April 10, 2008

Fulmer: Crompton QB, going live

Phillip Fulmer has plenty of interests. For Saturday's scrimmage, Tennessee's final major exhibition before the Orange and White game on April 19, Fulmer mostly is interested in seeing his Volunteers offense move forward.

"I'm interested in seeing us take better care of the football and I'm interested in seeing us run the football better," he said following Thursday's practice. "I'm interested in seeing if we can challenge the secondary down the field. We really haven't found that yet because the defense has been quite disruptive to us."

Tennessee has spent the majority of its first 11 spring drills installing the offense of first-year coordinator Dave Clawson.
But this week, coaches will have junior quarterback Jonathan Crompton out of his protective green jersey and "live" for the opening portion of the scrimmage.

"Jon's our quarterback, he will be our quarterback (in the fall) unless something really drastic happens," Fulmer said. "We'll play about 32 plays at the beginning of the scrimmage with him in an orange shirt, live. That should increase the sense of urgency for him not to hold onto the football."

Crompton said he's looking forward to donning an orange No. 8 on Saturday.

"It's football, it's how you play," he said. "You're not in a green jersey in a game. You play football either way (whether it's live or not), but I think it's good to know that you have to play faster."

Both Crompton and Fulmer said the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Waynesville, N.C., native must value the ball more in this scrimmage.

"Taking care of the football, regardless of what else happens," Fulmer said he expects to see from Crompton. "He manages the clock extremely well, but I'm not expecting the defense to touch the football."

Added Crompton, "Everybody wants to have a good scrimmage, go out there and compete. That's what we're here for, to try and get ready for UCLA. Mainly as an offense, our focus is to have no turnovers and no penalties."

Fulmer said the quarterbacks will have more reads and more ability to audible at the line of scrimmage now that roughly 80 percent of the offense has been inserted.

"The difference in this scrimmage and last is that we're much more prepared to check and do some other things that the quarterbacks haven't been ready to do," Fulmer said.

The dean of SEC coaches also quickly dismissed the notion that Clawson might have gotten some indoctrination to football from defensive coordinator John Chavis.

"Coach Clawson has coached football. Football is football, he's ready to coach in the SEC, that's not even a question," Fulmer emphasized. "I think he and Coach Chavis are working well together."

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