Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Crompton’

About all you have to say…”Job Well Done!”

25 Years

2 Montario Hardesty

Image by Tennessee Journalist via Flickr

On the back of Jonathan Crompton’s 220 passing yards and Montario Hardesty’s 179 yards on the ground, Lane Kiffin’s Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 30-24 in overtime and improved to 7-5 on the season and earned a 2nd place finish in the SEC East behind the Florida Gators.

More importantly in the minds of some, the Vols extended “the streak” to 25 years since yearly opponent Kentucky last beat the Vols.

To put that in perspective, the last time that Wildcats beat the Vols, I was 8 years old…

The Vols all-time record against the Wildcats in football?  An impressive 73-23-9 in 105 meetings.

Read the rest of this entry

A Diplomatic Introduction

What’s up y’all, I’m VolAmbassador and I’m new to these parts. I’ve got a bio up over in the usher’s section, so I’ll dispense with the formalities. I’d like to give you my perspective of the state of the Volunteer nation.

I’m a huge UT fan. Diehard. Like so bad, my roommate threatened to stage an intervention over my “UT addiction.”  My Pops is from Chatty and played HS ball against Reggie White. (Yeah, my dad got destroyed by Reggie White on an 48 Sweep, who’d your dad get tackled by?) Later on, he joined the Army and took the fam to Germany with him. From there we were in Virginia, so I never actually got to live in the great state of Tennessee. As a result, I’ve always been a Vol fan in exile. I know what you’re going to say:  it’s not that harsh being a Vol fan in ACC country. This was the 90s, though, and everyone hated us for Peyton. I remember how crushed I was when Nebraska owned us in the ’98 Orange Bowl and how much it sucked to deal with all the bandwagon Michigan fans the next week.

In 1998, though, I got make my pilgrimage to the Big Orange Mecca. My grandmother came into the possession of three tickets on the 50 yard-line, 20 rows back for the Kentucky game. I can still remember Shawn Bryson ripping off that 57- yard touchdown on a fullback dive. I had never seen a guy that big run that fast. That year took my fanhood to another level. From that day on, I have lived for Tennessee football.

My time at Tennessee, though, corresponded with Fulmer’s backslide. I was there when Wilhoit broke the Gators’ hearts, but I was also there when Vandy ended the streak. Fortunately, I wasn’t there for Wyoming, but at a law school that has a significant Florida population, it sucked all the same. That brings us to this year. Actually, that brings us to the circus that was the off-season.

When Fulmer got up in front of that mic, it hurt. I felt like I was Mike Hamilton and I had just told the most successful coach since the General that we didn’t want him anymore. After that, I joined every other Vol in American obsessing about who the new coach would be. My hope was that we’d get Kelly or Leach. I loved the idea of high powered offenses blowing the SEC away. It was during this time that I found the guys over at 3SiB and the fantastic preview of coaches. I saw for the first time something about the guy that Al Davis had sacked for trying to kick field goals from his own end zone. I also discovered that he could bring some yahoo named Orgeron with him. I was intrigued.

I lost sleep over the coaching change like a kid loses sleep thinking about presents under the tree. Would it be an offensive minded coach who would bring an explosive running and passing tandem? Would it be a defensive minded coach who would have players bring the rain? Would it be pro-style? Would it be spread? Would it be gimmick? Then the text came. My buddy was at his grandfather’s house and they had just gotten a call from a big booster buddy who told them it was going to be Lane. It was the only inside information I had ever received and it came 20 minutes before Chris Low broke the story.

Lane came in with guns blazing. He called out Meyer, Saban, and Richt like he didn’t care. I know there has been a lot of hoopla about the “cheating” fiasco, but accusing Meyer of cheating was one of the most significant things Kiffin will be remembered for doing. Anyone who has seen a TV show or movie involving a trial knows that dirty trick where a lawyer asks a damaging question that has nothing to do with the trial. Opposing counsel jumps up and screams objection, the judge affirms, and tells the jury to disregard the comments. It doesn’t matter, though. The jury knows the witness is dirty and trifling and they don’t listen to another word. Kiffin pulled the college football equivalent of this move. He destroyed the aura of reverence around the Keeper of the Tebow.  He called out the one man in the country who had proven he could make a game a full sixty minutes of shame. The best part is, though, he didn’t give a $*&@.

The next six months saw more media exposure for a coach who loved the limelight. We pulled a monster class that was ranked ridiculously high before we got two of the best recruits in the country in Brown and Oku. Then we went through a bland spring game that should have tempered some of those 9-3 and 10-2 predictions out there. It didn’t and the WKU game would prove to be just one more vat of Orange Kool-Aid.

If this season could get scripted and played out on Friday Night Lights, it would take that show to new heights.  I loved Phil, but I hated what Phil did. He was boring, he was dull, he was a punching bag for goodness sake! Kiffster is anything but. That guy could make a seminar on the administrative law of widget copyrights exciting.   Add Orgeron to the equation and you can understand why they have the ears of the nation’s best recruits.

This season has had some serious low points (see, last weekend), but we’ve had some great highs. Ten years from now, when we’re staring back on a few SEC Championships and a crystal football or two, we’ll only remember a few things about this season. First, we’ll remember the baller Jonathan Crompton became and how he did it in the face of death threats. Second, we’ll remember it as Bryce Brown’s first year and how he either boomed or busted from there. Third, we’ll remember the look on Spurrier’s face when he realized he had become the past and Kiffin was the future. Finally, we’ll remember the Second Battle of the Alamo the Florida game in the Swamp and the hit.

Someone once told me that the trick to getting what you want is to stop expecting it to look how you imagined it to be. Well Vol fans, I think we got everything we wanted. We have a dynamic, exciting, young head coach who’s committed to the program for the long-run and won’t take anything from anyone. We have a killer recruiting staff that has those boys at Scout and Rivals working overtime. We have an explosive offense and a monster D. We have national attention that is quickly remembering to respect us. We’re on our way to having everything we did under Fulmer, only this time we have a coach who is generous enough to tell Florida and Alabama how we feel about them.

I couldn’t be more excited as a Vol fan right now. UCLA and Ole Miss be damned. The next few years are going to be a helluva lot of fun.

VolAmbassador | Gate 21

Giving Respect Where Respect is Due

Shoutin Out | Gate 21

It pretty much goes without saying that Jonathan Crompton’s journey as the Tennessee Volunteers’ quarterback  been a long and arduous one.  This Saturday, that journey moves one step closer to ending.

This weekend’s contest against Vanderbilt will be Crompton’s final home game for the orange and white and will be his one last chance to show the denizens of Neyland Stadium just how committed he has been to the fortunes of Tennessee football, how dedicated he has been to success as both a player and a leader, how much he has worked to become someone the Vols and their fans could be proud of.

It also represents the last time—perhaps the only time—for Tennessee fans of every stripe to show him just how much they appreciate him for what he has done.

Jonathan Crompton

Image via Wikipedia

Thus, I hope that all of you who make the trek to the game on Saturday will consider doing a little something special to show Crompton that we as the Vol Nation do appreciate his hard work, his effort, and his loyalty to the University of Tennessee.

I think it is the least that we as a fanbase can do.

In recognition of this, a special group has been formed on Facebook to celebrate Crompton’s contribution to Tennessee Football and to hopefully do a little something special for him on the Vol Walk this weekend.

For those of you out there who don’t recall, Crompton received death threats last season due to the Vols’ implosion.  Then, early this season, there were many who, again, questioned his abilities (including yours truly, I’m sad to say) and openly called for Lane Kiffin to bench the Vol senior in favor of reserve quarterback Nick Stephens.  This ignores the furor on the various chat boards.  This young man had to endure all of this while still trying to work toward winning games.  To Lane Kiffin’s credit, he stuck to his guns and was proven to have made a smart decision when Crompton had his coming out party against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Jonathan Crompton has played under four different offensive systems, and has had to re-learn everything throughout his entire time at Tennessee.  Yet, rather than complain or just give up, Crompton stuck it out despite his doubters.  He kept working, kept trying, kept pushing to be better.  Even though it probably took him a bit longer than he wished it had, he finally found that success that had so eluded him.  What’s more, in the process of attaining his goal, he gave the new era of Tennessee Football a fighting chance for respectability in its first year.

Despite his successes this season, it is doubtful that Jonathan Crompton will ever be remembered as one of the greatest quarterbacks to wear the orange.  With names like Peyton Manning, Andy Kelly, and Heath Shuler in the lineage, that is understandable.  Still, in many ways, Crompton has shown more determination, more perseverance, and more heart than any Tennessee quarterback in the modern era.

I think that means something.

Thus, I encourage all of you to not only join the Facebook group honoring Crompton’s contribution to Tennessee Football, but to also maybe do a little something on your own this Saturday as he makes his final Vol Walk toward Neyland Stadium—maybe a sign, maybe a salute, maybe a kind word.

In light of the events of the past week and the misdeeds of some of the Volunteers, I think Crompton’s type of dedication and sacrifice stands out all the more.

All I can do is to say that I am proud that Crompton wore the orange…

– So it goes…About Lawvol

2009 SEC Football Power Poll: Week 6

Check out the Full Poll Results at
Team Speed Kills!

Week 6

Through 11 October 2009

Here’s my ballot for this week in the SEC Power Poll, along with a feeble attempt at explaining why I’m such a moron.  Not a whole lot of ways to separate between some of the teams in the middle of the pack, but at least I thought up some excuses for my decisions.

Here they are, my darlins:

Rk.

Team

Comments

1.

Alabama Crimson Tide

The Alabama Crimson Tide is playing better than anyone in the country right now. Their defense is brutal, their offense effective. Now, if they could just figure out how to defend a kick return. Fortunately for Alabama, Tennessee is actually worse at this the Tide.

Result: ALA 22 • MISS 3

2.

Florida Gators

Florida Gators‘ coach Urban Meyer has proven that he will do anything to win — including risking St. Tim on a QB dive late in the game against LSU.

Still, they are undefeated, that is until they likely meet Alabama in the SEC Championship game, where it’s anybody’s guess.

Result: FLA 13 • LSU 3

3.

LSU Tigers

I was actually impressed with the LSU Tigers’ showing against Florida in some respects.

Their defense — in classic bend but don’t break fashion — held the Gators to only 13 points. Their measly 162 yards and 23:30 time of possession, however, did them in.

Still, they are better than many other SEC squads so, they stay put at number 3.

Result: LSU 3 • FLA 13

4.

South Carolina Gamecocks

The South Carolina Gamecocks should have beaten Kentucky badly. Instead they simply kept from losing.

Still, at 5-1, they are finding ways to win games. Props to Stephen Garcia for his herculean effort to drag the Cocks to victory.

Result: SC 28 • KY 26

5.

Arkansas Razorbacks

The Arkansas Razorbacks are an offensive machine that is a thrill to watch.

Defensively, however, they are weak and cannot rely upon simply outscoring their opponents. Still, great progress thus far, which Florida hopes to blunt … smartly

Result: ARK 44 • AUB 23

6.

Tennessee Volunteers

I cannot decide whether the The Tennessee Volunteers‘ win reflects a huge step forward or simply another bit of small progress paired with Georgia’s complete ineptitude.

Either way, the victory over the Dawgs was huge for the program. It’s hard to believe that Jonathan Crompton — paragon of fail only weeks ago — is now the SEC offensive player of the week. Nice to see that the Blackjack General does know a lot more than the rest of us armchair geniuses

Result: TN 45 • GA 19

7.

Ole Miss Rebels

Defensively, the Ole Miss Rebels did everything they could to beat Alabama, but their offense continues to be wobbly at best.

Apparently, the Wild-Reb offense had been in the White Lightning again.

Result: MISS 3 • ALA 22

8.

Auburn Tigers

Well, the party is over for Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers, courtesy of the Razorbacks. Auburn has a solid core, but needs to learn how to play defense — which no one (including the Vols) really require them to do previously.

That whole tackling thing, that is important.

Result: AUB 23 • ARK 44

9.

Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats were weaving through the season like a bourbon soaked drunk — in and out of competence and suck.

Now, with quarterback Mike Hartline gone for the season, it’s looking like the it’s looking like the hangover will stay, and the Cats’ fans will have to start getting ready for basketball season.

Result: KY 26 • SC 28

10.

Georgia Bulldogs

I can honestly say that I have never seen a Georgia Bulldogs team with less spark than they showed in Knoxville. It’s looking like a long season for Dawgs with, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech to come.

I imagine the fire under Richt’s backside is for real now.

Result: GA 19 • TN 45

11.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

One of these days, the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Dan Mullen are going to manage to win one of these things. They keep putting up valiant efforts, but keep coming up short.

While their record hardly reflects a departure from their legendary suck of 2008, they are a far better team and continue to improve..

Result: MSU 24 • HOU 31

12.

Vanderbilt Commodores

The Vanderbilt Commodores losing to Army. Man, what to say?

In the words of the Late General Anthony General McAuliffe (in response to a German demand for surrender during the Battle of the Bulge) “NUTS!

Result: VU 13 • Army 16

Yes, I know, rank incompetence on my part…

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Team Speed Kills, where the round-up will appear later this week.

Also—further confirming that the standards of the Power Poll have slipped—I will be joining in the “Team Speed Kills Now! ” podcast tonight at 9:00 ET to discuss the state of the SEC at mid-season.  I know you simply cannot wait to hear my brilliance unleashed.  I’ll be posting an embedded player and link to the podcast later today.

Onward and upward …

– So it goes…About Lawvol

Giving Your All, the Rough and Tumble Way

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

It’s been a bumpy couple of weeks for the Tennessee Volunteers and their fans, on that there is little room for debate.

First, the Vols lost to Florida in a “moral victory” which amounts to losing gallantly.  The Vols then went on to beat a scrappy Ohio Bobcats team in less than runaway style, but as I said at the time: “a win is a win.”  Then, this past weekend, the men in orange were bested by the Auburn Tigers and Gus Malzahn’s semi-deranged (but highly effective) form of offense.  Finally, Lane Kiffin gave Brandon Warren his walking papers as a result of what Kiffin described as “conduct detrimental to our team.”

For my part, I have had little to offer on these issues due to my ridiculously overloaded schedule.  Trust me when I say that it was not for lack of desire or lack of observations that I have been so quiet.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) I now have a little time to pontificate, so here we go…

Auburn and “Johnnie Cochran” Offense

Gus Malzahn is either a genius or a madman depending on whether you are a fan of the Tigers or are their opponent.  His offensive sets are as entropy-filled and outlandish as they are effective.  One of the keys to its function is to make an opposing defense deal with the constant distraction of the seemingly endless arsenal of quasi-trick plays that it includes.  This bevy of distractions vying for the attention of opposing defenses, reminds me of pretty much every argument ever made to a jury by Johnnie Cochranfocusing on the distraction rather than the fact.

Still, there is a lot of fact to Malzahn’s ability to mask his plays and to run unconventional sets regularly and successfully.  I personally cannot remember seeing a game which featured as many reverses and double-reverses as the Tennessee — Auburn contest.  I know that I have never seen a true pooch punt (seemingly taken right out of General Neyland’s own playbook from the 1930s) in person.  To Malzahn’s credit, he has taken a lackluster unit that barely produced anything other than narcolepsy in 2008 and transformed them into a machine which scores tons of points and gives defenses fits.

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Quick Postgame Thoughts: Ohio 23 • Tennessee 34

26 September 2009 1 2 3 4 T
Ohio Bobcats 14 3 3 3 23
Tennessee Volunteers 14 10 7 3 34
» Final «
Neyland Stadium   •  Knoxville | Stats | Quotes
| Notes | Recap

It wasn’t necessarily pretty, and it wasn’t necessarily easy, but the Tennessee Volunteers managed to defeat the Ohio Bobcats 34 to 23.  There were good things, less good things, and downright lousy things.  On the whole, however, this game marked the continuation of Tennessee’s long road of slow and steady progress back toward the top.

It was a win, and to each of the Vols and the coaching staff, I can only say one thing: mission accomplished (for this week, at least)…

The bad news is that Nick Reveiz is likely out for the rest of the season which will leave the Vols without a much needed leader and even thinner at linebacker.  That one may hurt for quite a while.

The defense did not exactly have its best night tonight, but that happens every now and then.  Quarterback Jonathan Crompton, however, seemed to feel a little more confident this week and — on the whole — looked pretty decent.  That said, the wide receivers did not give Crompton much help as they were unable to break the Ohio coverage schemes to get open.  Still, a decent night passing.

My gut tells me that — though no one on the team will admit it — there was probably a bit of an emotional and physical let down after the game against the Florida Gators last week which left the men in orange feeling a little deflated coming into today’s game.  It is really tough to maintain that level of intensity perpetually.  So long as it does not become oa habit, I’m pretty much okay with that happening occasionally.

The other area of concern that stuck out like a sore thumb tonight was the break down of special teams coverage.  While Daniel Lincoln notched a personal best nailing a 49-yard field goal, the kick coverage unit allowed a touchdown runback which simply never should have happened.

Still, it is a win.

Beats the hell out of a loss…

– So it goes …Email lawvol No McAlisters

Vols 63, Western Kentucky 7: The Day After

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

It was Western Kentucky and lawvol did an excellent job with his version of this post (as in better than mine’s going to be), so I’ll keep this relatively brief.

Judging by the atmosphere on campus before the game and during the game in the student section, you would in no way have thought Tennessee’s opponent was possibly the worst Division I-A team in the country. I found this out on the long walk from my apartment down the Cumberland Avenue “Strip” and through the heart of campus on my way to the Vol Walk. I managed to get an up-close spot fort the spectacle, and I’ll have a video from it at the end of this.

The new JumboTron is awesome, especially when they take the ads off and make it full screen (click to enlarge)

As for the game, I’ll start with Jonathan Crompton. Sure, the tipped balls are worrisome and the first interception he threw – though not his fault, said Lane Kiffin – was the awful kind of pass he would have made last year. Other than that, he really didn’t have that many incompletions.

He looked confident. He looked poised. He managed the offense very well (I can only remember one substitution penalty and procedure penalty). He was 21-of-28 and threw five touchdowns for goodness sakes. Sure, it was mostly the short passing game.

But if your quarterback struggles with making multiple reads (as Crompton did in 2008), you don’t make him do that. You let him take the snap and throw it to a wideout against a corner playing off the line and let the playmaker get some yards in space. You throw the short hitch. You get Crompton rolling out with options short, medium and long. Heck, Crompton even slid when he had to scramble.

The receivers played well enough to make you forget the injuries. Luke Stocker caught two scores. Marsalis Teague led the way as a freshmen and is going to be a great player. Quintin Hancock deserves a shout-out.

But this day belonged to the offensive line. Crompton had time to throw and that only helps him. And the line opened enormous holes and got great push on just about every play, as was evidenced in the stats. Hopefully they stay healthy throughout the year, because watching them open lanes for Hardesty, Bryce, Oku and Poole (let’s not forget about Toney WIlliams, either) could be really fun to watch if they are able to keep it up.

The defense was swarming and Western Kentucky had no time to do anything – at all. I thought the linebackers played pretty well, but we’ll have to see how they go up against stronger, faster opponents in the future. Janzen Jackson was the first freshman to see the field defensively, and, like Teague, he’s going to be a great player. I thought Wes Brown also played very well: well as in fresh, considering everything we’d heard about him all preseason were the bad condition of both of his knees.

To conclude, anytime you dominate a team 63-7 and outgain them by the margin Tennessee did, you feel good about it. But if nothing else, it’s a game where you get some confidence, especially on offense where those guys are trying to make us all forget last year’s atrocities. It’s a chance for the freshmen and new players to get some game action, as every little bit of experience helps. Western Kentucky was the perfect opponent for Lane and Company to open up with.

My view from Section F (click to enlarge)

Looking ahead, I think this team could be pretty tough to beat in Neyland Stadium this year. If the crowd was like it was for Western Kentucky – and those of you who were there hopefully agree with me on this – how will it be when Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina come to visit?

Which leads me to my next bold statement: I see absolutely no way UCLA comes into Knoxville next week and beats Tennessee.

There, I said it. First off, anytime you travel across the country to play, you’re at a disadvantage. See LSU last night at Washington, Maryland getting rocked at Cal, our own Vols the past two seasons and Cal coming here in 2006. Kevin Prince is UCLA’s starting QB. He was 18-of-29 for 176 yards, and threw two picks against one touchdown. That was at home, against San Diego State.

Next week he’ll be dealing with the Tennessee defense. In Tennessee’s stadium. Against a group of players and coaches and fans that want to right the wrong of last year’s embarrassing loss. And do it emphatically in front of a national TV audience on ESPN.

Yes, yes, I know we all said the same exact thing last year. But if not for horribly inept coaching (throwing 41 passes Dave Clawson and letting Kevin Craft dink-and-dunk you down the field John Chavis), Tennessee wins that game. UCLA has certainly improved, but this time they get the dubious honor of making the long trip. We all already are aware (boom, alliteration!) of the importance of this game to the rest of the Vols’ season. Tennessee absolutely has to beat UCLA next Saturday.

As soon as the Vols had the first couple of touchdowns yesterday and settled into the complete domination they displayed, my thoughts were already on UCLA. Hence why I’ve spent the last half of this post talking about next Saturday.

Anyways, here’s the video I took of the Vol Walk from yesterday (please know it’s long and my camera steadiness was lacking…you try holding your arm up that high for that long):

YouTube Preview Image

About Home Sweet Home... … to me.

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