QB Nick Stephens is no longer part of UT program

UT quarterback Nick Stephens during practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 27, 2010.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

UT quarterback Nick Stephens during practice at Haslam Field on Saturday, March 27, 2010.

Quarterback Nick Stephens has left Tennessee's football team, coach Derek Dooley said after practice on Thursday.

“In light of the way the first eight practices have gone and some of the competition we’ve created, he doesn’t want to be here and risk not playing his senior year,” Dooley said. “Nick is in his fifth year and has been trying to get on the field his whole career. He just felt it was too risky to go through another season, because he just wants to play.

“We hate to lose Nick but I certainly understand it. It’s a fifth-year quarterback who hasn’t played. You go play football to play, and I understand the emotion of it.”

Stephens was demoted in practice earlier this week from the first team in favor of junior college transfer Matt Simms and freshman Tyler Bray.

“We’ll give Matt and Tyler more reps,” Dooley said. “From that standpoint, they are going to get more opportunity and a better chance to show what they can do.”

Stephens started six games in 2008 but didn't play any meaningful snaps last season.

It is unknown if the fifth-year senior will transfer or if he'll play football again.

More details later online and in Friday's News Sentinel.

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Comments » 194

rshoptaw writes:

what? first

Stepchild_nFL writes:

I second that what.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

WOW! I guess even Nick finally realized it wasn't going to happen at UT. So I guess that puts Matt Simms as the favorite to be the starter with Bray and possibly Laimason as the back ups

SmokeytheVol writes:

WWWHHHATTTTT

King_Scuba writes:

Wow...ummm....this can't be good

xliveitup writes:

how classless. not only are there week(s) of spring ball left, he has all fall to compete for the starting job. what a chump.

Orange writes:

What is this, the Titanic? Why is everyone jumping ship? Captain Dooley better come out and say something soon.

wags32 writes:

He must have seen he was not capable of winning the job. Why else leave, just means simms and bray are better good news.

BigOrange_Vol_2 writes:

Got to cut the cancer out, time for Simms and Bray to show what they are made of

newportvol writes:

oh no..

VolInIndy writes:

Boy, Nick must be crushed, That stinks for a guy to wait for so long in the wings for his turn. Good luck Nick.

voloffaith writes:

Well you all got the answer you been dying to hear....the demotion was not received happily evidently. I guess he might of thought it was his job...and maybe it was,but it was his to retain or lose. Must of had a heart-to-heart to see what his position was and felt he would be better served going elsewhere. I wonder if a shaky(young..unseasoned) ol played in his decision. Rest of article when available will fill in the blanks just maybe...Juco and freshman qb along with Lamaison and Ga Frosh Nance in the mix now. Flower Mound Texas gunslinger is gone. Best wishes young man I hope you made a wise decision for your future.

Huttdawg100 writes:

He's a fifth year senior. What is he going to do? The Arena League is done; there's no more NFL Europe. Canada? Maybe? I hope everything works out for him. I just hate to see him quit.

orangeJACKET writes:

in response to Orange:

What is this, the Titanic? Why is everyone jumping ship? Captain Dooley better come out and say something soon.

relax dude. this happens every time there's a coaching change. stephens wasn't a option for qb. i really didn't know why fulmer ever offered him. bray will be the starter. he's out performed the others.

utvolz#637682 writes:

Pick Nick new the truth....

Psychovol writes:

When the going gets tough...

bigorange_inbham writes:

Our best player and running back, best lineman and our only QB with experience ALL GONE. Does anybody know what the hell is going on?

VOLFTBL writes:

Guess this makes the QB competition a little less dramatic. I wish Stephens the best wherever he lands. Simms & Bray... it's really your time to shine now! Hit those playbooks and make the Vols a winning team we can all be proud of!

NoSirRee writes:

I honestly don't care

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to marc_ash#231781:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well no offense to Stephens but he couldn't beat out Crompton last year and everyone knows how people were saying that Crompton was not very good...He didn't want to spend his Sr. year on the bench so I guess he just called it quits.

Harleydls writes:

Not a good sign for Dooley. He can't seem to keep anyone on board who is the least bit unhappy. I'm actually a lot more concerned with the O line since Douglas left. This season is gonna be rough any way you look at it but losing a fifth year senior QB is losing a leader and that can't be easily replaced.

TommyJack writes:

in response to BigOrange_Vol_2:

Got to cut the cancer out, time for Simms and Bray to show what they are made of

Cancer? Who told you to say that? Asinine.

Orange writes:

in response to orangeJACKET:

relax dude. this happens every time there's a coaching change. stephens wasn't a option for qb. i really didn't know why fulmer ever offered him. bray will be the starter. he's out performed the others.

I'm aware changes are always in store. However, it's big names like Brown, Douglas, and now Stephens. Regardless of your opinion of his talent, it sucks to see an experienced senior just walk away.

For what it's worth, I think Bray looks like he may take over. GBO!

mountainbrook writes:

Not surprising. He's had plenty of opportunities in the past to break out and take the lead but he has never done so.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to bigorange_inbham:

Our best player and running back, best lineman and our only QB with experience ALL GONE. Does anybody know what the hell is going on?

Well we are deep at RB..Douglas really hurt..QB had experience but obviously wasn't the best at the position..the 2 newcomers must have been showing more promise. So with all that said, of those 3 you listed the only one that truly hurts is Douglas leaving at lineman

vintonvol writes:

Stephens will probably either go to a 1-AA school or a D-II school to play his last year. That way, he wouldn't have to sit out. Truth is, he didn't impress Fulmer enough to play, he didn't impress Kiffin enough to play and he must not have been impressing Coach Dooley enough to play. When three different coaches don't see you as the viable starting option, I don't think it's the coaches fault.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Last thing I expected to read.

Could sure enuf be a long season now.

Man......

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to Orange:

I'm aware changes are always in store. However, it's big names like Brown, Douglas, and now Stephens. Regardless of your opinion of his talent, it sucks to see an experienced senior just walk away.

For what it's worth, I think Bray looks like he may take over. GBO!

Well on the bright side with the exception of Douglas we have guys ready to step up at RB and QB

ghstmn46 writes:

Thats 3 College head coaches with the same opinion on Stephens...

rootin4volz writes:

So be it, people. Moving forward...ONWARD AND UPWARD!

paradisetaxi writes:

Maybe we can get the baseball coach to LEAVE !

cc623 writes:

I guess he wasn't ready to finish his college career as clipboard holder again...

SEAL_9821 writes:

I'm always about trying to use some class on here when something happens to a player or one leaves. But, this is a case where I have to be honest about the situation. Nick needs to grow up. Over a week left in spring practice and he quits because he can't take the pressure of someone competing against him. I'm old school, and some of these college athletes need to grow up today. This is what makes or breaks-seperates the weak from the strong-and winners from loosers. I appreciate the hard work you gave the tennessee football team Nick, but you have no class and It's hard to respect someone who throws the towl in without fighting to win it back. I'm all about Dooley! This team needs young men who wanna fight and play as a team and do whats neccesary for the team to win. I don't care if we loose 10 more before the season. I want guys who are mature and lay down there life for the man next to them in the huddle. It's not a brownie making contest...IT'S A DAMN WAR WHEN YOUR ON THE GRIDIRON!!!!!!!

UTbassdrummer writes:

They wouldn't play Stephens when Crompton looked like he was trying to lose. Are we really losing a "seasoned leader"? I know that everyone has fun on this board talking about how everything that happens to us is the end of the program, but.... Nick Stephens? How was he going to compete against Florida and Alabama, if he couldn't compete for his position at practice? Yawn.

vol4lifedld writes:

well i personally am glad!! this will give more reps to simms and bray,and quite honestly they are the future of this team especially bray! so on with the growing pains we will survive and be better off in the long run getting rid of these quitters and cancers that dont want to "Give their all for TENNESSEE"! pull it together fellas and buckle down!! prove all the haters wrong!! GBO

keepitreal4vols writes:

Open the pipeline to UT Chattanooga, here comes another QB.

tdvol1989 writes:

in response to bigorange_inbham:

Our best player and running back, best lineman and our only QB with experience ALL GONE. Does anybody know what the hell is going on?

Bryce was neither our best player nor our best running back. I am not trashing him. He was a good kid and player, but the guys we have left will play harder. As for the rest, just think of it as cleansing. Losing the 2 OL did hurt because the cupboard is really bare at o-line. But, that is not Dooley's fault.

Just chill out and be one of those that can say "I told you so" in 3 years when we are back on track. And, you have to let the guy play with his players. If the guys he inherited don't want to be part of Dooley's team, then let them leave.

This next season is going to be a character building/revealing season. I would prefer that all future arrests and negative headliners go ahead and leave now anyway. It's time to lay low, flush the toilet, and rebuild our team and image.

newportvol writes:

in response to Orange:

I'm aware changes are always in store. However, it's big names like Brown, Douglas, and now Stephens. Regardless of your opinion of his talent, it sucks to see an experienced senior just walk away.

For what it's worth, I think Bray looks like he may take over. GBO!

Before douglas left his myspace page said He was a inspiring rapper who doesnt get to spend as much time on music as he would like because of "tennessee football" So he quit so he could be the next eminem or.. Next vinilla ice..take your pick

SuckTheseVols98 writes:

this is great news!! did anyone actually want to see Stephens start? Remember this is a guy who was second to Crompton under both Fulmer and Kiffin too...

TommyJack writes:

Anyone seeing this as a positive for our program is delusional.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to ghstmn46:

Thats 3 College head coaches with the same opinion on Stephens...

Bingo!

rootin4volz writes:

Definition of "LOOSE": Not tight.
Definition of "LOSE": To fail to win.

And it ain't like Stephens was the second coming of Little Timmy TeBlow.

Huttdawg100 writes:

in response to orangeJACKET:

relax dude. this happens every time there's a coaching change. stephens wasn't a option for qb. i really didn't know why fulmer ever offered him. bray will be the starter. he's out performed the others.

I agree. The articles that have come out about the QB competition lead one to believe that Bray is really turning some heads. I think Dooley will protect Bray until the offensive line is more experienced and Bray puts on the weight. But after those two things happen, Bray is going to be epic.

osbymartin#581730 writes:

in response to Jamestown17:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Okay before i get blasted by everyone..I am in no way saying that he will be as good as or even comparing Simms to Manning..but the last time we had the son of a hall of fame type NFL QB..we did fairly well..so I am not that worried because a fifth year Sr. left the program because apparently he wasn't gonna be the starter again...

doh writes:

stephens had his chance a few years ago. wasnt going to play in the pros anyway. should have stayed and finished his college experience here.

tnaseevol writes:

Well, if I remember right (and maybe I don't) but didn't Simms' older brother get his drawers in a wad, picked up his marbles and leave, is the younger like his older bro? Or has it been made now that Simms has nothing to worry about?

I hate to see Stephens leave, he was in this quagmire like Crompton was. IMO last year they had to work with just one QB because of time limits. I believe NS, with the correct coaching would be a very good QB this year.

Although i am a died in the wool Big Orange, I hope I am soooooo wrong, but I forsee a horrible season.

NS...I wish you only the very best in your future in whatever you choose to do.

Mule_Days_King writes:

I wish Nick all the best, but was Nick ever in a serious competition for the starting position against talent like Bray and Simms? No, he wasn't and that might tell the whole story.

BradleyJKinkaid writes:

in response to King_Scuba:

Wow...ummm....this can't be good

Why???

TommyJack writes:

Ok Knuckleheads. Now we have a battle between a kid that this time last year was playing HS ball, and the other was in JUCO. Yeah, we're way better off now. Good grief.

WoodshedVol writes:

We NEED men who WANT to give their all for Tennessee. This is a process.

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