Crompton best in clutch

Shrugged off early interception, leads Vols to signature win

Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton (8) lines up with center Cody Sullins (66) on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, KY. UT won in overtime 30-24.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton (8) lines up with center Cody Sullins (66) on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, KY. UT won in overtime 30-24.

A conservative approach would have been easily justified.

Tennessee had been hit with a costly holding penalty on its overtime drive.

Vols coach Lane Kiffin didn't have a proven kicker to turn to, and with a passing game that hadn't been all that productive, playing it safe and heading to a second extra period would have been understandable.

Instead, he backed up the confidence he's claimed to have in Jonathan Crompton all along by turning him loose with the game on the line, and the much-maligned quarterback delivered a storybook finish. The senior might not have produced as many great chapters as expected in his career, but the last one was unforgettable in UT's 30-24 nail-biting win over Kentucky on Saturday.

At 7-5, how would you rate Tennessee's regular season?

See the results »

View previous polls »

"He did a great job, and you're going to go back I think when you watch this game, you're going to point to that last throw of his regular-season career as a Tennessee Volunteer," Kiffin said. "The linebacker is going to come off, (the receiver) is going to be right there and usually the ball is thrown a little bit more to the left because Gerald (Jones) is coming out the back door on the play-fake. He's got to throw it early, he makes a great throw and Gerald makes a great play there.

"Those are big-time clutch plays. You talk about special quarterbacks make plays in fourth quarters - overtimes, obviously - and third downs."

Perhaps the most memorable of Crompton's career actually came on a second down, but if the Vols (7-5, 4-4 SEC) were going to put away the Wildcats in the first overtime, a positive play on second-and-19 from the 34 was an absolute necessity.

Crompton faked a handoff, found Jones dragging across the middle and put the ball where only Jones could catch it and picked up 14 critical yards. Montario Hardesty scored on the next play, and Crompton had both his signature win and completion to complete his stunning second-half turnaround.

"I'm excited about the way that we finished. I loved the style that the tailback finished in, and Jonathan made the big-time play to Gerald on the play before that," Kiffin said. "It was really a saver at that point because we're in real deep field-goal range, low on field-goal kickers, and we're probably not going to be able to kick at that point.

"Those are the plays that big-time quarterbacks make. I've said it before. I think he's playing as well as anybody in the conference."

Certainly down the stretch he made his case, overcoming a disastrous start to the season to lead the Vols to what should be a prestigious bowl game, likely the Outback.

There have been hiccups along the way though, including an early interception against the Wildcats that was returned for a touchdown to put UT in a hole. But rather than fold or struggle to regain his confidence like might have happened in the past, Crompton instantly moved on with a bullet to Jones on his next pass and methodically chipped away at Kentucky until he found the same receiver again when it mattered most.

"If something bad happens early, we've just got to shrug it off and keep playing," Crompton said. "That's the mentality of our team, and I think our coaches have done a tremendous job emphasizing that to us.

"Obviously you never want that to happen, but if it happens on the first drive, that's better than on the last drive. We understand that, and we came back and battled through it."

It took longer than UT might have liked against the Wildcats, and the development process for Crompton might have taken a bit more time as well. But they were both tied together neatly with one last aggressive pass.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2009 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 71

go_vols_go writes:

Crompton is the comeback kid. Great seeing him finish his senior season strong. WIN THE BOWL!!!! GO BIG ORANGE!!!

vol_chaz writes:

Crompton has been through 4 OC's? Sanders, Cutcliffe, Clawfence, and now CLK. This kid has had to re-learn alot of info in 4 years. So glad he gets to finish on good note.

GerryOP writes:

The only regret I have about this season is that Jon Crompton does not have another year of eligibility.

279 -- Fear The Kiffin...

asleep#212036 writes:

Crompton deserves as big an ovation in Neyland as Tebow got in Florida. I don't know that I could have taken all the criticism he has gotten, and I've been a part of it, and still kept my chin up and worked to get better. What a remarkable turnaround. He is, without a doubt, in my top 10 favorite Vols of all time, along with Hardesty, the heart and soul of this team. I wouldn't have bet you a dollar against a million at the end of September that I would be saying that now. The rest of the conference should take notice - Lane and company know how to get the most out of every player they get. And when they recruit better players to start with, oh my. Go Vols!!!

cphil writes:

I can't help but to think "What if" when it comes to Jonathan Crompton.

What if he hadn't had to deal with so many different offensive coordinators during his years at UT.

What if in his first season as the starting QB he'd had an offense to work in that wasn't so complicated to the point that nobody understood it.

What if he hadn't had to deal with the incessant rants and complaints from fans for almost a season and a half.

What if he'd had a coach that both believed in him and had a system to allow him to finally utilize his talent like he has with Coach Kiffin.

We finally got to see the REAL Jonathan Crompton in the second half of this season. What if things had been different and we'd seen it for two full seasons. I'm proud of his tenacity. Not only has his talent shown this year, but more importantly, so has his character.

notoriousBIGorange writes:

No more One Hop Jon comments from the interlopers...they know that he is now one of the best QB's in the conference. Crompton earned an NFL job in the last 8 games of this season.
GBO!!

notoriousBIGorange writes:

BTW, my prediction is that Crompton will have a longer NFL career than Tebow.
WRITE IT DOWN!

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

in response to notoriousBIGorange:

BTW, my prediction is that Crompton will have a longer NFL career than Tebow.
WRITE IT DOWN!

As a QB? I'll buy that. Tebow's not QB material for the NFL. More of a tight end build. But either way, he'll be another Eric Crouch and 'retire' before he plays his first game as a pro because they want him to play a position other than what he was at the University of the Flu.

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

in response to cphil:

I can't help but to think "What if" when it comes to Jonathan Crompton.

What if he hadn't had to deal with so many different offensive coordinators during his years at UT.

What if in his first season as the starting QB he'd had an offense to work in that wasn't so complicated to the point that nobody understood it.

What if he hadn't had to deal with the incessant rants and complaints from fans for almost a season and a half.

What if he'd had a coach that both believed in him and had a system to allow him to finally utilize his talent like he has with Coach Kiffin.

We finally got to see the REAL Jonathan Crompton in the second half of this season. What if things had been different and we'd seen it for two full seasons. I'm proud of his tenacity. Not only has his talent shown this year, but more importantly, so has his character.

Well said, couldn't agree more.

V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO writes:

in response to vol_chaz:

Crompton has been through 4 OC's? Sanders, Cutcliffe, Clawfence, and now CLK. This kid has had to re-learn alot of info in 4 years. So glad he gets to finish on good note.

CLK isn't the offensive cooridinator, that's Jim Chaney. But yeah, 4 OC's and 2 HC's.

Rough.

bosscat writes:

There should be several Vol seniors going to the Senior Bowl this year with Hardesty at the top of the list. Crompton should be invited, but it may take one more strong game (our bowl game) for him to get the invite. I don't know how much lobbying goes on behind the scenes for the players that go to the Senior Bowl, but it would be another feather in CLK's cap if we are well represented.

TXbigorangefan writes:

Hope they get picked by the cotton bowl so I can get up there to see JC and the boys. I got to go last time they came and watch them beat the snot outta A&M. And it'd be ten times better in the new stadium.

bigorange61 writes:

in response to notoriousBIGorange:

No more One Hop Jon comments from the interlopers...they know that he is now one of the best QB's in the conference. Crompton earned an NFL job in the last 8 games of this season.
GBO!!

I can handle the comments from the interlopers. Pretty much expect that kind of junk from them. The people that claim to be Vol fans but turn on JC in a heartbeat are the ones that bother me.

I was watching the KY game on an internet feed with a chat room on the side. As soon as JC threw the pick six, some of the "fans" started with the "Crapton" stuff. By the end of the game, it was "Crompton for Heisman". Fair weathered fans I guess.

vol_chaz writes:

in response to V_O_L_S_GO_VOLS_GO:

CLK isn't the offensive cooridinator, that's Jim Chaney. But yeah, 4 OC's and 2 HC's.

Rough.

He may not have the title, but you can bet your bottom dollar that CLK is calling the plays..

tntorbett writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Only problem with that link is they don't have underclassmen accounted for. Sam Bradford will, despite the injury, be the best QB in this draft & he's not rated on this list. I would love to see Crompton drafted especially if he could go somewhere & sit for a few years behind someone like Peyton, Brett Favre, or Carson Palmer. Personally I believe the Vike's or the Bengals would be his best bet b/c it would allow him to stay within the West Coast offensive system. Unfortunately if he were to go back up Peyton, that's yet another offense for him to have to learn (which is why I didn't mention Drew Brees here also).

tntorbett writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I would love to see Crompton get drafted, I don't think there are many QB's out there more deserving. I've been defending him to my friends for the four years & he's shown them since the second half of the Auburn game what I've been telling them was there all along. I was simply trying to acknowledge the lack of Sam Bradford on that list. Also as I said, I'm hoping he winds up in the right situation for him to succeed. Nothing wrong w/ being a late round draft pick if you get into the right situation (ask Tom Brady).

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to notoriousBIGorange:

No more One Hop Jon comments from the interlopers...they know that he is now one of the best QB's in the conference. Crompton earned an NFL job in the last 8 games of this season.
GBO!!

It wasn't just the interlopers who talked about one-hop Jonathon. He's been ridden pretty hard by UT fans for a year and 1/2. I'm glad he was able to turn it around and have to give props to coach Kiffin for keeping the faith. It would have been easy to pull Crompton after three INT's vs. UCLA. He looked just as bad vs. Auburn with open receivers.

Crompton's a great story. I hope he gets a shot at the next level. Given a few years of watching and getting accustomed, he might be able to do something in the NFL. He's certainly had New York kind of heat at TN.

ClassicVol (Inactive) writes:

I'm just gald i never called for Crompton to be pulled in favor of Stevens.

I don't have to hide in shame when i say good job Crompton.

TommyJack writes:

in response to ClassicVol:

I'm just gald i never called for Crompton to be pulled in favor of Stevens.

I don't have to hide in shame when i say good job Crompton.

Well, weren't you the smart one.

Ringside writes:

Wouldn't it be something to see Crompton go before TeBow in the draft.

Waldorf writes:

I tip my visor to JC. The guy has improved as a QB and he was an unquestioned leader on that team. Other than his play, his mannerisms on the field Saturday night spoke volumes to me.

eprahm (Inactive) writes:

Most of us were wrong. I hope Jon and his family leave with a positive impression of UT.

Bandit1066 writes:

Jonathan Crompton is one of the all time great successful turnaround stories of UT. He ranks right up there with Darryl Dickey in 1985 so far as I am concerned.

tonyvick#213307 writes:

Thank you Jon Crompton for enduring and staying in there. I admit I was one who said you were one of the worst QB's playing but young man you have taught me a lot this year and I will never criticize a player again. I hope the NFL see what is on the inside of you and take a chance and draft you for they will truly get a talent.

gslaton#227127 writes:

I said in Sept that I didn't think there was a SEC caliber qb on UT's bench. I was dead wrong. I think I'll stick with being a fan and let CLK, et al do the coaching. Good luck to all the Vol seniors. Glad you were here!!

vol4good#206163 writes:

in response to gslaton#227127:

I said in Sept that I didn't think there was a SEC caliber qb on UT's bench. I was dead wrong. I think I'll stick with being a fan and let CLK, et al do the coaching. Good luck to all the Vol seniors. Glad you were here!!

Good Post, It takes true character to admit when you are wrong! There should be 12 pages of Vol Fans posting the same thing!

GreerVol22 writes:

I was as big a nega-nellie about JC as anyone early on. Many of us were very wrong and very impatient. Congratulations an a great comeback so dig down and find one more.

vol88 writes:

Thanks for sticking with it, JC. Great finish!

And, yeah Vol4good (2 posts up) I'll take my crow deep-fried.

smokey_vols writes:

in response to tweetdriver63#346474:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This has absolutely made my day. For all this young man has gone through to now be moving up on the QB board is a testament to his will and character. We as fans for the most part treated him like dirt and he still rose up. He is one of my all time favorite players from UT for this reason. Another favorite is Hardesty. All the injuries and to have the year he's had is fantastic! Eric Berry is a given btw :) Good Luck to Crompton and Hardesty and the other NFL hopefuls. GO VOLS!

volcycle writes:

in response to vol_chaz:

Crompton has been through 4 OC's? Sanders, Cutcliffe, Clawfence, and now CLK. This kid has had to re-learn alot of info in 4 years. So glad he gets to finish on good note.

With learning 4 different systems, I think he would be very attractive to an NFL team....

tnbigg writes:

This is a story about R E A L player development vs. lack thereof. Why have we had so many "busts" over the past several years? I'm gonna have to watch the film. I know they were workin' like heck...

rbyrd#212614 writes:

This is a great line by Crompton: "Obviously you never want that to happen [Interception returned for a TD], but if it happens on the first drive, that's better than on the last drive." Amen, brother. And great job. We're proud of you.

leedsvol2007 writes:

in response to cphil:

I can't help but to think "What if" when it comes to Jonathan Crompton.

What if he hadn't had to deal with so many different offensive coordinators during his years at UT.

What if in his first season as the starting QB he'd had an offense to work in that wasn't so complicated to the point that nobody understood it.

What if he hadn't had to deal with the incessant rants and complaints from fans for almost a season and a half.

What if he'd had a coach that both believed in him and had a system to allow him to finally utilize his talent like he has with Coach Kiffin.

We finally got to see the REAL Jonathan Crompton in the second half of this season. What if things had been different and we'd seen it for two full seasons. I'm proud of his tenacity. Not only has his talent shown this year, but more importantly, so has his character.

Great comment. And I have hunch he is going to be a surprise NFL quarterback.

He will probably be a late pick or free agent. Make a team and emerge after a few years learning the NFL trade like Matt Cassell.

I do not think we have seen the last of him as a player.

GoVols!

ThurmondEppy writes:

A lot of people on this board owe Jonathan an apology, and would owe him one whether his play improved or not over the course of the season. This is college football, not the pros. It's embarrasing and sad the way he was trashed by so called "fans." Where I come from in Tennessee, you just don't treat people that way, especially anonymously. You'd better have the stones to say those kinds of things in person, and back them up with your fists, or you don't say them at all.

chl1958 writes:

Thanks Jonathon Comptron: You are the epitome of a Great Heart. Best wishes for you in the rest of your life!

tyler1 writes:

i said at the first of the year John would be the 2nd best QB in the sec ,as far as just a QB is ended up being the best ,TEBOW IS A FULL BACK PLAYING QB , i have been a fan of Johns since youth league and i am pround of what he has done the panthers need to pick him up next year to replace delohhome

bjlong38326#239292 writes:

in response to tnbigg:

This is a story about R E A L player development vs. lack thereof. Why have we had so many "busts" over the past several years? I'm gonna have to watch the film. I know they were workin' like heck...

this is a story about REAL fan developement vs. lack thereof

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to tnbigg:

This is a story about R E A L player development vs. lack thereof. Why have we had so many "busts" over the past several years? I'm gonna have to watch the film. I know they were workin' like heck...

He has had a true metamorphosis from bounce-passin' to a good SEC QB.

Seldom does one see such an improvement.

Now, onto (hopefully) bootifull Tampa.

lahvolman2 writes:

I was one who said early in the season that Jonathon was the worst QB I had ever seen in Knoxville in the past 50 years.. Crow doesn't taste good.. but it has been a steady part of my diet for the past several weeks... Congratulations Jonathan and Kiffin for knowing all along what IDIOTS like me never knew and had and had the misfortune of opening our mouths wide and inserting our foot. Say what you will, but Tennessee is on the move and will be much more than respectable next year as well... thanks again Jon and CLK... and all the other coaches and players...

Ayres_Hall writes:

It has been a good learning season for the fanbase, as well.

CrankE writes:

Thank you Jonathan Crompton! I can't think of anyone that has endured more criticism, had lower lows, and done more to rebound and finish on a positive note than you. You have truly lived it out, "I WILL GIVE MY ALL FOR TENNESSEE TODAY."

The crow has been bitter coming down, but it's a joy to watch you turn it around.

The_Real_UT writes:

Mr. Crompton,
Please accept this as my apology for cursing your name and casting you off as the worst Tennessee QB I had ever seen. Looking back I get it, 4 offensive coodinators in 5 years has to be tough. Plus a b.s. spread offensive scheme that was never meant for your style of play. You did an incredible job this year with the odds stacked against you. We are all proud of you Sir, we are proud to call you our quarterback. May God bless you in all of your future endeavors.

chargervol writes:

You can go back and look at what I posted about Crompton and Lane sticking with him. I have nothing to apologize for. Now, if you want to talk about a classless fan(won't bunch them all together), what about the Notre Dame fan that blacked Jimmy Clausen's eye. Did you see him on the bench Saturday. Someone dotted his eye pretty good. GO VOLS!!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to Witch_Doctor:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Excellant post Doc..There was a point in the season when I thought he should be benched for good..Props to CLK for sticking with him.
When I watch him now on the play action pass his drop back and pass is a thing of beauty,probably the best I have seen this year..GBO

GreensboroVol writes:

I believe that Jon Crompton could be a real steal for someone in the NFL draft.

murrayvol writes:

It would be hard to overstate what Sir Jonathan has accomplished beginning in the 4th quarter vs Auburn.

He spent 4 years in the wilderness with the previous administration and it seemed everyone except CLK wanted him waaaay under the bus after 08'.

Jon, like GerryOP, I only wish you had an option year.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Well, weren't you the smart one.

There's only a few of us out here. :)

murrayvol writes:

in response to tnbigg:

This is a story about R E A L player development vs. lack thereof. Why have we had so many "busts" over the past several years? I'm gonna have to watch the film. I know they were workin' like heck...

You simply gotta let go of the stone biggie. It's paralyzing your mind.

iowavol writes:

I could not be happier to be proven wrong than the turn around in JC. And quite frankly, it may not be as much a turn around in JC as it was with the rest of the offense catching up to him as coach has indicated. Regardless, he deserves any recognition that might be coming his way.

ClearVol writes:

in response to The_Real_UT:

Mr. Crompton,
Please accept this as my apology for cursing your name and casting you off as the worst Tennessee QB I had ever seen. Looking back I get it, 4 offensive coodinators in 5 years has to be tough. Plus a b.s. spread offensive scheme that was never meant for your style of play. You did an incredible job this year with the odds stacked against you. We are all proud of you Sir, we are proud to call you our quarterback. May God bless you in all of your future endeavors.

I second that.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features