He was on a sports talk program and said that Coleman looked good and "poor Crompton, he looks the same as he did last year."

OakyVol09 writes:

in response to orange__hammerhead:

thought Stephens made some good plays against Georgia

did not see SC game or any of Coleman's playing time

who's got the inside track? or is it a total crapshoot?

I think it is a phooey shoot. All three qb's have great physical attributes and have guts. They all showed the willingness to tuck the ball, run and take a shot. I think it comes down to accuracy, the mental game, and who the team rallies behinds the most.

Despite what is said, I think JC has the slight edge (seniority) but could easily be passed if one of the other guys steps up. If they all play pretty even, I think JC gets the early nod. I am definately sure, though, it will not take the 4-5 games it took Fulmer to replace a struggling QB. I think CLK will have 2 guys ready to go.

TommyJack writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nick da man.

OakyVol09 writes:

"phooey".....REALLY KNS?

gnm53108 writes:

Hot damn!

Pullin for ya Nick.

SEAL_9821 writes:

Crompton has some mental issues. On the other hand, Stephens didn't have a great year last year, but I thought he made some good decisions at times, along with throws. I just hope whoever it is will be a leader and take charge of the offense. What the heck, give the ball to one of the 4 stud running backs we have.

RJ_Vol writes:

Go get 'em, Nick!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to SEAL_9821:

Crompton has some mental issues. On the other hand, Stephens didn't have a great year last year, but I thought he made some good decisions at times, along with throws. I just hope whoever it is will be a leader and take charge of the offense. What the heck, give the ball to one of the 4 stud running backs we have.

5 studs at last count.

UTmama writes:

in response to no_excuses:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Kiffin invited former UT players to practice. Mike Kelley was at the practice today and called in to a radio sports talk program and said Crompton looked just as bad today as he did last year. Coleman made some good plays and looked good. He was extremely impressed with Eric Berry. He also stated that practice moves at a very fast pace.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to UTmama:

Kiffin invited former UT players to practice. Mike Kelley was at the practice today and called in to a radio sports talk program and said Crompton looked just as bad today as he did last year. Coleman made some good plays and looked good. He was extremely impressed with Eric Berry. He also stated that practice moves at a very fast pace.

Thanks.

CoastGuardVol writes:

Ya know, I am impressed at the quick recovery of Nick. I am by nature an optomist. I would love it if JC could step up, but even if he did he is on his way out. If Nick can produce a quick recovery then maybe he can produce good plays. We have some great coaches so far, so it would not surprise me. I am putting my hope in #17 again (see Tee Martin). I equally would love it if BJ could step it up and just take over. My whole point being, I cant wait for football season. GO VOLS!!!

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

If it's even the Senior goes to the bench. You may as well get experience for the guy who will be returning the following year.

Pops writes:

Crompton gives us the most upside of any of the three. He was a high school All American that has talent. What he needs is some confidence and some coaching. If he can get the mental part figured out he will be the starter

VOLatMTSU writes:

Crompton is a big goofy strong kid. I can't sit back anymore while people say Crompton can be a great quarterback. I have a friend that waited on him three different occasions at a restaurant, and he could hardly order for himself. The waiter seriously thought Crompton was slow in the head. I don't think he has the mental capacity to remember any football plays or make decisions under pressure he will see in the SEC, much less ordering dinner. I think our only options are Stephens or Coleman.

CoachNeyland writes:

in response to VOLatMTSU:

Crompton is a big goofy strong kid. I can't sit back anymore while people say Crompton can be a great quarterback. I have a friend that waited on him three different occasions at a restaurant, and he could hardly order for himself. The waiter seriously thought Crompton was slow in the head. I don't think he has the mental capacity to remember any football plays or make decisions under pressure he will see in the SEC, much less ordering dinner. I think our only options are Stephens or Coleman.

Was the waiter a former South Carolina football player?

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree.

volstasis writes:

I think Stevens knows that this is a open compitition, and if he doesn't get going, he may be the best QB we have to sit the bench this year. I just hope he's healed enough and isn't jumping the gun.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to CoachNeyland:

Was the waiter a former South Carolina football player?

na he pumped their gas 3 miles back

Wauconda_Vol writes:

Darnius Moore?

OakyVol09 writes:

Anyone know if Paige is back to practice?

I think Nick shows the best leadership ability and has a swagger CLK will like. I see quite a few people saying they like BJ. Any particular reason? I have only seen him in the limited role against Vandy and they had the leash so tight on him that game it looked like he was running the G-gun. The kid played hard and you always love that, but I really do not know much about him.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to 1stAndGoal:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wouldnt complain,I like BJ
alot.

Hehehe

I just think Nick is da man.

Timed_vol (Inactive) writes:

couple things;
1 - move Crompton to defense NOW. He'd make a fine LB, good speed, ne'll hit. He is NO qb.

2 - I find it odd some hotshot JUCO QB did not / will not walk on here. I mean, hell, this is the chance of a lifetime for a kid who plays pro style and has a great arm. Talk about instant exposure??? It would be huge.

ArealVolFan writes:

It doesn't really matter, QB play won't be the strength of this team regardless of who get the starting nod. This team should be heavily reliant on the run with as much depth as there is there. Whoever wins out this year will likely end up giving out at some point next season to whatever top flight QB we hopefully will end up signing.

n2thecheckerboards2 writes:

I truly believe it will be Coleman as well folks.

GerryOP writes:

164 -- Fear The Kiffin...

bnakk#240693 writes:

Wasn't Daniel Brooks kicked off the team a couple of years ago?

Skibum165 writes:

in response to VOLatMTSU:

Crompton is a big goofy strong kid. I can't sit back anymore while people say Crompton can be a great quarterback. I have a friend that waited on him three different occasions at a restaurant, and he could hardly order for himself. The waiter seriously thought Crompton was slow in the head. I don't think he has the mental capacity to remember any football plays or make decisions under pressure he will see in the SEC, much less ordering dinner. I think our only options are Stephens or Coleman.

I remember that Coach "Cut" would take a potential recruit at QB for an interview to a restaurant that he had not been to before. Part of the drill was to watch the "read" of the menu. Does the kid make a quick decision and get back to the interview or does he struggle with his decision... Hope this is not an indication more troubles ahead.

chattownvol writes:

In five words or less, what do you think crompton muttered under his breath when he saw stephens stepping onto the practice field?

rocky_topper writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i agree. nick will be the guy!

ctownvol writes:

in response to chattownvol:

In five words or less, what do you think crompton muttered under his breath when he saw stephens stepping onto the practice field?

But I hate carrying clipboards.

fwvolfans writes:

I don't know how Crompton is supposed to get any confidence with fans like these on this site. There's nothing wrong with Crompton mentally. I'm sure the loser that took his order was mad because he's a waiter in a dead end job and Crompton's in school and getting an education.

Bigger_Al writes:

Who the heck is Mike Kelley?

I remember Andy and Todd...

HtownVol writes:

Whats the word on the QB, OL, DL, and WR's that we are going to sign next year to get this team over the hump. If twe sign some top players at those positions we will be where we need to be
With a top 5 QB being the topper!

ctownvol writes:

in response to HtownVol:

Whats the word on the QB, OL, DL, and WR's that we are going to sign next year to get this team over the hump. If twe sign some top players at those positions we will be where we need to be
With a top 5 QB being the topper!

If the first recruiting class is any indication, then the sky is the limit in 2010. I would be surprised with anything less than a top 5 class.

ctownvol writes:

in response to UTfan4life:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is he a pitcher too? I heard he has a great slider.

dvols writes:

glug, glug, glug....who is blocking?

kabzs writes:

in response to smokeyspooperscooper:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Also a huge plus for BJ is he has been a natural off the field leader from the day he got on campus.

He would be the guy to get up early to get the freshmen out of bed early and to early workouts.

Teammates respect him and have confidence in him.

StroVol writes:

Watched Coleman play ball at McCallie. Stud and born leader.
He probably could have played at Yale on Education scholarship.

owpgfam#615513 writes:

Wow! Yale! The tales get bigger and bigger.

StroVol writes:

in response to owpgfam#615513:

Wow! Yale! The tales get bigger and bigger.

Just getting started. He is the best prospect since Manning. Chew on that one.

owpgfam#615513 writes:

*&%$COUGH*&%@$COUGH*&^% You need to be careful not to choke on that one.

StroVol writes:

in response to IdentityTheftVictim09:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree about the scheme. I think we ran the same 5 plays over and over against Vandy and we looked like world beaters running the football. If we have a legit running game, any one of the three could shine.

pms151 writes:

Does anyone know for a fact what really happened to this kids injury?

AllVol2008#1353998 writes:

in response to smokeyspooperscooper:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This is exactly right. Exactly.

StroVol writes:

in response to owpgfam#615513:

*&%$COUGH*&%@$COUGH*&^% You need to be careful not to choke on that one.

I think we're all aware of Crompton's success at UT. Out of High School here is the comparison. Senior stats
COLEMAN: 64.6% 2,927yds passing 26td 5ints 250rushing.
CROMPTON: 55% 2,200 19td 7ints 600yds rushing.

I would like to see Coleman get his chance.

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