Happy Homecoming?

On the first play of Tennessee's Orange & White Game last April, Jonathan Crompton completed a 74-yard touchdown pass to Denarius Moore. Crompton subsequently threw two more scoring passes as the No. 1 offense scored TDs on five of its first six possessions en route to a 38-16 romp.

Unfortunately for the Big Orange, that performance proved to be an anomaly, not an omen. As today's 1 p.m. Homecoming kickoff against Wyoming approaches, Crompton has lost his job and Tennessee has lost six of nine regular-season games, thanks to an alarmingly anemic attack.

The Vols rank No. 114 nationally in both scoring (17.0 points per game) and total offense (272.4 yards per game). Even the 2005 offense that cost coordinator Randy Sanders his job was better, averaging 18.6 points and 326.3 yards per game.

Maybe the forced resignation of head coach Phillip Fulmer earlier this week will spark a resurgence in the Vol offense. Maybe facing a Cowboy defense that allows 30.3 points per game will help. Maybe a Tennessee attack that has done nothing noteworthy since last April's spring game finally will break loose in its final three regular-season games.

"We're looking to find the consistency, efficiency and balance we need to be successful against Wyoming, Vanderbilt and Kentucky," Fulmer said.

Crompton surrendered the quarterback reins four games into the season but the offense has continued to stagger under successor Nick Stephens. Neither has gotten much help from a line that struggles to pass-protect and a receiver corps that struggles to get separation.

"It hasn't always been the quarterback," Fulmer said. "It hasn't always been the receivers. It hasn't always been the offensive line or tight ends or running backs. It's been different people at different times. We need to get that consistency that we're looking for."

With just three games left on the schedule, Tennessee had better find that consistency soon. The Vols, like their coach, are running out of time.


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