Encore for freshmen non-existent

Gameday recap: Tennessee 15, UCLA 19

Those prized freshman wide receivers Tennessee was counting on this season were almost nowhere to be seen Saturday against UCLA.

If Nu'Keese Richardson played a down on offense, he must have been hiding on the far sideline. Marsalis Teague played a few downs, but not many. Zach Rogers probably had the most snaps, but mostly was used for his blocking.

Oh, yeah. Rogers did catch one pass. It was a 6-yarder early in the second quarter from Jonathan Crompton, but by the time the Vols stumbled to a 19-15 loss to UCLA at Neyland Stadium, Rogers' catch was long forgotten.

Even UT coach Lane Kiffin wasn't quite right about when Rogers made the only freshman catch.

"I think the first catch of the game was Zach Rogers, a freshman," Kiffin said. "But we didn't get it to them (the freshmen) much. We rotated a lot of guys in there, and the balls tended to go to the older guys more.

"Unfortunately, we made some critical drops. We didn't make many drops in the first game. We caught everything."

Teague, slotted as the co-starter with junior Gerald Jones on the depth chart, was expected to be one of Crompton's top targets this season.

Not on Saturday. He didn't get a pass thrown his way. Was he disappointed?

"No, man," he said. "When you have a certain game plan when some things are working, everybody has a role on the team and in different types of situations. This was one of those games we had to keep grinding it out and keep running the ball, so you've got to do your job in the running game as well as the passing game."

Jones, hampered by an ankle injury in the preseason, was a non-factor against UCLA. Jones was the team's leading receiver last season with 30 catches and four touchdowns.

Crompton wasn't sure why Jones didn't get any passes.

"You'll have to talk to coach about that," Crompton said.

Bohannon's Day: Tennessee defensive end/tackle Willie Bohannon can almost hear it in his sleep: "Sack-fumble! Sack-fumble!" It's what Tennessee assistant head coach/defensive line coach Ed Orgeron yells at Bohannon and his cohorts every day in practice.

Late in the first quarter, Bohannon charged around the Bruins' line and pulled the ball loose from quarterback Kevin Prince while making a 7-yard sack. UT's Gerald Williams recovered at the Bruins' 11-yard line.

Montario Hardesty scored from there on the next play, and Daniel Lincoln's PAT kick gave the Vols a 10-3 lead.

"It's just something that we practice every day," Bohannon said. "We practice as individuals for about 30 minutes long. All we do is work on pass rush and then we go to the run, but one thing we always emphasize is sack-fumble, which is getting around the corner, try for the quarterback and at the same time you reach for the ball.

"We practice it so much and drill it so much, it's just a habit to get my hand in there."

Bohannon, a redshirt freshman, is listed as an end, but said he probably played more snaps at tackle Saturday because he's used more in third-down passing situations.

"I played 22 (snaps) in the season opener," Bohannon said. "I probably played more today. I'm not sure. We actually went more third down (Saturday) because we had so many three-and-outs so fast last week."

No Oku: Freshman running back David Oku, slotted at third on the depth chart, didn't get a carry against UCLA. He had eight carries for 42 yards against Western Kentucky.

"I would have thought we would have come out of the game with David Oku touching the ball a couple of times, but unfortunately we didn't," Kiffin said.

Fumbled Snap: Senior center Cody Sullins took the blame for the fumbled snap that was recovered by UCLA in the second quarter. The Bruins' Jerzy Siewierski recovered it at UT'S 35, and seven plays later UCLA scored a touchdown and tied the game at 10-all.

"The call was on two and the defense was showing a blitz look," Sullins said. "I snapped it on the first hut. It was completely my fault.

Brown Down Again: UT senior defensive tackle Wes Brown, who has battled knee injuries throughout his career, was helped off the field with 30 seconds left in the half. Brown's injury appeared to be to his right knee. He didn't return to the game, but limped onto the field to encourage the Vols before the fourth quarter began.

"Wes was going to try to come back in, and just couldn't do it," Kiffin said. "I don't know any more than that (about the injury)."

Pick-off Man: UCLA sophomore free safety Rahim Moore, who had three interceptions in the season opening win over San Diego State, had two more against Crompton. His first interception, with 5:04 left in the half, didn't cost the Vols, who stopped the Bruins on downs.

Moore's second interception and return led to a 39-yard field goal by Kai Forbath and a 13-10 UCLA lead.

Bowl Reps: Representatives from the Fiesta Bowl and the Capital One Bowl were at Saturday's game.

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Comments » 23

vols21 writes:

rough day. make get rougher before things turn around. despite it all - we came within 1 yard of getting the win.

Vol23304 writes:

Same Vols as last year.

lomas98 writes:

Why should you talk to coach about why Jones didn't get any balls. How about the post pattern where he was wide open and would have had a TD? Instead it was an int. I think we should talk to the QB on that one.

lomas98 writes:

in response to Plasticman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm not that surprised by what he says anymore. This is the same guy that said after the FL game last year that we should have won. He also said in the offseason that he didn't know how to get on message boards on the internet. He may have a great arm, his brain just does not know how to use it.

stayingorange writes:

There's no way to defend Crompton's play, but UT lost the game on play calling and poor execution at other areas as well as QB. We were killing them on the edge with the running game - the few times we used it.
Why come out of the half with that same weak out pass. We proved we could run the ball but we didn't do it enough. This looks like the same scared 2 yard dunk pass scheme only now we're trying to get it to slower TEs instead of speedy WRs or RBs.
Very disappointed in the game plan, but I won't give up.

lomas98 writes:

in response to stayingorange:

There's no way to defend Crompton's play, but UT lost the game on play calling and poor execution at other areas as well as QB. We were killing them on the edge with the running game - the few times we used it.
Why come out of the half with that same weak out pass. We proved we could run the ball but we didn't do it enough. This looks like the same scared 2 yard dunk pass scheme only now we're trying to get it to slower TEs instead of speedy WRs or RBs.
Very disappointed in the game plan, but I won't give up.

How can you say we didn't do enough of the run. We ran it almost twice as much as passing it. We also ran it 4 times with first and goal from the 8 and could not punch it in. I would say Kiffin thought the only way to score was to run and it did not happen. I guess you think we should have put the game in Crompton's hands down there?

LiveFaith writes:

My "not another whine about the hopeless QB situation" observations from being at the game:

#1 Kiffin has not shaken up the roster all that much. Outside of Janzen, Montori, and Bryce the freshman are all backups. Montario is actually more trusted right now. Oku, Nuke, and Teaugue were on the field little or none on offense. CLK likes GJ & DM as starters. Nuke and Oku are trusted returners tho.

#2 Nuke at QB is a non-trusted gimmick to make defenses take time in practice only. Not on the field when the game is crucial.

#3 Interior OL was no match for the middle of UCLAs DL.

#4 Knowing #3 before game time, and CLK knowing the sickness, injury and attrition in our middle OL ... why did he seem to focus the running game effort there primarily. Looked like we played to their strength and our weakness to me. The edges would seem more fertile with Oku, tosses to BB etc.

#5 Berry is violent. Scary really.

#6 The freshman UCLA QB handled the environment and pressure far better than I expected.

#7 Marsalous Johnson is really the starter at the other corner.

#8 The D looked like it made some coverage mistakes, but looks otherwise excellent again this year.

JMO

AceVentura writes:

in response to stayingorange:

There's no way to defend Crompton's play, but UT lost the game on play calling and poor execution at other areas as well as QB. We were killing them on the edge with the running game - the few times we used it.
Why come out of the half with that same weak out pass. We proved we could run the ball but we didn't do it enough. This looks like the same scared 2 yard dunk pass scheme only now we're trying to get it to slower TEs instead of speedy WRs or RBs.
Very disappointed in the game plan, but I won't give up.

Here is my problem with what you just said. You said we should have ran to the edge more. Why do you think we got the edge on "the few plays we used it?" Because we pounded the middle and that set up the outside run. I think we played a good game. If the passing game was on target we would have had a two TD win, but we got terrible QB play and we lost.

Volsforbetterorforworse writes:

Go Vols. Heart. Thats what I saw. Keep showing me heart Vols, and I'll be happy. Almost got the win. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts everday would be Christmas. Get back in to practice and improve. Keep showing me you got heart, and I'll be happy during this rebuilding phase.

VOLKING writes:

in response to AceVentura:

Here is my problem with what you just said. You said we should have ran to the edge more. Why do you think we got the edge on "the few plays we used it?" Because we pounded the middle and that set up the outside run. I think we played a good game. If the passing game was on target we would have had a two TD win, but we got terrible QB play and we lost.

You, my friend, just hit the nail on the head. Gotta get better QB and O-line play. Period.

arkyvol writes:

to put all this in perspective: u.c.l.a. is a genuinely crummy team. the vols, for the second year in a row, make them look like worldbeaters. the bruins are considered a non-factor in a weak to middling conference. last year, the bruins followed their vol victory with a 0-59 loss. this year, they had more difficulty with san diego state at home than with the vols at once formidable neyland stadium (with a freshman q.b.). just sayin.

volpreacherman writes:

Go Vols!! We just have to keep working and and not give up. Granted qb play is subpar but we need to keep encouraging this team and coaching staff!

johnlg00 writes:

There are probably not over a dozen freshmen a year who make major contributions to decent football teams. Most of them are returners, WRs, and RBs. That is what many of ours are, but only Brown looks like a potential world-beater right now. Playing in their first game against a decent opponent--I disagree with arkyvol on this--the real step-up in competition has an effect. Crompton's play certainly put us in a hole, but it seemed that on nearly every pass play, there was at least one UCLA rusher coming at him right up the middle, and our young receivers don't know how to break off their routes and look for open areas in the defensive backfield when the QB is in trouble. THEY WILL LEARN. This is no time to get down on our players and coaches. Everybody is still learning how to win. We will get hammered by Florida next week, but that was going to happen anyway. There are still lots of winnable games out there and this team and staff needs our continued support.

Wherethe____isBrandonWarren writes:

What bothers me most of all, more than the erratic play and the poor decisions is that Crompton seems to take no responsibility for his own play. If you watched the last 4th down when him and Gerald were obviously not on the same page, even if Gerald had run a 10 yard curl, the dud that Crompton threw would have landed two or three yards in front of him at his feet, plus Jones was double-covered. Yet Crompon had the audacity to shout at Jones after the incompletion. That was nothing short of enfuriating.

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

Crompton couldn't throw a football in the Tennessee river .

pammyvol1000 writes:

Nothing wrong with bringing in Stephens to shake things up a bit and get things going. JC does not show leadership. He has gone back in that dark hole of non-confidence. But why to to Jones when Hancock was doing a pretty good job.

crockett1836 writes:

I normally like what GVX provides, but I gotta say something. Why would a Knoxville writer, that depends on UT sports (football) for a paycheck, write an article like this? "If Nu'Keese Richardson played a down on offense, he must have been hiding on the far sideline." "Oh, yeah. Rogers did catch one pass." Is he challenging Kiffin's comments about playing time for freshmen? They did play, just not as much as Dave would like. The article's title only accounts for half of the article's text....maybe Dave should focus on better journalism.

bigvols67 writes:

we could smell cromptons stink all the way out here in california.hes gotta go

VolunteerLifer writes:

in response to Vol23304:

Same Vols as last year.

Wrong. they're not as bad as last year.

They're better on special teams. Much improved. Even so, they aren't great on special teams - yet - and so the outcome wasn't affected. The defense is better than last year. No long drive TD's for the opponent, no soft coverage on third down, poor opponent third down conversion. Less missed tackles.

However, you are correct if you say same old offense. I was very disappointed in Crompton and the OL. Crompton looked like last year. OL didn't look quite that bad, but didn't look very good, either.

kentuckyorange writes:

It is amazing to me how quickly some fans jumped off the bandwagon after running to jump on it a week ago. G. Jones and D. Moore may the best receives we have when healthy but both are coming back from injuries and neither looked full speed. This is going to be an up and down year but the future is bright for Tennessee. In the mean time we need to be patient and support the team and that means no booing. Booing college kids serves no purpose and can drive away potential recruits. Fans don't boo their team, come on people.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolunteerLifer:

Wrong. they're not as bad as last year.

They're better on special teams. Much improved. Even so, they aren't great on special teams - yet - and so the outcome wasn't affected. The defense is better than last year. No long drive TD's for the opponent, no soft coverage on third down, poor opponent third down conversion. Less missed tackles.

However, you are correct if you say same old offense. I was very disappointed in Crompton and the OL. Crompton looked like last year. OL didn't look quite that bad, but didn't look very good, either.

Two things many people don't seem to realize about the O-linemen are that 1) we don't have that many of them and 2) both guards and the center had nagging injuries coming into the game AND they were facing one of the better D-lines in college football this year. DESPITE this, and despite the fact that Crompton didn't give us much of a passing game, the O-line dominated the 4th quarter and put us in position to win. It is too bad for everybody's sake that we couldn't get that last yard, but last year's team would have likely folded in the 3d quarter after we got down 19-10.

gatorhator4eva writes:

that kiffin has something up his sleeve...

ATX_VOL_FAN writes:

terrible game ... by crompton. Everybody played well except for him. The defense tried to save his butt and did so for the most part, but when you leave the defense on the field for an entire quarter they are going to allow some points. Luckily they only allowed a touchdown. Great Job Defense!

The running game was doing good. I wish I saw Oku get some runs, but it didn't happen.

Crompton still sucks. It doesn't seem like he got any better in the offseason. So, I have a solution ... give up on him. He doesn't learn anything. He's been through 4 different OC's and hasn't changed a bit. He doesn't listen to his coaches. Everytime they talk to him he has the same stupid glazed-over look on his face. Like the info is going in one ear and out the other. He makes stupid decisions and is horribly inaccurate. He totally overlooked the wide-opened guy in the front of the endzone and threw it to a guy in the back of the endzone that was DOUBLE COVERED. We will not get any better as long as he is the QB. My vote, give Stephens a shot. He was apparently performing as well as crompton in the offseason, and is actually eager to play and eager to learn. Everytime they show him during a game he has the look of "why am I not in the game?" Give Stephens a shot. Plus he's a junior. So, if we start him now, he'll have 2 solid years to play. Crompton is an idiot, bench him the rest of the season.

Another thing, how can a senior QB (Crompton) be unable to lead his own team on his own field against a weaker defense, but a redshirt Prince can lead his team to a win against a much better defense (one of the best in the country) in a hostile environment. Or even USC's Matt Barkley is a true freshman playing at Ohio State in a much bigger game and can lead his team to a victory.

My vote against Florida and all of the other SEC teams we'll face this year, is run the ball the whole time. I would rather run the ball 100% of the time and lose a close game than to let Crompton throw some ints and we lose by 50. Plus, when you run the ball, you run the clock, you wear the opposing defense down, and you keep your defense fresh. That's how you win ball games. Find a system that works and use it. Nebraska ran the ball 99% of the time in the '90's and was one of the best teams in CFB. If you run the ball well, run the ball. If the passing game sucks, don't pass the ball. It seems like common sense to me.

Hopefully we can get our offense together by Saturday, or it is going to be embarrassing.

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