Jones denies spat with Crompton

Jones denies spat with Crompton

September 17th, 2009 by Wes Rucker in Sports - College

KNOXVILLE -- University of Tennessee wide receiver Gerald Jones on Wednesday denied that he'd had a confrontation with quarterback Jonathan Crompton in the immediate aftermath of the Volunteers' 19-15 loss to UCLA last weekend.

UT's leading returning receiver generally pointed a finger at himself, saying his two mistakes late in the fourth quarter caused the Vols as many problems as anything else.

Jones, typically one of the team's more outspoken players, said playing against the Bruins after hardly practicing the previous three weeks on a high ankle sprain caused the multiple miscommunications between him and Crompton. Jones said he and the quarterback were "not on the same page" for at least three throws -- two during the team's final possession, and on the play where he broke wide open down the seam but watched the ball sail over his head for an interception.

"It's really about the chemistry," Jones said. "Practice is so important. It really explains how important practice is. Even though I knew the play and knew the route, me and Crompton still have to go over and over it and over it to have it down. And it shows.

"We shot ourselves in the foot. The game shouldn't have even come down to that, but it happened."

Jones said the interception and one of the two late mishaps were routes he'd run with Crompton "so many times" the past two years.

The receiver said his under study, freshman Marsalis Teague, is a faster player who runs differently on certain routes -- including the one Jones ran on the interception play.

"I'm going to run the route different than (Teague)," Jones said. "He's faster than me. He might run a route quicker or faster than I do. I'm more of a savvy type guy. I'm smarter. I don't have the blazing speed like they do, but I find ways to get open.

"If you practice that with Crompton, and you just keep going over it, then he gets used to it."

Jones said he spent "lots of time" running extra routes with Crompton after Monday's and Tuesday's practices. He said the two have reconnected, and that he has no problem with Crompton going back under center Saturday at Florida.

"I don't think anybody is really just putting it on Crompton," Jones said. "See, it's different when you're on the outside looking in. I'm tired of hearing so many people talking, 'Y'all need to change your quarterback.' You're not in the film room. You don't know the play. You don't know the route.

"It's my fault. I made a mistake. He made some mistakes. The linemen made some mistakes. Everybody made mistakes. As a team, we lost. We lost the game. I don't put it on one person. I haven't heard anybody on the team put it on anybody specifically."

Jones and Crompton -- whom coach Lane Kiffin has kept from the media this week -- appeared to grow frustrated with each other late in the game, but Jones said rumors of those problems spilling into the locker room weren't true.

"I've heard that ... but I've never taken shots at Crompton," Jones said. "I've never said anything negative to him. He's never said anything negative toward me. We're always positive, and that's one good thing about Crompton. Even if he makes a mistake, he says, 'Listen, it's my bad. We'll get it next time,' and move on. If I make a mistake, it's my bad. If I make a mistake, I'm more to myself. I don't really like to talk because I'm so (mad) at myself, but no negative words changed hands.

"As far as I'm concerned, I put the game on my shoulders. I feel like it was my fault. I never told anybody that. I kept it to myself. ... Nobody said anything, because we lose as a team.

JAW-BREAKING JOLT

Junior defensive back Dennis Rogan said he had no idea he fractured Kevin Prince's jaw while sacking the quarterback for a safety in Saturday's final two minutes.

"I didn't know anything about it," Rogan said. "I just heard a couple of guys around making jokes about it or whatever.

"Yeah, that was a first for me. There's not too many times you can make something like that happen."

Rogan -- who also plays safety but lined up at cornerback for the sack play -- said coordinator Monte Kiffin called a simple, Cover-2 defense. Rogan was responsible for short throws on his side, but he had no one to cover after safety Eric Berry and weakside linebacker Rico McCoy knocked down both receivers trying to sneak out in the flat on the backside.

"There was nobody else out there, so I just did the only thing I could do, which was go make the tackle," Rogan said. "The ball actually almost dropped in my hand when it happened, but (Prince) held onto it, and it ended up just being a safety."

O-LINE NEWS

Kiffin said senior center Josh McNeil could play Saturday in a backup role "if he feels good."

The coach added that junior reserve William Brimfield moved from offensive tackle to guard this week to shore to provide depth in one of the team's thinnest positions.