Vols' players say they haven't lost confidence in QB Jonathan Crompton
Despite the three interceptions in the loss to UCLA and the boos hurled his way from Tennessee fans in Knoxville, Vols' players said this week they haven't lost confidence in quarterback Jonathan Crompton.
Crompton was 13-of-26 for 93 yards and three interceptions in the 19-15 loss to UCLA.
"Crompton is our leader and we’re behind him,'' senior OL Vladimir Richard said. "It’s easy for spectators to say Crompton is this and Crompton is that, but for me and our teammates, we’ve been grinding in the spring, workouts and camp and we see how hard he works and what kind of leader he is. We know he’s giving us everything he has.''
Crompton had a career-high 21 completions and five passing touchdowns in a win over Western Kentucky, but struggled last week. The players are offering plenty of support in practice this week, they said.
"We just have to corral around him and get around him and get his spirits up,'' DT Wes Brown said. "He’s battling just like everybody else. He’s putting 100 percent effort in everything he does. It’s going to take a team effort to rally around him and get his confidence up. He’s our quarterback and we’re going to rally behind him and do our best to support him.''
Richard said it's up to the offensive linemen to get Crompton off to a positive start early against the Gators. And that means establishing the run.
"We have to be able to first and foremost move the ball well, and that starts with the offensive line,'' he said "We put it on our shoulders. If we’re able to run the ball early, then that will give him more confidence, open up the passing game and just settle him down. We have to give it our all on the line to protect all the blitzes and whatever they have coming at us. And make sure he doesn’t get as hit and make sure he has enough time to make his reads and make the right decisions.''