Adams: Receivers dropping like passes

John Adams

You keep thinking something good is due to happen with Tennessee's passing game. And then, something else goes wrong.

The latest development was the dismissal of wide receiver Brandon Warren.

Coach Lane Kiffin announced the dismissal after Monday's practice. Reason: "Conduct detrimental to our team."

If you take your humor dark, you might wonder why no other receiver or quarterback has been asked to leave the premises. I guess it depends on how you define "conduct detrimental to our team."

If such conduct included dropped passes, ill-conceived routes, and interceptions - what would be left of UT's passing ensemble? The Vols might have to run the wishbone out of necessity.

No one was comparing UT's passing game to Texas Tech's even before receivers started falling by the wayside.

Ahmad Paige was the first to go. He left the program in the spring.

Next was Austin Rogers, who, unlike Paige, had actually been productive. Rogers, who had 56 career receptions, suffered a season-ending knee injury in July.

Then, Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore battled with injuries throughout preseason camp, and neither was ready for the season opener.

They're healthy now. The passing game isn't.

Given its shortcomings, almost any loss is significant, although Warren had only seven catches for 54 yards. But that included two touchdown receptions.

I reread Warren's bio Monday just to make sure. He really did make the All-ACC all-freshman team at Florida State.

That was another program and a couple of head coaches ago. When he was dismissed, his college totals included as many touchdowns as head coaches, three each.

The former five-star recruit from Alcoa never lived up to his potential once he left Florida State, where he had 28 catches for 301 yards as a freshman in 2006. You can't help but wonder how differently his college career might have gone if he had never left the Seminoles.

His transfer was more about family than football. He wanted to be close to his ailing mother.

He had two chances at UT, first under coach Phillip Fulmer, then under Kiffin's new regime. He didn't flourish under either one.

His move to wide receiver appeared beneficial. At times during preseason camp, he looked like the best receiver on the field.

But Kiffin expressed his displeasure with Warren to the media more than once. So Warren might have been on shaky footing even before Saturday's night incident.

Who knows how much other history went into his dismissal? We do know Jones wasn't exactly a model sideline citizen the previous Saturday against Ohio University, and he's still on the team.

Jones and Warren surely aren't the only frustrated players. They just vented their frustration in a public forum.

The Vols worked really hard in preseason camp. They began the season with a lot of energy and optimism, intent on righting the program after last year's 5-7 finish.

Instead, their struggles have continued in a 2-3 start that includes two upset losses at Neyland Stadium. Those struggles are magnified in the passing game.

Quarterback Jonathan Crompton understandably gets most of the blame. To synopsize his problems, he hasn't protected the football and has missed - either by sight or by throwing - too many open receivers.

It's not all about Crompton. It's also about a cast of receivers who have dropped the ball both literally and figuratively, if you factor in their flawed routes.

And it's about a coaching staff that refuses to give backup quarterback Nick Stephens a chance. If nothing else, that might take some of the pressure off Crompton.

But the only change Monday was the loss of another receiver.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 118

VOLKING writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VOLKING writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks, interloper, for your comments. We Vol fans will give it all the attention it deserves. Next.

a10acfan1 writes:

Adams do some journalism and report exactly "WHY" he was let go. What was said to the coaches on the sideline?

DownTheField writes:

i used to like you JA... now you never really get around to saying anything

oldvolsfan writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

numnuts this is not your call or your site so go follow sanders and suffer forever

cleVOLand writes:

Growing pains. Nothing more. We are a better passing team than a year ago. We will be better still by the end of the season.

vut56#231073 writes:

Newspaper columnist and other talking heads always seem in a position of authority: they observe something less than perfect or in need of a fix and have all the answers. Since they type their wisdom and the delivery person puts it on your door, it gets a hearing. However, any and all of them rarely can know the whole story; they see the end of a story and that is their story. Their solution, as always is Adam's, is "fire the coach, use the backup quarterback" or their usual non-original fare.

For better or worse, we would all like to see Stephens come in and win out; for any fan who gives a hoot about Tennessee football, it is the height of foolishness to presume for one minute that Kiffin and all his coaches do not want to win, and win big. It is their livlihood; it is just our amusement, albeit at a cost...if we support and attend. That said, why would we think for one minute Stephens would not play on Saturday if he looked better the other five days? Perhaps he is the rare bird who cannot practice but would play great; name a few big time coaches and their quarterbacks who fit that description...and get that chance.

So, it is what it is. If Adam's resume included SEC coaching potential, we would have saved big bucks to let him assemble a staff and lead us to the promised land. In absence of such evidence, I will just give our coaches the advantage of doubt and dismiss Coach Adams as another half-wit full of himself.

TommyJack writes:

Pretty good piece, Adams. Especially the two lines about Stephens.

DownTheField writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You should be informed that Nick Saban went 7-6 in his first season at Alabama. This is only one example of many similar instances. (You need bite sized pieces of info.) I understand that this may shock you since you spend all of your time here and are unaware of what goes on elsewhere. I get it though- you're a closet Tennessee fan.

Cldvols1 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well there's evidence that your not even a UT fan! So why would any Vol fan really care what your opinion was regarding our coaching staff? You don't see me criticizing Orcar Meyer for leaving Tebow in the game where they had a 24pt lead when he got hurt. That's because I don't care! Go Vols

vols1987 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

haha, this is the same Raider organization that's about to have it's coach arrested, right? I'm sure that's Kiffin's fault as well and not the fault of the worst-run sports team in the history of sports. Btw, gator, why are you still on here if we and Kiffin are so bad. You have nothing to worry about, right?

the10sevol writes:

keep nuke, teague, rogers, moore.

lose hancock (senior), warren.

add ambles, milton, cobbs, meline.

it's not about this year, folks. my math says we're gaining.

GBO

DownTheField writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Mike Tomlin. On a separate note, our recruiting looks pretty good.

vols1987 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Saban did lose to UAB in his first season at LSU, which just so happened to be UAB's first ever win over an SEC opponent. Yes, LSU went on to be 8-4 that season, but it can be easily acknowledged that the SEC is not nearly the powerhouse then as it is now so that record isn't saying much.

I'll ask again, gator, why are you here if we are so bad?

volsenior22 writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

i find it comical that when a team dismisses a player because he whines, and throws fits, on the field and shows coaches up; that you have lost the team! ha. your interesting sanders

DownTheField writes:

The simple fact of the matter is this: Kiffin and Co. exceeded early expectations with regards to recruiting which, in turn, created unrealistic expectations- among the fans- for this season. Before the new hire, we all knew what was realistic and now we're simply coming back to that point of view.

DownTheField writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The good news is that your thoughts are irrelevant. We will just have to see... though I'm not sure how you'll have time- what with the full-time, pathetic, commitment to a Tennessee message board. So, good luck with that.

Vol_Tracker writes:

"And it's about a coaching staff that refuses to give backup quarterback Nick Stephens a chance. If nothing else, that might take some of the pressure off Crompton." - John Adams

Thank you Mr. Adams for telling it like it is.

We keep working like heck, but not getting the right results. Why the headstrong refusal to give Nick Stephens a chance?

If he is bad then we will see. Just parroting a party line will not prove how good or bad Nick Stephens is.

junder13 writes:

I think this is a very good article. For those who are saying that JA isn't saying anything, trying reading between the lines. Good journalists/writers shouldn't be obvious. JA's opinion is summed up in the next to two last paragraphs.

DownTheField writes:

in response to junder13:

I think this is a very good article. For those who are saying that JA isn't saying anything, trying reading between the lines. Good journalists/writers shouldn't be obvious. JA's opinion is summed up in the next to two last paragraphs.

It's not that he doesn't provide his opinion- he certainly does that. In fact, that's what WE do here on a message board. Something tells me that journalism involves something more...

JACK8254 writes:

I wonder how much of the frustration and division on the team is a direct result of this pig-headed attitude about Crompton . What LK sees as loyalty to JC , others on the team may perceive as favoritism. Any other position- you hurt the team- someone else gets a try. But not at qb. This willful blindness to JCs faults may cost LK the support of a fraction of the fans as well as split the team. They think- why bust my azz- we cant win with Crompton anyway. That is also my opinion. I say Stephens cant be much worse and he might become a decent player . Ex- Eric Ainge . Crompton , as a starter, has won one SEC game . One freaking game.

TommyJack writes:

in response to JACK8254:

I wonder how much of the frustration and division on the team is a direct result of this pig-headed attitude about Crompton . What LK sees as loyalty to JC , others on the team may perceive as favoritism. Any other position- you hurt the team- someone else gets a try. But not at qb. This willful blindness to JCs faults may cost LK the support of a fraction of the fans as well as split the team. They think- why bust my azz- we cant win with Crompton anyway. That is also my opinion. I say Stephens cant be much worse and he might become a decent player . Ex- Eric Ainge . Crompton , as a starter, has won one SEC game . One freaking game.

Sounds about right.

Vol_Tracker writes:

This Alice In Wonderland atmosphere that has descended upon us is madness. When a player repeatedly takes down his team, and the whole team has to repeat the mantra: "we lost as a team," some players are bound to blow up. I don't think winning can be achieved by suppression and thought control. I agree it must be won the old-fashioned way; take responsibility for mistakes and correct them by whatever means will best help the team.

Whether Warren's dismissal was a result of refusing to "buy in" to mind control or completely unrelated, I do think this refusal to be honest about who is responsible for what will trickle down to the team and fans.

69grad writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I haven't seen this much bitterness in a while. (Thank goodness.) If you hate the VOLS so much, go find a team you like and blunder your way onto their site. Or go where the other brats go, pinhead.

crimsonviper writes:

in response to DownTheField:

The simple fact of the matter is this: Kiffin and Co. exceeded early expectations with regards to recruiting which, in turn, created unrealistic expectations- among the fans- for this season. Before the new hire, we all knew what was realistic and now we're simply coming back to that point of view.

This is an outstanding post. Simple,to the point,and to me it says it all.Good job.

armyvol22 writes:

John Adams is a SH. Why would someone write such an article? Every one of these players has families. I guess John would love someone calling his children out in public like this.
John, you are an oxygen thief. Go away!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to Vol_RobE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You forgot to tell us about how many times P.Manning didn't beat Florida...You are slippin' Bob.

jimr07 writes:

The most popular player on a football team is the backup quarterback.

kabulvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, he's not the zooker aka Ron Zook. haha

we3vols#281863 writes:

in response to DownTheField:

The simple fact of the matter is this: Kiffin and Co. exceeded early expectations with regards to recruiting which, in turn, created unrealistic expectations- among the fans- for this season. Before the new hire, we all knew what was realistic and now we're simply coming back to that point of view.

Logic and truth. How dare you. Great and simple Post. When our great fans can truthfully ground their hopes and expectations we will appreciate how far our program had fallen and we are without doubt back to the foundation. Once the foundation has been laid we will begin to build. Build it and they will come. Go Vols.

GreerVol22 writes:

I wouldn't mind seeing Stephens if for no other reason than to prove to everyone he is no better or worse. Did anyone see him on the sideline? Arms crossed, picking his nose , and about as interested as a 5 year old in church.

rockytop#413695 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

DC, you are again showing what a dumb..ss idiot you really are. Kiffin was with Pete Carrol from day one at USC. He was the recruiting co-ordinator and an assistant under OC Norm Chow. So, yeah, he helped rebuild USC from bottom up.

If you think he is such a bad HC, then as a Gator fan you should be hoping we keep him for a long time. But, I have a feeling you know when he gets the talent in, things will look very different.

volsfanlostinthebigeasy writes:

in response to vut56#231073:

Newspaper columnist and other talking heads always seem in a position of authority: they observe something less than perfect or in need of a fix and have all the answers. Since they type their wisdom and the delivery person puts it on your door, it gets a hearing. However, any and all of them rarely can know the whole story; they see the end of a story and that is their story. Their solution, as always is Adam's, is "fire the coach, use the backup quarterback" or their usual non-original fare.

For better or worse, we would all like to see Stephens come in and win out; for any fan who gives a hoot about Tennessee football, it is the height of foolishness to presume for one minute that Kiffin and all his coaches do not want to win, and win big. It is their livlihood; it is just our amusement, albeit at a cost...if we support and attend. That said, why would we think for one minute Stephens would not play on Saturday if he looked better the other five days? Perhaps he is the rare bird who cannot practice but would play great; name a few big time coaches and their quarterbacks who fit that description...and get that chance.

So, it is what it is. If Adam's resume included SEC coaching potential, we would have saved big bucks to let him assemble a staff and lead us to the promised land. In absence of such evidence, I will just give our coaches the advantage of doubt and dismiss Coach Adams as another half-wit full of himself.

BEAUTIFUL.....if only Coach Adams would listen to these words

VOL03_NC writes:

THE TROLL is out early today. I would suggest not feeding the little fella as he/they just dont go away. Lack of love, attention and ...
Maybe no one will talk to him at the mosquito infested dredge ditch.

VOL03_NC writes:

volsfanlostinthebigeasy writes:
in response to vut56#231073:

GOOD STUFF! Say it like it is.

voiceofreason writes:

We have a poor quarterback(s) and poor wide receivers, but we have the best tailback in the SEC, supported by some good young depth, and we have a good defense. Any reason we are not running the ball more? If our punter would kick like he did in the second half of Saturday's game, the combination of all of these factors would give us the opportunity to win more games. It would be dull, ugly, boring football, but we might win more games. BJ Coleman would have been the perfect QB for this type of offense a la Jimmy Maxwell in 1971 or Darryl Dickey in 1985.

It's almost like the head coach is announcing to all of the 5 star high school quarterbacks in the country, look how bad our quarterback is, please come play for us next year.

CrankE writes:

Now if only KNS would drop Adams...

DEVOVOL writes:

Finally the blame is on the receivers. JC is not the best qb but he did the about the best you could expect from him and he got no help at all. Hancock was embarrassing! He didn't even look like he wanted to catch the ball. He got hit in the chest and the face and didn't even get his hands on the ball. JC threw the ball 43 times and didn't have a single int and had more drops it seems than catches. Even Peyton would have looked bad with those receivers. Come on guys the guy needs a little help. If you can get both hands on it you need to catch it, I don't care if it is behind you. Catch the ball!!!

VolunteerLifer writes:

Wrong, again, Adams. These coaches aren't 'refusing' to give Stevens a chance. They gave Stephens his chance in fall camp - and its not their fault he was injured in spring camp. He came up short. They went with Crompton. They must have reasons that they don't bench Crompton. I'm not sure I agree, either, but I will defer to them because they are the coaches and they get paid the big bucks for knowing whether Stevens or Crompton is the best qb they can put on the field. Are you saying you know better than they do?

Ironcity writes:

I am a supporter of Kiffin and in the end I think he will prove that he was the right hire, however for the life of me I can't understand the refusal to not give Stephens a shot.

The missed passes by Crompton are bad, his inability to see the field is bad, but what kills me the most is his lack of execution. How many times does he fall down, drop a snap, miss a hand off, turn the wrong way throw the ball away when the receivers are open all over the field. I would blame coaching but he has been doing it since he got here. Sometimes the stage is just to big for certain individuals to perform on. It doesn't make them bad players or bad people it just means they are never going to perform like you would expect.

Until Kiffin changes QB's our offense will look disfunctional. I wish it wasn't the case, by all accounts the kid really works hard, but the results don't lie.

utvolfan98 writes:

in response to GreerVol22:

I wouldn't mind seeing Stephens if for no other reason than to prove to everyone he is no better or worse. Did anyone see him on the sideline? Arms crossed, picking his nose , and about as interested as a 5 year old in church.

Stephens should be next in line to be booted. Wouldn't bother me a bit. At least we wouldn't have to endure all this 2nd guessing of CLK's decisions anymore. When we win the SEC in a couple of years, all the CLK bashers will be the 1st to say that they knew all along that he was a great coach.

3volfan writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

JACK8254 writes:

I want to talk about Kiffins stated main reason for not giving Stephens a chance. Direct quote"It will destroy jonathans confidence and he will never be the same p[layer after that " For gawds sake- do we want him (jc) to be the same player that has cost us almost every game he has played? I say -try something new, I dont care if you start Monte Kiffin at qb. This Crompton thing isnt working. As crazy as it sounds - I am starting to give some credence to the theory that LK keeps JC in there so he can better recruit a top QB prospect. Would a sane person call out Spurrier , Satan, and Urban Crisis with the talent he (LK) has? Maybe LK is crazy.

BreatheUT writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, look on the bright side. We could have UK's staff and their horrible recruiters and coaches. If we played a sisters of the poor out of conference schedule we would have gotten to 6 victories last year too. In addition, I don't think you'll see us hiring Sanders or wanting his 10 penalties a game offense.

Go Vols!

JACK8254 writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Thanks to the obscene money this staff makes- UT cant afford to fire him. How about fire Mike Hamilton - I like that better.

JACK8254 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Right on Delta Charlie. You are what your record says that you are . Kiffins record speaks volumes. I too am puzzled as to why Al Davis hired him in the first place. At Als age, Kiffins wife (his main asset) should not have been a factor. I could have won at USC with the pile of players they then had. It is a puzzler.

armyvol22 writes:

in response to TennesseeBigMan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why don't you go walk on. We'll see what you can do.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VOLstuckINky:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Of course, the fact is that we casual fans NEVER know what is going on behind closed doors. On balance, this is a good thing. It almost never does a team any good for all their dirty laundry to be aired in public. Football is a tough, emotional game. Players and coaches have their ups and downs just like everybody else, but they also have a much greater public presence than most of us. Very few of us could keep our jobs if just EVERYBODY knew exactly what we thought of our co-workers at any given time, even if we don't feel that way ALL the time. Emotions that boil up in the heat of battle become something else when they are vented in public. Passing thoughts become principles graven in stone. Any later change in opinions becomes "flip-flopping".

As for passing too much at the wrong time, I completely agree with you. We are a running team; let's run to set up the pass, if we MUST pass, not the other way around. Even a three-runs-and-out possession chews up more clock and gives the defense more rest than one with three incomplete passes.

give_him_6 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Even started somwewhere buddy. Do us all a favor...either you are with us or against us. If you aren't with us...get the h*ll out and don't let the door hit you in the backside!!!

We didn't get into this mess overnight and it surely won't get fixed 5 games into the season. What are you...a "first time football fan"?? Just get behind the team and be positive. in 2-3 years..then we can go after Kiff if we are still in the same shape.

AceVentura writes:

Good way to send a msg to the team. Fulmer would have just given Warren an "indefinite suspension" and the attitude of the player wouldn't change bc they know they have to ride along in a cop car and be back on the team.

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