Sensitive subject

No position on Tennessee's football team has fans more uptight than quarterback. And no position on Tennessee's football team has coaches more tight-lipped.

If you want to know whether rising senior Jonathan Crompton or rising sophomore B. J. Coleman is having the better spring, flip a coin. That's more of an answer than you'll probably get from head man Lane Kiffin or offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. The coaches are so determined to avoid tipping their hands on the volatile Vol QB race that they rarely mention either of the competitors by name.

"I can't separate them from any other position right now," Chaney said following Thursday's practice. "They're all battling for a spot, and they seem to be doing good. That's all I can say right now. It's too early to predict anything or judge, but it seems like they're developing fine."

Kiffin was equally positive and equally vague in his assessment.

"I think they're doing well," the head coach said Thursday evening. "I thought the first two practices were really good. Three and four were just OK but I thought they played well again today.

"I really like the way they're handling the huddle, the way they're handling the offense. You don't see many balls on the ground. You don't see hardly any false starts. I don't know if we had one all day today. That's a very hard thing to do in a new system with a new cadence, so I think they've done a great job and I think Coach (David) Reaves has done a great job of preparation with them up to this point."

The Vols will hold their first major scrimmage session of the spring Saturday at Neyland Stadium, with rising junior Nick Stephens – back from a fractured right wrist – possibly getting his first snaps of the spring behind center. Perhaps the coaches will offer a little more insight into the ongoing QB derby afterward.

Don't hold your breath, though. The staff seems awfully determined to keep this sensitive subject on the down-low.

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