Crompton's cautious

Two things stood out about Tennessee's No. 2 quarterback Saturday afternoon at Neyland Stadium: One, he was cautious with his throws, tossing two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Two, he was just as cautious with his words.

Redshirt freshman Jonathan Crompton appeared to outplay first-team QB Erik Ainge in UT's first full-scale scrimmage of the preseason. Crompton completed 7 of 13 passes for 87 yards and 2 TDs with zero interceptions. He had two passes dropped and three deep balls that just slipped off the fingertips of intended receivers. Crompton also bought time in the pocket with his mobility. Except for two fumbled snaps, he was very impressive.

Meanwhile, Ainge struggled a bit. He was 13 of 26 for 120 yards with no TDs and 2 interceptions. Another would-be interception was dropped at the 15-yard line on a pass Ainge ill-advisedly threw from his own end zone.

Tennessee's 2005 season was damaged by a year-long quarterback controversy. Not wanting to start another one, Crompton chose his words with extreme care following the scrimmage:

Q: What do you feel you need the most work on?

A: Everything. Every part of my game I've got to get better at managing … when to scramble, when not, when to throw it away and stuff like that. I've got to get the signals down a little better.

Q: Where's your comfort level, compared to last spring?

A: I get a little more comfortable every day. Every day you get out there and practice and get Coach's feedback, you get more comfortable with it.

Q: What did you think of your performance?

A: I don't really know. I'd have to see the film.

Q: What was the best thing you did?

A: I'm my own worst critic. I don't know what to say I did good.

Q: What was the worst thing you did then?

A: There were a couple of bad things I did. I'd really rather go back and see the film, see how bad it was, before I comment on those.

If he's as evasive in the pocket as he was with his post-scrimmage answers, young Crompton may never be sacked.

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