Adams: Departure adds to losing streak

John Adams

Dallas Thomas had no idea of the quarterback drama brewing around him. He paid no attention when fifth-year senior quarterback Nick Stephens got fewer practice reps with the first team Tuesday.

Why would he? He's preoccupied with challenges of his own. He's a starting tackle in an all-new offensive line, trying to learn a new offensive system under new coach Derek Dooley.

So the change that devastated the quarterback had virtually no impact on the offensive tackle who might have been assigned to protect Stephens, if Stephens had won the starting job. As Thomas put it, "that's not his business."

Good thing he has figured that out. This program is no place for a control freak. Better to stay focused on your assignment and not worry about what's happening elsewhere.

What's happening is one of the worst spring practices imaginable. Stephens' departure is just the latest calamity.

He quit the team Thursday, two days after his practice reps with the first team were reduced, based on his performance through the first seven practices, including an awful scrimmage last Saturday. His loss was a gain for junior college transfer Matt Simms and freshman Tyler Bray.

You can't blame Stephens for quitting. He has spent most of his career sitting on the bench. This is his last opportunity to go somewhere else - a lower-classification program, where he would be eligible immediately and could start this fall. The loss in first-team snaps was a glaring signal that he might not win the quarterback competition at UT. He couldn't take that chance.

His loss is significant on two levels for the Vols. It further depletes their depth at a position that was already shaky. And the uncertainty of the position is compounded by the aforementioned inexperience on the offensive line.

Suppose Simms develops into a competent quarterback this fall. Can you count on him staying healthy and starting every game in a conference as demanding as the SEC? Behind him, there's Bray, who simply looks too frail to make it through a game with the likes of Alabama and Florida.

Stephens' departure impacts the Vols in a less tangible way as well. He becomes another missing face on a team of missing faces.

You can't help but wonder who's next.

UT is on its third head coach in as many seasons. Players are coming and going, too. In fact, the loss of the most experienced quarterback isn't even the most significant loss of the spring.

The Vols already had lost tackle Aaron Douglas, who quit the team for personal reasons. He was their only returning starter in the offensive line, and perhaps the Vol most likely to develop into an All-SEC-caliber player.

UT also has apparently lost running back Bryce Brown. He didn't come out for spring practice. He's expected to transfer.

You knew the 2010 season would be difficult anyway.

You knew it before Lane Kiffin abandoned the Vols for the head-coaching job at Southern California. You knew it before Dooley and his staff worked feverishly to hold together the recruiting class for which Kiffin & Co. began laying the groundwork a year earlier.

And you knew it before the first spring practice.

Only minimal research was required to envision the hard times ahead. All-American junior safety Eric Berry was off to the pros. So were four other defensive starters in addition to starting quarterback Jonathan Crompton, star running back Montario Hardesty, and four starters in the offensive line.

Combine those losses with an upcoming schedule that includes national championship contender Oregon, defending national champion Alabama and perennial power Florida and you get the picture. It's bleak.

And it got bleaker Thursday.

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

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Comments » 131

tnaseevol writes:

Doom and gloom......doom and gloom......
Going to bed......As Scarlet would say:
Tomorrow's another day.
Maybe things will be better.
I can hope, can't I?

BillsBrother writes:

Someone will blame Fulmer.
A few might blame Kiffin.
Others might blame Adams for writing too many negative columns.
I'll just pile on and blame Hamilton!

RJ_Vol writes:

Adams. You wanted change. You got it. Please leave.

cdldoc#211897 writes:

Yeah, Phil is gone and we are so much better off. Idiots!!!!!!!

RoyaltyVol writes:

Did any of us really expect Stephens to be a starter this year? I didn't even expect him to be backup so this is no big loss. Its time to get beyond the Crompton/ Stevens era and look to our future. Simms will start IMO, but either way we have 2 great qb's competing for the starting job.

stayingorange writes:

Come on. If Stephens wasn't able to win the job outright or chose to bolt instead of risking the chance of not winning the job how can you hold that against the "program."
Worst spring practice imaginable? Another calamity? Geez where does the BS come from? Are players being arrested, breaking their legs, quitting the team left and right? Stephens wants to play football but apparently is not up to the challenge at UT, Douglas has personal issues and as for Brown, I'll give in that is a tougher one. But I don't believe 3 departures, really only 1 without just cause, should characterize the spring as the worst spring imaginable. How many players left the program last year and how was that spring described?

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to stayingorange:

Come on. If Stephens wasn't able to win the job outright or chose to bolt instead of risking the chance of not winning the job how can you hold that against the "program."
Worst spring practice imaginable? Another calamity? Geez where does the BS come from? Are players being arrested, breaking their legs, quitting the team left and right? Stephens wants to play football but apparently is not up to the challenge at UT, Douglas has personal issues and as for Brown, I'll give in that is a tougher one. But I don't believe 3 departures, really only 1 without just cause, should characterize the spring as the worst spring imaginable. How many players left the program last year and how was that spring described?

I just consider this as spring weeding. We've pulled out the weeds and now our team can bloom!

bugman (Inactive) writes:

3-9

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to bugman:

3-9

Interesting that you would make such a prediction about the Gators.

zigvol writes:

Just think basketball season starts in 6.5 months....

ghstmn46 writes:

I dont know what the big deal is. Two coaches before Dooley thought the same thing: Stephens wasnt good enough to start. It is what it is. The last two years all everyone has talked about was how bad this season was going to be without a proven QB and no OL. If thats all true then nothing has happened to change that, that I have seen. So why all the whining Johnny? The 4 and 8 2010 season will come and go and hopefully the players who stay will gain some experience for the coming years to get better. I think everyone can agree that Tennessee Football is in a rebuilding stage. It would have been the same if Fulmer had stayed. We would be rebuilding anyway. The powers that be just decided that Phil would not be doing the rebuilding. What I am trying to say is that noone should be surprised, it takes time to build a winning program in the SEC. Tennessee has been there. We have a coach who has been there. We may be there again, but it was never going to be this year, so all of us fans need to just watch the games and cheer on our team this year with realistic expectations.

Orangeblood13 writes:

you can see ole smart arse Adams lickin this up

LadyVolsEighTimes writes:

I have never bashed Adams before. But he is the biggest MORON of writers I have ever been stuck with.

1, CDD shouldhave propped up a QB that has failed miserably for four years?

2, CDD would have been able to build a great Powerhouse with a QB that would be done after this season.

movol77 writes:

John Adams is on cloud nine.

LadyVolsEighTimes writes:

Every in depth article is a link to a Chattanooga Paper of a Mempiss paper.

TommyJack writes:

Actually, Adams is ON THE MARK on this one. CDD's attitude seems to be "oh gee, another young man is making a serious decision..We wish him well".....CDD may rue the day he decided to not fight some of these defections. You best swallow your ego and try to salvage some of these guys.

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

Did any of us really expect Stephens to be a starter this year? I didn't even expect him to be backup so this is no big loss. Its time to get beyond the Crompton/ Stevens era and look to our future. Simms will start IMO, but either way we have 2 great qb's competing for the starting job.

What is this two "great" qbs stuff? We have one competent QB (Simms) and one kid that has a lot of potential but has never taken one snap in college ball and is so skinny that my 13 year old cousin Sarah could knock him down.

I mean...there's optimism and then there is delusion. We have one good QB, one back up, one kid that needs to be redshirted and fed red beans and rice for a year, and one QB that isn't even on campus yet.

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

Personally, I don't think that this has hurt us as much as Adams seems to think, nor is it in any way CDD's fault. Kiffin went out and got Simms (a QB he didn't really want) because he needed a guy that had two years of experience to take over after Crompton.

Still, Nick did have gametime management experience and we shouldn't just discount that. His departure leaves Dooley with very little depth at this position and pretty much ensures that Bray won't be redshirted (and from every evaluation I've read about him...he needs to be).

Still...this was going to happen anyway.

FWBVol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Actually, Adams is ON THE MARK on this one. CDD's attitude seems to be "oh gee, another young man is making a serious decision..We wish him well".....CDD may rue the day he decided to not fight some of these defections. You best swallow your ego and try to salvage some of these guys.

Do you have insider information as to what was said in the conversations CDD had with Douglas, Brown and now Stephens? I would guess, if for no other reason than a need for players, he tried his best to get all three to stay.

I don't know what you expect CDD to do. I don't think he should lead a player, in this case Stephens, on giving him a false sense of starting security.

If a player wants to leave there's really not much a coach can do to stop him. And you really can't expect CDD to rip the kid for leaving.

I just want to know how you know that CDD didn't try to, as you said, "swallow his ego." Some people could equate that to lying and CDD looks even worse if he isn't up front with a kid, especially a fifth-year senior about where he stands on the depth chart.

tc2 writes:

TJ you are more often than not right on most topics you reply to here but in this case you're dead off the mark.

While CDD doesn't seem to be stopping these kids from leaving he's sending a message. "The Program Comes 1st." I can live with that because if you leave this man alone in a couple of years maybe sooner, we'll have a TEAM instead of the I mentality, and we win ball games.

Grandpa always told me, "Son, you can't bake a cake or make an omelet without breaking some eggs".

OldNumber7 writes:

What the heck is the point in this article? This is garbage! Who's to say this team won't be better off without these quitters? Why can't Simms handle a full season in SEC? I don't come on here and trash Adams but this is Krap.

ric1958 writes:

I said it once and I will say it a hundred more times.....Nick Stephens was a back-up QB at best. It is better to go with Simms now then have to break in another starter again next year.

kthoma14 writes:

Douglas has not been happy since Fulmer left and said he was leaving for personal reasons, so how is that Dooley's fault?
I seem to remember Brown having a personal handler and being a ME guy. I still don't think we have heard the last of what Kiffin and Co. did to get him here. I would imagine the payments stopped coming from SoCal.
Stephens is a four-year bench warmer.
The only defections Fulmer had were those following multiple arrest.
Most of the posters on here last year were praising Kiffin for culling the weak from the program.
Now Dooley is somehow flawed because three players with serious question marks on their history with the program have left?
What board needs trolls with fans like ours?

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Actually, Adams is ON THE MARK on this one. CDD's attitude seems to be "oh gee, another young man is making a serious decision..We wish him well".....CDD may rue the day he decided to not fight some of these defections. You best swallow your ego and try to salvage some of these guys.

TJ, you're usually right on on your comments , but on this one I disagree. Nick had the playbook as long as Simms and Bray did yet he showed that he was ill prepared for what Coach Dooley threw at him in the scrimmage. You are a smart guy, you read the stats. Based on nothing more that those results, Stephens graded out third. Who knows what else the staff saw that warranted a 3rd place checkmark. Stephens had a choice to make. He could have worked his arse off this week, studied the playbook till 4am, and proved he is the better man in the next week or walk...he chose to quit. Neither Dooley nor Chaney can coach initiative, that comes from within and evidently Nick didn't have it.

PumpGuy writes:

This article reminds me of the book report my 10 year old son turned in the other day. Because he waited until the last second to prepare and turn it in, he attempted to interject drama into the story instead of objective insight. Of course I am talking about a 10 year old and quite frankly I must take responsiblity for allowing it to happen.

When a "professional" writes lines like "What's happening is one of the worst spring practices imaginable", it is obvious that Adams is writing these stories 15 minutes before deadline and it seems that it is time for the News Sentinel to correct the situation.

thebrainofj writes:

REALITY CHECK... Nick Stevens isn't D1 football talent. NO BIG LOSS.

Nick wasn't able to win the QB job in the last 3 years when we've rotated through a handful of QB's and even dabbled in playing athletes out of position at QB. Nick had already lost the job to a true freshman and a juco, he wasn't going to play QB at Tennessee if the only other person competing for the job was me. Fulmer had no faith in Stevens, Kiffin wouldn't even give him reps, and obviously Dooley feels the same way. NO BIG LOSS.

Also, for everyone who is griping about losing our guy with "experience," I would use that term very lightly in this instance. He's experienced at playing meaningless minutes for a few snaps and turning over the ball, not at winning big games. Why do you think Kiff stuck with Crompton last year when he was struggling worse than we could imagine... because no one has any faith whatsoever in Nick Stevens ability to play QB at a D1 program.

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

in response to bugman:

3-9

4-8

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

in response to PumpGuy:

This article reminds me of the book report my 10 year old son turned in the other day. Because he waited until the last second to prepare and turn it in, he attempted to interject drama into the story instead of objective insight. Of course I am talking about a 10 year old and quite frankly I must take responsiblity for allowing it to happen.

When a "professional" writes lines like "What's happening is one of the worst spring practices imaginable", it is obvious that Adams is writing these stories 15 minutes before deadline and it seems that it is time for the News Sentinel to correct the situation.

How's the weather in S Carolina?

kyvol98 writes:

So, you want a guy here that, obviously, will quit on you? Do you want him to leave now, or quit in the 4th Qtr of games?
Not bashing the kid, as it is his decision, but obviously he would have quit on the team at some point.
It is all about the "T" on the helmet. If you don't want to be part of it, then leaving is OK with me.

TommyJack writes:

No, I'll stick with what I said. I think CDD to cavalier is letting these guys go. NO, I wasn't in the room. I can only rely on what CDD says. It seems to be it's all "We wish them the best, don't worry, the program is fine", etc. Is he trying to be persuasive with these guys? Don't know. I do know this. Cocky comes in different forms. We saw one extreme with the Temp. Hope we're not seeing the other with CDD.
BTW, Adams' column is on the money. Touch'em all, Adams.

CrankE writes:

"Only minimal research was required to envision the hard times ahead."

Which mirrors the effort Adams puts into his writing where Tennessee is concerned.

If KNS would fire Adams, that would make my spring. REGIME CHANGE AT KNS!

rootin4volz writes:

Must have been late, according to the post-time on this article, and Little Johnny boy must have been in a cranky mood. I mean, come on...DEPTH? There was not DEPTH with Stephens in the lineup as it was, or so it would seem! And YES, we know it will be bad...but Dooley and Co. have to start somewhere, and if these guys don't want to be a part of it, I can only hope that they don't let the door hit 'em in the azz on the way out.

jbc writes:

in response to kyvol98:

So, you want a guy here that, obviously, will quit on you? Do you want him to leave now, or quit in the 4th Qtr of games?
Not bashing the kid, as it is his decision, but obviously he would have quit on the team at some point.
It is all about the "T" on the helmet. If you don't want to be part of it, then leaving is OK with me.

I don't think after the 4 plus years he has been here and been treated that he is a quitter. Not even close.

brod writes:

in response to RoyaltyVol:

Did any of us really expect Stephens to be a starter this year? I didn't even expect him to be backup so this is no big loss. Its time to get beyond the Crompton/ Stevens era and look to our future. Simms will start IMO, but either way we have 2 great qb's competing for the starting job.

agreed. stephens is not divsion 1 material, division 1 backup maybe. he had his chance in 2008 and did not produce. he has a good arm, but doesn't possess much else. this is one loss that actually doesn't bother me, i think that it will give these other kids who have real potential a chance to perform without having to worry about losing their job to a medicore senior.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Adams, I normally cut you some slack....but you are being a real 'captain obvious' with this low-ball article. That UT is a program starting anew is so beyond the obvious....

Here are some 'turns' for you:
-the loss of Nick, while newsworthy, means NOTHING in terms of the product on the field. The man obviously could not separate from the competition, and he's been here 4 yeas.
-Bryce Brown; he is no All-American right now. We have enough at RB to cover for his loss.
-Douglas: HIS loss is the biggest blow. But, hell, he's an offensive tackle. Great as he might be, the guy behind him is probably not far behind.

All the other losses HAPPEN in college. Maybe, just maybe, stick to our keys: offensive line, defensive line depth, and linebacker depth.

Like many writers, you get hung up on the glamorboys, and on the 'names'. You are the same guys who cry when Jamal Lewis goes down...oope, wait, these 'Travises' can flat-out RUN.

Oh, hey, fantastic, Peyton is coming back!!! Oh, gee, look, he never holds the ball longer than a 2-count, so he doesn't get hit....

Woe is us, Tee Martin, an untested black man from Alabama, is our QB, we are done for....

On and on. Adams, There are around 80 guys out there. In MOST positions, the difference between the '1' and the '2' is minimal. The '3' is capable of taking some snaps. At a school like UT, you are looking for chemistry and execution. This is especially true when you are starting over, as the Vols are doing.

So, quit your 'world is falling' garbage. Yes, it is changing. Yes, the schedule is very tough. Yes, CDD is facing a losing season, maybe two.

Perhaps, just perhaps, you and the beat writers can COME TO GRIPS with that, and report from that perspective. We are two years removed from a losing season, from firing a legend. We are one year removed from a tumultuous media circus and a final 'hurrah' for the bulk of the Fulmer kids.

Now?? Now we are starting over. That is all it is, Adams, starting over.

utfpmd writes:

I disagree with all the doom and gloom.
If we are going to spend next year rebuilding, then let's do it with QB's who will be with us for more than one year.

vol_in_bigten_land writes:

John Adams you are the worst writer every. How did you get a job writing for a Vols newspaper when you aren't even a fan? You know squat about football. I bet you never even played.

brush#220070 writes:

Vince Lombardi said it best:
"Winners never quit and quitters never win"
BoL Mr. Stephens in your new venture

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

...and to those of you thinking 'saban, bama': we ain't bama, and we don't have the in-state talent NOR do we have a HC with a N. Championship coming in as a hot commodity.

Think more like....Michigan. I wish to hell we'd HIRED Nick Saban, but we weren't smart enough for that.

jone8191#247590 writes:

This whole deal is sounding a more and more like that movie with Kate Winslet and Leanardo DeCaprio. And we all know what happened to that ship!! I am looking at almost $800 in season ticket renewals and asking myself some serious questions.

springtx_vol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Actually, Adams is ON THE MARK on this one. CDD's attitude seems to be "oh gee, another young man is making a serious decision..We wish him well".....CDD may rue the day he decided to not fight some of these defections. You best swallow your ego and try to salvage some of these guys.

You have got to be kidding me. You expect CDD or any boss in any industry to try to talk a marginal performer out of leaving? I can see it now, walk into the boss' office, "Boss, I don't like the fact that you demoted me and took my project away from me. I am thinking about going to a smaller office where I can contribute more."

His response (and my response if I were said boss) would be, "Well, I am sorry you feel that way, but I am sure that you are doing what you feel best (all the while thinking, don't let the door hit you in the butt as you leave."

CDD should never beg someone to stay. I would rather have a motived upper-middle qualified person that an unmotived star any day.

vut56#231073 writes:

Let's see: my brethren in the posting world bashed CPF for "the good old boy" approach to coaching: the seniority system. We praised Mr. Unmentionable for cleaning house, playing freshmen and putting "the best man" on the field.
"That will show big name recruits they can come in and play." Now, too many seem to want whatever it is that we DO NOT have, rather than concentrating on what we do have.

We may win three or we could win many more. What we have is what we have and we should talk about that, rather than what we do not have nor will have until the next two or three new classes come in.

Seems too many "Power T" fans are closet Tea Party fellow travelers: Bring down "the system," whatever the system or whether or not we have a clue what a good system would look like.

We will play twelve games this fall and be competitive; we have been promised no more. Adams very rarely states anything other than the obvious...and who needs an all negative slant all the time?

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to jone8191#247590:

This whole deal is sounding a more and more like that movie with Kate Winslet and Leanardo DeCaprio. And we all know what happened to that ship!! I am looking at almost $800 in season ticket renewals and asking myself some serious questions.

Really?? You posted this??

Um, the Titanic was the UNSINKABLE ship. It was plagued by MASSIVE OVERCONFIDENCE.

Your analogy would be best served, on, say, Alabama for the year ahead.

Did you inherit your money?? Because any sane individual who looks at UT's football program for 2010 and thinks 'winning season' is absolutely NUTS. With that said, how can you a) worry, and b) be surprised???

This team very much reminds me of the team that started out with five losses. I'm not expecting much more. It doesn't make me hate the program, or toss my head and stomp my feet like I'm a damn little girl.

Don't buy those tickets. Let someone else get them.

Carlitovol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

No, I'll stick with what I said. I think CDD to cavalier is letting these guys go. NO, I wasn't in the room. I can only rely on what CDD says. It seems to be it's all "We wish them the best, don't worry, the program is fine", etc. Is he trying to be persuasive with these guys? Don't know. I do know this. Cocky comes in different forms. We saw one extreme with the Temp. Hope we're not seeing the other with CDD.
BTW, Adams' column is on the money. Touch'em all, Adams.

TJ, riddle me this batman:

In your opinion, what could CDD have done to change Stephens' mind? Obviously nobody knows what the conversation was like between the two.

But, after the changes that were made as far as reps/snaps, my guess is the only way Nick would have stuck around is if CDD would have guaranteed him the starting spot.

Nick seems to have a strong-willed personality, and I seriously doubt that CDD would have been able to talk him into staying without making some sort of move to get him back to the top of the depth chart.

I'm sure CDD made somewhat of an effort to talk him into staying.

Riddle me this one too:

Say CDD did make a strong case/plea for Nick to stay and it worked. Don't you think that would cause additional drama/tension/distractions that would ONLY be a deterrent to what CDD is trying to accomplish???

Then, think about this - what if Nick had stayed around and continued to play poorly in game/scrimmage situations. CDD would have no choice but to go with another guy, and Nick would be stuck in a situation where he doesn't want to be. It would probably affect his attitude and the overall morale of the team.

I'm not saying I'm glad Nick left - I just think it's the best thing for the team.

TommyJack writes:

in response to vol_in_bigten_land:

John Adams you are the worst writer every. How did you get a job writing for a Vols newspaper when you aren't even a fan? You know squat about football. I bet you never even played.

Guess that's why they make Toyotas and Hondas. I think it is one of Adams' best.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to TommyJack:

No, I'll stick with what I said. I think CDD to cavalier is letting these guys go. NO, I wasn't in the room. I can only rely on what CDD says. It seems to be it's all "We wish them the best, don't worry, the program is fine", etc. Is he trying to be persuasive with these guys? Don't know. I do know this. Cocky comes in different forms. We saw one extreme with the Temp. Hope we're not seeing the other with CDD.
BTW, Adams' column is on the money. Touch'em all, Adams.

TJ, you surprise me with this. You really do. I think you where a ball-player, right?? I was. You cannot run a program if you don't have a clear idea of who is in charge, and if you do not RESPECT that authority.

CDD probably does a fair amount of talking, but he most likely has some RULES, too. Rules don't work if you only apply them to the run-of-the-mill guys, but let the stars go free.

CDD might not be the right guy if he can't get the x's and o's, or if he can't recruit. Damned if I'm going to slam him for not kissing player's butts who get their panties in a wad and wish to leave.

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to VolAlum2003:

What is this two "great" qbs stuff? We have one competent QB (Simms) and one kid that has a lot of potential but has never taken one snap in college ball and is so skinny that my 13 year old cousin Sarah could knock him down.

I mean...there's optimism and then there is delusion. We have one good QB, one back up, one kid that needs to be redshirted and fed red beans and rice for a year, and one QB that isn't even on campus yet.

But having one competent qb and one with potential is a far cry from where we've been the last two years. Peyton Manning was skinny and I think he did ok didn't he. I believe you think too highly of your 13 year old cousin.

RoyaltyVol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

No, I'll stick with what I said. I think CDD to cavalier is letting these guys go. NO, I wasn't in the room. I can only rely on what CDD says. It seems to be it's all "We wish them the best, don't worry, the program is fine", etc. Is he trying to be persuasive with these guys? Don't know. I do know this. Cocky comes in different forms. We saw one extreme with the Temp. Hope we're not seeing the other with CDD.
BTW, Adams' column is on the money. Touch'em all, Adams.

What would you rather the headline to say, "Dooley Begs Stephens To Stay, Promises Him He Can Start"? Give me a break, we're better off without a bunch of quitters on the team and a better team without Stephens.

hueypilot writes:

I got my ticket renewal and I'll renew them. Even tho I live 600 miles away and will only realistically make 3 or 4 games tops. Every year college football teams rebuild, either massively, or piecemeal.

All you have to know about Nick Stephens is watching the film from the 2008 Vanderbilt game. I think NS was something like 3-10 for 21 yard and threw a pick six INT that caused PHil to FORBID him from throwing another pass in the game. Against VANDERBILT! This is a loss psychologically, because he was a senior and heir apparent, but talent wise, it's no big deal.

Get behind the coach. He was the best one we could hire that would have us. Renew your season tickets and watch the kids play that will help us rebuild this storied football program.

Carlitovol writes:

One other thing I think is important to keep in mind.. If Simms wasn't here, my guess is that Nick would never have found himself in this predicament. Laimason doesn't seem to be able to compete at this level and Bray isn't a sure bet yet because of his inexperience and skinny frame.

Simms is different in that he has collegiate experience (granted, JUCO, but still collegiate) and he has had a chance to physically mature. So, he's clearly the main competition.

Another thing to consider is that Stephens was recruited under Fulmer and has no ties to anyone on the current staff. Simms was brought in under Chaney's watch, so he obviously likes what Simms has to offer. That has to be a huge factor. Chaney knows what he wants in a QB. Nick might be a good fit for certain offenses or OCs, but clearly Chaney isn't a big fan.

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