Hooker: Kiffin needs to be careful in QB search

Dave Hooker

I have a suggestion for Lane Kiffin as he recruits Tennessee's next great quarterback.

Don't go junior college. Or even transfers for that matter.

For all the great prospects that Kiffin will recruit to Knoxville and all those that he has already convinced to play for UT, quarterback is the most important.

UT's next quarterback will be the on-field leader of the Kiffin regime. He needs to be solid on the field and even more solid off.

I understand that UT is already woefully thin at quarterback and will get even thinner next year. For 2010, the Vols have Nick Stephens returning, who was less than stellar in the Claw-fense debacle led by Dave Clawson last season, and Mike Rozier, who is best known as a former minor-league pitcher.

Yet I'd turn the keys over to either of them before I'd hand the reigns to the handful of juco/transfer prospects that UT is considering.

Take Cameron Newton for instance. The former Florida quarterback with fundamental issues in his delivery was dismissed by coach Urban Meyer after he was found to be in possession of a stolen laptop.

Now at Blinn Community College in Brenham, Texas, many think Newton is headed to Mississippi State to be reunited with former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, who will make his coaching debut.

Sounds about right.

Then there's Robert Marve, the former Miami quarterback who managed to get suspended twice in one season before bolting.

Given Kiffin's willingness to send Vols packing, he and Marve could be like oil and water.

Marve<0x00A0>was a highly touted prospect who hasn't lived up to his billing and seems a bit of a 'tweener: part runner, part passer. Kiffin wants a pocket passer.

How about Matt Simms? The former Louisville quarterback is toiling away at El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif. Yet he was never that great of a prospect coming out of high school and was also suspended while with the Cardinals.

Good thing universities don't charge junior college quarterbacks for checked baggage.

Quarterback is just not the position where you risk character flaws. I'll take a defensive tackle with a strike or two. Not a quarterback.

UT fans know all too well what can happen. Calling Brent Schaeffer.

Remember the flashes of talent. Then remember Schaeffer being dismissed following a string of disciplinary issues.

In his second chance at Ole Miss, Schaeffer didn't live up his billing once again and played a role in the firing of Ed Orgeron.

For every successful transfer, such as Rebels quarterback Jevan Snead, there are a handful of those who didn't benefit from a change of scenery.

Snead is a rarity. Most junior college players are in junior college for a reason. Most transfers transfer for a reason. Most of those reasons aren't good.

A junior college or transfer quarterback could provide some depth at UT but what if he's really needed and folds. An average season can go bad quickly.

Sure, UT needs help at quarterback and the pickings are slim for the 2010 class. Perhaps it's time to lower expectations a bit if an elite quarterback can't be secured soon. Perhaps one or two prospects a little lower on UT's list could fit the bill.

Upper level high school quarterbacks are playing the usual waiting game. The second tier would jump at the chance to be a part of UT's newfound excitement.

Casey Clausen wasn't an elite prospect, yet he managed to become one of the most productive quarterbacks in UT history. With UT's strong stable of offensive coaches, a good prospect could certainly become a great college player.

Fans may not be patient. UT athletic director Mike Hamilton will. He's so sure of Kiffin that he gave him a $7.5 million buyout for 2009 and 2010, then a $6 million buyout for 2011 and 2012.

Kiffin told fans to be patient as he assembled his staff.<0x00A0>The waiting was well worth it.

Now it's time to be patient again.

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Comments » 154

therewillbeorange writes:

Can't wait to see it all unfold. Is it the fall yet?

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

don't think either will make it at UT. stick with stephens and wait another yr. Good article that makes a lot of good points.

bspurlingcac#225603 writes:

I love the competitive mind set of this coaching staff. Every player better bring their best effort every day or they will be sitting. It is just a matter of time before we are back in the hunt every year. Coach them up!!! Go Vols!!!

FWBVol writes:

Please Vol fans, don't respond to the Floridiots trying to stir things up.

old_number1 writes:

First, let me say that this is a well written article. Hooker put a little time into this. Second, the fact that U.T. is looking at Rozier, Newton, and Marve kind of blows a hole in the theory that Kiff will play the senior so U.T. will be more attractive to QB recruits!

hotrodvol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Please Vol fans, don't respond to the Floridiots trying to stir things up.

Just say No!!!

Noiseboy writes:

UT has NO quarterback (single wing looking good). That being said, if you stink so bad at that position and you've got 5 guys who think they're better, and it doesn't really cost you anything long term, because you don't want to be starting a freshman next year (there are no more Mannings) I think you bring all of them in and see what sticks. Maybe you get 2 that are pretty good with different skill sets. The FL fans that ridicule a 2 QB rotation seem to forget it was Coach Superior that felt the need to rotate his signal caller every down. Even Tebow was a red-zone-only situational player on your 2006 team. Get a guy that fits the system and you can win (Tee Martin or Danny Wurfel, it doesn't matter; this ain't the NFL). Kiffin has already run off 3 Fulmer QB's so he knows what he's looking for and he knows it's not on the team yet. Not sure I would want to go down that road with any kid named Simms though. Any news on Joe Montana's kid lately? What have you guys heard?

old_number1 writes:

in response to Noiseboy:

UT has NO quarterback (single wing looking good). That being said, if you stink so bad at that position and you've got 5 guys who think they're better, and it doesn't really cost you anything long term, because you don't want to be starting a freshman next year (there are no more Mannings) I think you bring all of them in and see what sticks. Maybe you get 2 that are pretty good with different skill sets. The FL fans that ridicule a 2 QB rotation seem to forget it was Coach Superior that felt the need to rotate his signal caller every down. Even Tebow was a red-zone-only situational player on your 2006 team. Get a guy that fits the system and you can win (Tee Martin or Danny Wurfel, it doesn't matter; this ain't the NFL). Kiffin has already run off 3 Fulmer QB's so he knows what he's looking for and he knows it's not on the team yet. Not sure I would want to go down that road with any kid named Simms though. Any news on Joe Montana's kid lately? What have you guys heard?

Dang, great post (especially this time of night!). Is it really your first, or are you a reincarnation of a banned poster? BTW, I've heard nothing lately.

tennezz writes:

in response to Noiseboy:

UT has NO quarterback (single wing looking good). That being said, if you stink so bad at that position and you've got 5 guys who think they're better, and it doesn't really cost you anything long term, because you don't want to be starting a freshman next year (there are no more Mannings) I think you bring all of them in and see what sticks. Maybe you get 2 that are pretty good with different skill sets. The FL fans that ridicule a 2 QB rotation seem to forget it was Coach Superior that felt the need to rotate his signal caller every down. Even Tebow was a red-zone-only situational player on your 2006 team. Get a guy that fits the system and you can win (Tee Martin or Danny Wurfel, it doesn't matter; this ain't the NFL). Kiffin has already run off 3 Fulmer QB's so he knows what he's looking for and he knows it's not on the team yet. Not sure I would want to go down that road with any kid named Simms though. Any news on Joe Montana's kid lately? What have you guys heard?

Good post, We don`t see many now, And I agree 100%!

old_number1 writes:

in response to tennezz:

Good post, We don`t see many now, And I agree 100%!

Have you read any of the '50 greatist games' at Rockytoptalk? They are awesome! What memories! Check it out!

DannyVol writes:

"Casey Clausen wasn't an elite prospect, yet he managed to become one of the most productive quarterbacks in UT history."

Duuuude! Casey was a Parade and Prepstar All-American and attended the Elite 11 camp. Every major team in the country was going after him. Get your facts straight.

borovol1956 writes:

I once made a living as a sports writer and a sports editor for daily and non-daily newspapers. The last thing I would do as a coach is listen to the advice of a sports writer. They know nothing about running a football operation. All of them are only backseat QBs.

old_number1 writes:

in response to borovol1956:

I once made a living as a sports writer and a sports editor for daily and non-daily newspapers. The last thing I would do as a coach is listen to the advice of a sports writer. They know nothing about running a football operation. All of them are only backseat QBs.

As you well know, the job is to sell newspapers. But there was some info in there.

belayvol writes:

OK, i am going to let the cat out of the bag. Coach K's secret plan is Rozier. Don't repaet this to the gator fools. After seeing Crompton and others throwing grounders and seat receptions, opposing teams think we have more of the same. What they do not know is that Rozier throws a knuckleball.

All pass routes next year will be slants over the middle. The DB's will be slightly trailing our receivers as they cross. Rozier will stand in the pocket and throw the ball straight at the DB who's eyes will widen in anticipation of a pick 6 and stop to gather in the ball.

Imagine his disbelief when in the last 3 yards of flight, the ball takes a sudden turn to the left or right straight into our receiver's hands who continues down the field. If the DB tries to adjust by leading the receiver, Rozier will switch to his curveball which breaks the other way. Look for many homerun balls this year which is good in football. Now remember....SHHHHHH!

agentorange writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

the excitement you felt while in your mom's basement while watching that must have been unreal.

littleorange writes:

Now with Dave in charge on Player evaluation, and John policing the coaching staff how can we ask for more!

xvillefan writes:

Signing Marve might scare off current high-school QB's that the VOLS are recruiting. No chance at Newton.

hillsborovol writes:

in response to DannyVol:

"Casey Clausen wasn't an elite prospect, yet he managed to become one of the most productive quarterbacks in UT history."

Duuuude! Casey was a Parade and Prepstar All-American and attended the Elite 11 camp. Every major team in the country was going after him. Get your facts straight.

DannyVol is right. In addition, Casey was ranked one of the top 5 QBs by Tom Lemming. When you make a stupid statement like that, you lose credibility for anything else you might say.

powert#205805 writes:

in response to DannyVol:

"Casey Clausen wasn't an elite prospect, yet he managed to become one of the most productive quarterbacks in UT history."

Duuuude! Casey was a Parade and Prepstar All-American and attended the Elite 11 camp. Every major team in the country was going after him. Get your facts straight.

You are correct DannyVol. It destroys the credibility of the entire article. I remember being in Steamboat Springs, CO when he committed and the Denver papers lamenting the loss of Clausen to TN as he had CO on his short list.

HallowedHill writes:

It's hilarious that we have uf fans that spend their days trolling a VOL site. Why don't these guys come out of the closet and admit they are sick of meyer and his attacks on the real uf faithful.

Volumni writes:

You folks are actually listening to Hooker's advice on how to build a team? From Fulmer's stooge? Oil and water? More like Vinegar and Water for Mrs. Hooker. Kiff has shown that regardless of position, he expects it done his way. We are getting a top five QB who is 20 years old, and wants to come to a program that has booted 11 players for not toeing the line. Think he doesn't know exactly what he's getting. The fact that the dad knows and played for Monte is not getting mentioned either.

FYI, every Clausen except Rick was top 5 coming out of high school. Get the facts straight. Is Hooker really saying we shouldn't go after the best QB's because they might break Casey's records? What a freaking moron!

Marve was in a bad situation with a bad coaching staff. Sound familiar? He just wants to get out of it so he can reach his potential.

Who's he going to scare off? We haven't signed anyone yet, and no QB is going to start as a freshman, not even little Timmy. We need someone in 2010, and a good competition in 2011. This is smart.

iowavol writes:

in response to Book1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You just did.

GreerVol22 writes:

All I have to say is that it is very clear to everyone that Crompton, Stevens , and Rozier are just plug and play and not go-to players for Kiffin. Otherwise, why even entertain the notion of bringing in a JUCO QB? Just wait on the high school hot shot....fodder to ponder...

1963volfan writes:

Dave,bad statement "casey clausen not an elite prospect" Even i remember him being one of the top prospects in the country.

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

If never ceases to amaze me how these socially inept people (for the most part Gator fans) find their way on to our message boards / blogs.

Is it that your own kind can't even stomach you any more? Just too much time to kill before Carl Jr's opens? Finished up the chores for your grandmother and are back down in the basement..errrrr, i mean your apartment?

StroVol writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

As a big fan of Florida, you should check out Gainsville. Maybe catch a game or two. Pretty nice campus. But you're an internet fan of the Gators, just like your cronies. Talk big about Florida but didn't even go to school there. Sad. Since I've been to two games in the Swamp, ask some questions and I'll get you up to speed on what it's like.

panties4tebow writes:

Leave the recruiting to the coaches, they know what is best........you know nothing about coaching as you are only a sportswriter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dvhill100 writes:

While I am not sold on other team's cast-offs, I have to trust LK and his staff. If they feel these players can add something to the mix, then bring them. I certainly don't have the time or inclination to determine who the starting QB will be nor who should be brought on campus. I have to defer to the staff's expertise until they prove they don't have any.

Article I referenced about UM taken to task about reacting to all the LK stuff, the criticisms of his team by former players, etc. The best line was "Lane Kiffin is in Meyer's kitchen and cooking biscuits."

invisiblekid writes:

I think Hooker is missing or conveniently ignoring a few key points:

Fulmer is no longer the coach so the inmates don't run the asylum.

Marve coming to the Vols is a no-lose proposition. He will be a walk on and unable to play for a year, this will essentially be a probationary period for him. If he acts up or the coaches don't like the way he is handling things, they can cut ties easier than offering a scholarship to a freshman QB who they may not be completely sold on.

LiveToRide writes:

My word....I can't believe I'm writing this, but I actually agree with <gulp> Hooker.

panties4tebow writes:

I swear not to respond to the trolls today. Let them hunger for their attention!

WE WILL WE WILL ROCK YOU!!!!!

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

Basketball_Jones writes:

I think there is more to this than "we need a QB." I think alot of this looking into JUCO QB's has to do with competition. Lets say we only sign 1 QB this year, then next year we have Stephens and (insert freshman here). The competition level at QB will be very low. Now if Kiff brings in Marve or Newton, now we have 3 QB's fighting for the starting job. That creates competition and brings out the best in those guys.

I say we let this guy do what he needs to. We have had a couple of really good JUCO transfers come in (pickens and Carter) so maybe just maybe Kiff knows what he's doing.

golfballs03 writes:

Beggars can't be choosers.

Volunatic writes:

in response to gatorz4:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I thought you were the one who said winning the SEC East wasn't really winning anything.
Is that only applicable in your mind when UT wins the East?

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

Kiffin has already run off two 4* quarterbacks (one a Fulmer commitment and one a sophomore), so I don't think there's any danger of him simply taking the first available quarterback.
Remember folks, when you reply to an interloper's post, you are causing their moronic posts to be repeated, and giving them what they want. On some stories, you will see an idiotic post by someone pretending to be a gator fan printed 15 times, as everyone feels they have to reply. Just like it was with your bratty little brother, ignore them and they go away. Let them take over a story, and they are getting what they want.

Volunatic writes:

in response to CLEMSONVOL716:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

No, but he's a newspaper columnist who primarily concentrates on recruiting.
I agree with him.
UT doesn't need to take the proven mediocrity of Marve and Newton.
These coaches can get the good recruits. I'm hoping for Heaps, but theres other good ones in the class of 2010.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Noiseboy:

UT has NO quarterback (single wing looking good). That being said, if you stink so bad at that position and you've got 5 guys who think they're better, and it doesn't really cost you anything long term, because you don't want to be starting a freshman next year (there are no more Mannings) I think you bring all of them in and see what sticks. Maybe you get 2 that are pretty good with different skill sets. The FL fans that ridicule a 2 QB rotation seem to forget it was Coach Superior that felt the need to rotate his signal caller every down. Even Tebow was a red-zone-only situational player on your 2006 team. Get a guy that fits the system and you can win (Tee Martin or Danny Wurfel, it doesn't matter; this ain't the NFL). Kiffin has already run off 3 Fulmer QB's so he knows what he's looking for and he knows it's not on the team yet. Not sure I would want to go down that road with any kid named Simms though. Any news on Joe Montana's kid lately? What have you guys heard?

spurrier didn't do great with the constant QB rotations. I don't think he won the SEC any of the years he tried doing that.

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Kiffin has already run off two 4* quarterbacks (one a Fulmer commitment and one a sophomore), so I don't think there's any danger of him simply taking the first available quarterback.
Remember folks, when you reply to an interloper's post, you are causing their moronic posts to be repeated, and giving them what they want. On some stories, you will see an idiotic post by someone pretending to be a gator fan printed 15 times, as everyone feels they have to reply. Just like it was with your bratty little brother, ignore them and they go away. Let them take over a story, and they are getting what they want.

Amen brother! Preach on!

GO VOLS!!

Volunatic writes:

in response to DannyVol:

"Casey Clausen wasn't an elite prospect, yet he managed to become one of the most productive quarterbacks in UT history."

Duuuude! Casey was a Parade and Prepstar All-American and attended the Elite 11 camp. Every major team in the country was going after him. Get your facts straight.

Casey Clausen was not a Parade All-American. I believe he was rivals.com's 10th rated QB in his class.
He did pretty well overall, except for all the INT4TD throws.

DC_Vol writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

Kiffin has already run off two 4* quarterbacks (one a Fulmer commitment and one a sophomore), so I don't think there's any danger of him simply taking the first available quarterback.
Remember folks, when you reply to an interloper's post, you are causing their moronic posts to be repeated, and giving them what they want. On some stories, you will see an idiotic post by someone pretending to be a gator fan printed 15 times, as everyone feels they have to reply. Just like it was with your bratty little brother, ignore them and they go away. Let them take over a story, and they are getting what they want.

Marinevol,

I agree with you 100%, Vol fans don't respond to the lopers and let them destroy our discussion of the article and of course the future of UT Football. Just ignore them and post your responses about the article. All Vol Fan comments welcome!

Go Vols!!!!

Volunatic writes:

in response to belayvol:

OK, i am going to let the cat out of the bag. Coach K's secret plan is Rozier. Don't repaet this to the gator fools. After seeing Crompton and others throwing grounders and seat receptions, opposing teams think we have more of the same. What they do not know is that Rozier throws a knuckleball.

All pass routes next year will be slants over the middle. The DB's will be slightly trailing our receivers as they cross. Rozier will stand in the pocket and throw the ball straight at the DB who's eyes will widen in anticipation of a pick 6 and stop to gather in the ball.

Imagine his disbelief when in the last 3 yards of flight, the ball takes a sudden turn to the left or right straight into our receiver's hands who continues down the field. If the DB tries to adjust by leading the receiver, Rozier will switch to his curveball which breaks the other way. Look for many homerun balls this year which is good in football. Now remember....SHHHHHH!

That's good stuff. I promise I won't tell any of the gator fans or coaches about our secret weapon.

TommyJack writes:

Let's see. Hooker's piece posted at 11:13. Within 6 minutes the "2" fake gators have responded. Curious. Must be a pain in the azz signing in and out with different names.

bjlong38326#239292 writes:

in response to THEKIDWISCONSIN:

If never ceases to amaze me how these socially inept people (for the most part Gator fans) find their way on to our message boards / blogs.

Is it that your own kind can't even stomach you any more? Just too much time to kill before Carl Jr's opens? Finished up the chores for your grandmother and are back down in the basement..errrrr, i mean your apartment?

this is not OUR message board, it is a way to communitate from one to another. you don't have to participate or respond. be a real vol fan & discuss only those things that elevate the vols, things that are of interest to vol fans,and don't worry about the interlopers & bull shi--ers.

mbible1utk#324980 writes:

It wouldn't hurt to lower a few expectations on signing a 5 star quarterback... here's some less than 5 star guys we never offered...

in 2006
Sam Bradford, 3-star, #17 quarterback
Nate Davis, 3-star, #31 quarterback
both of whom specifically had interest in Tennessee

others...
Josh Freeman 4-star #15 quarterback
Todd Reesing 2-star #63 quarterback
Matt Grothe 2-star, Not Rated

It's not always bad to look down the line for a quarterback, some turn out pretty good. I'm all for bringing in Jake Heaps, but if we can't get him, there are good quarterbacks that are down the line a little bit.

rocky_topper writes:

wow Hooker, i'm hoping these coaches can see this profound article and take your advice. i'm sure they never would have thought of that.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Let's see. Hooker's piece posted at 11:13. Within 6 minutes the "2" fake gators have responded. Curious. Must be a pain in the azz signing in and out with different names.

Great observation, and an excellent point. This guy is playing with the posters who feel like they must reply. He's laughing at you, folks. Be smarter than him and don't reply.

GREATVOLSAFIRE writes:

in response to APPLEJAX555:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Could someone interpret what she said please? LMAO GO VOLS!!!!

Volunatic writes:

in response to Basketball_Jones:

I think there is more to this than "we need a QB." I think alot of this looking into JUCO QB's has to do with competition. Lets say we only sign 1 QB this year, then next year we have Stephens and (insert freshman here). The competition level at QB will be very low. Now if Kiff brings in Marve or Newton, now we have 3 QB's fighting for the starting job. That creates competition and brings out the best in those guys.

I say we let this guy do what he needs to. We have had a couple of really good JUCO transfers come in (pickens and Carter) so maybe just maybe Kiff knows what he's doing.

You're forgetting Rozier-- he has four years of eligibility.
He's older than many seniors (and hopefully as mature as a senior), and he doesn't have any baggage like arrests or suspensions for "undisclosed violation of team rules". He also doesn't take away a scholarship from us, because the Red Sox have to pay his tuition for the next two years.

DC_Vol writes:

Well whether you like Hooker or not, he really does bring up a good point about the future direction of the QB position at UT.

I for one really think Kiffin should focus on developing a four year QB from high school. Kiffin will have four years to groom the QB, which means he will get better each and every year. Also, an elit QB will help in recruiting for the next four years especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Why pick up QB's with two years of eligibility. To me this is a short term solution that may affect our ability to recruit a top tier QB out of high school. Further, the ex Florida QB has had problems with the police, while Marve has had disciplanary problems. We need a leader at the QB position not QB's who have a track record of causing trouble for their coaching staff. We need a QB who will put the team first and not themselves.

Lane should find himself a pro style high school QB he is comfortable with and mold him into top SEC caliber QB. I beleive over the long run this holds the best future for UT football.

Orange_Swarm1 writes:

Who cares what Hooker says, I certainly dont. There is a reason Kiffin is the HC and not you Dave. He knows what fits HIS system, not YOU.

Kiffin knows what he is doing, so let him do it.

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