Crompton & McNeil

Like Ebert & Roeper of "At The Movies" fame, Crompton & McNeil spend a lot of time viewing film. The difference: Ebert & Roeper critique the films, whereas Crompton & McNeil critique themselves.

Rather than catch a movie last Friday night, Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton and center Josh McNeil watched practice tape, seeking ways to better compete for first-team jobs. How's that for dedication?

"Josh and I came over and watched film at 9:30 or 10 o'clock," Crompton said recently. "We were just trying to get to (last Saturday's scrimmage), so we came over and watched film."

This isn't the first time the duo has spent an evening breaking down practice film in hopes of learning something useful. Crompton said it's something the two do "every now and then."

The strategy seems to be working for both redshirt freshmen. McNeil is getting some practice work as the first-team center this spring. Meanwhile, Crompton is competing hard for the first-team QB job. He has completed 21 of 36 passes (58.3 percent) for 197 yards and three touchdowns in UT's first two full-scale scrimmages of the spring. Meanwhile, first-team QB Erik Ainge is 27 of 54 (50 percent) for 280 yards and one TD.

How much the film study contributed is debatable but Crompton admits that the action is "slowing down" for him now that he's had three weeks of spring practice to gain familiarity with UT's offensive system.

"Every day it gets a little slower," he said, "because you're another day into it."

Crompton missed last fall with shoulder surgery that clearly slowed his development. Still, head coach Phillip Fulmer thinks the strong-armed young man from Waynesville, N.C., is progressing quite nicely.

"I think he's doing fantastic, when you figure here's a guy who hasn't played football since his senior year of high school," Fulmer said. "He's got a great countenance in the huddle. He understands what we're trying to do. He's got a nice arm. I think he's going to be fine."

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