Crompton ready ... just in case

In a perfect world, junior quarterback Erik Ainge would bounce back from his disappointing 2005 season and guide the Tennessee Vols to a spectacular offensive showing in 2006. Vol head coach Phillip Fulmer knows that he must prepare for an imperfect world, however.

That's why Fulmer had backup quarterback Jonathan Crompton working some with the No. 1 offense in Tuesday night's scrimmage.

"We were trying to play Jonathan with the ones, kind of like a professional preseason exhibition," Fulmer said. "The first-team quarterback gets 15 plays, then the second-teamer gets some. He (Crompton) played with the ones, then he did a good job with the twos. He had a nice day overall."

Crompton had a nice day, all right. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He also showed some mobility, scrambling for gains of six and 15 yards.

Asked if he has the confidence to go with Crompton should Ainge be injured, Fulmer nodded.

"I do," he said. "Jon's closing the ground. One ball he ended up completing was one of those SportsCenter (highlight) plays that probably shouldn't have been thrown. He's still got to work on those things but he'll get there because he's willing and he's working really hard."

Crompton's cumulative statistics for the three preseason scrimmages show 27 completions in 44 attempts (64.1 percent) for 315 yards, with four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Ainge's cumulative stats for the scrimmages show 33 completions in 59 attempts (55.9 percent) for 357 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions (both in Scrimmage No. 1).

No. 3 quarterback Bo Hardegree's three-scrimmage stats show 23 completions in 34 attempts (67.6 percent) for 253 yards, with four touchdowns and four interceptions (all in Scrimmage No. 3).

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