Kiffin on QBs

At first glance, it appeared that rising sophomore quarterback B.J. Coleman performed exceptionally well in last Saturday's Tennessee football scrimmage. A second glance confirmed it.

After watching film of the two-hour scrimmage, head coach Lane Kiffin conceded that B. J. Coleman's performance (17 of 22 for 112 yards, zero interceptions) was just as impressive on tape as it appeared on Saturday. In fact, he was more impressive than rising senior Jonathan Crompton (9 of 16, 90 yards, one interception).

"I thought B.J. played really well, did a really good job," Kiffin said. "He really kind of pushed Jonathan and played better than Jonathan in the scrimmage."

Making Coleman's outing all the more impressive was the fact he was bouncing back from adversity. Kiffin informed him a few days earlier that Crompton would be getting more practice repetitions as a reward for his production in earlier workouts. Coleman viewed the news as an incentive, rather than a demotion, and responded with perhaps his best showing of spring practice last weekend.

"It was great to see," Kiffin said. "We really challenged him: How are you going to react to the adversity? He kind of moved down (the depth chart from No. 1-A to No. 2). A lot of people could've thrown it in or pouted, and he didn't do that at all. He came out, worked really hard in the drills, and it carried over into a great Saturday."

Tennessee's quarterback competition isn't a two-man race between Coleman and Crompton, of course. Rising junior Nick Stephens is lurking, although he was withheld from Saturday's scrimmage while resting a sore right wrist that he fractured nearly two months ago.

"He probably could've gone if it was a game-type situation or something," Kiffin said. "But to have these days of rest, because he has gotten banged around a little bit, was more important."

Because Stephens' wrist weakened during a month of inactivity, gripping the football has been a problem for him since his return to active duty. That wasn't the factor that kept him out of the scrimmage, however.

"It's pain," Kiffin said. "He'd really have had to do some things just to play, and it wasn't worth it at this point."

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