From the inside, Tennessee isn’t completely sold.
The quarterback chalked the success up to good timing. The coach cited a few potential factors that might make it difficult for the Vols to duplicate it.
But from the outside, at least one coach with ties to the program saw more than enough evidence UT and quarterback Jonathan Crompton could be perfectly suited to buy into a no-huddle offense against Georgia on Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) at Neyland Stadium.
“The first thing you want to do is say, ‘Well, it’s the kid (Crompton),’ ” Auburn receivers coach Trooper Taylor said this week on the News Sentinel’s radio show, The Sports Page. “But I think you saw flashes of (his ability), especially when they did the no-huddle deal, that kind of fast-tempo deal — and remember that’s what we had went to.
“When we recruited him, we had gone to a no-huddle deal and to me, he’s better in that situation. Obviously I don’t coach there, it’s not my choice or my decision, but I think just from watching it, it looked like he was more comfortable there.”
The results were hard to dispute after Crompton broke out of a three-game funk with a huge fourth quarter against the Tigers, most of which was spent with UT (2-3, 0-2 SEC) turning up the tempo.
The senior didn’t lead a comeback or deliver the first conference win of the season, but his 181 yards, two touchdowns and 13 completions in 21 attempts certainly gave the Vols something positive to think about — and perhaps gave the Bulldogs (3-2, 2-1) something new to prepare for as well.
“It wasn’t really a two-minute (offense) until the end,” Crompton said. “But just the no-huddle offense, we just went out there, we practice it every week and obviously everybody knows what’s going on. It kind of gets the defense on their toes so it gives us an advantage at some points, but it is what it is. We go out there and we play whatever coach calls.
“I just like playing within the offense, whether it be two-minute or regular pace or anything like that. Every now and then you’re going to have to get in the two-minute, and when you do you’ve got to go out there and execute.”
The Vols certainly haven’t committed to giving Crompton more chances to execute that faster style, though it would be understandable if they did considering the late burst of production last week.
But going to the no-huddle all the time could take away from UT’s powerful running game and expose some depth issues on the offensive line. It might also put a thinning defense on the field too often, and the Vols don’t exactly have the biggest sample size to prove its effectiveness long-term.
Either way, they should at least have a better idea what they’re capable of offensively after struggling early to find a way into the end zone.
“We did a pretty good job in the fourth quarter last week, but that’s over now — can’t do anything about it,” Crompton said. “We’ve got to come out here this week in practice and execute well and get the good looks and go from there. Obviously we would have liked (the success) to be in the third quarter or something like that, but that’s when it was.
“It just so happened that we got into a rhythm at that point, and it didn’t have anything to do with it being two-minute or it fits us better or anything like that.”
The jury might still be out for the Vols. But at least one key witness has presented a case for the offense.