Crompton enjoyed O&W experience

Eight months after he enrolled at Tennessee, Jonathan Crompton finally got to step onto the field at Neyland Stadium with a crowd in the stands.

Granted, it was an Orange & White game, instead of a regular-season game. Granted, the crowd was 15,000, instead of 107,000. Still, he enjoyed the experience immensely.

"There was great intensity out there," he recalled. "It was a whole lot of fun playing with all of my teammates, and I thought it was a very successful day."

Asked how he felt finally getting an opportunity to play in front of a crowd (albeit a small one), Crompton answered: "Just like I did all spring -- going out there trying to relax, have fun and play the game."

Although the spring game was little more than a glorified scrimmage, Crompton said the atmosphere wasn't the same.

"It's a little different because you've got a whole lot more people there than at practice," he said. "But you can't pay attention to that. You've got 11 guys on offense, 11 guys on defense, so let's just play."

Like other Vol quarterbacks, Crompton spent the spring adjusting to David Cutcliffe, who replaced Randy Sanders as quarterback coach/offensive coordinator in December. Their systems are similar, so Crompton's task was not so much learning a scheme as simply getting comfortable with one.

"The system last year to this year is not totally different," he said. "But knowing it on the board is totally different than knowing it on the field. It took me a few practices to actually get it down. Once you do that, it starts slowing down every day."

Although his Orange team lost 34-7, Crompton performed well in the spring game, completing 15 of 19 passes for 102 yards. Those are good numbers for a guy coming off major shoulder surgery.

"It felt good," he said. "I felt I could've executed a few more plays than what I did to give my team a better chance to win.

Crompton believes the biggest advance he made this spring was in the area of recognition. He's picking up keys and processing information much quicker than he did when spring practice began.

"I'm seeing the defenses better than what I thought I would," he conceded.

As the No. 2 quarterback behind Erik Ainge, Jonathan Crompton has a very simple itinerary for this summer: Work, work and work some more.

"I want to get better in every aspect of my game," he said. "Everything I can work on, I'm going to work on – my footwork, my throwing motion, reading defenses – every aspect of the game of football."

This work should help him be a better quarterback the next time he steps onto Shields-Watkins Field with a crowd in the stands. Of course, it will be a full crowd next time. Asked how it will feel to play before 107,000 screaming fans, Crompton shrugged.

"I don't know," he said, smiling as he added: "We'll find out."

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