Crompton shows confidence, improvement

With the ballgame on the line you want the ball in the hands of your leader, in the hands of the man that wants to lead you to victory. While senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton has been inconsistent this season, the improvement he is making is very noticable in several areas. Go "Inside" to get this writer's thought on the progress he has made.

It's has been written several times by this writer that the true leader of a football team must want the ball in his hands with the game on the line.

I have also said on several occasions that leader wasn't senior Jonathan Crompton.

I have to admit I was wrong.

I for one am impressed with the weekly improvement and development of Crompton and the Volunteer passing attack.

I know I'm probably going to get attacked on this one, but I wish Crompton had another year of eligibility.

The much-maligned quarterback has taken a lot of heat, especially earlier in the season, and he has shown a lot of growth and maturity the last few weeks, beginning with the Georgia game and ending with his gutsy performance Saturday.

Yes, I realize he didn't set the field on fire, and yes he had a couple of what we often call Crompton moments.

But when the game was on the line, the senior signal caller led this team down the field and gave the Vols the chance to win the game with four seconds remaining.

I asked earlier this week on the Rocky Top News message board the question of who would have the better game between Crompton and Alabama's Greg McElroy.

There is no doubt in my mind who performed better overall.

Tennessee had no business on paper of being in this ballgame; the No. 1 and undefeated Alabama team was a heavy favorite.

Crompton threw with accuracy and took what Alabama's stingy defense gave him.

On the final drive of the game, after Tennessee recovered the on-side kick, Crompton didn't blink.

He made several good decisions and hit Luke Stocker on a 23-yard pass to set up what could have been the game-winning field goal.

With :04 seconds remaining, Crompton and Lane Kiffin had put the Volunteers in position to win the game. What more could anyone ask from the two?

Going back to saying I wished Crompton had another year to play for the Vols: After watching Kiffin stand by his quarterback during rough times, it just goes to show the first-year head coach knows more about this game than a lot of us do.

The development that Kiffin and quarterback coach David Reaves has done with Crompton is simply amazing.

They have given a young man his confidence back.

Another thing that impressed me the most about the new Crompton is how he reacted after the 12-10 loss to No. 1 Alabama.

Earlier in the season against UCLA Crompton took no blame and showed no remorse when the Vols lost a heartbreaker to the Bruins.

Today was different.

Crompton was visibly shaken at the end of this one. He proved to his teammates, to his coaches and to this writer that he does care and that he is giving this game and this team his all.

One more year with the improvement he has made so far would be fun to watch, but we will just have to settle for Crompton leading this team to a bowl game and several more wins before this season is over.

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