Nov. 8, 2009
The Tennessee football team returned to Haslam Field on for a brief one-hour workout Sunday following a 56-28 victory over Memphis on Saturday. The Vols enter the final quarter of their regular season with few health issues and three conference games looming, the first at Ole Miss on Nov. 14.
"I thought for the most part we came through healthy," UT head coach Lane Kiffin said. "Everyone was out here moving around. Some guys were a little banged up but everybody was able to practice. We probably took guys out (of the Memphis game) a little earlier than we normally would with the stretch run coming up and the game being in hand so early. We're pretty fresh going into a big game vs. a very talented team."
The Vols don't have the luxury of being able to rest on their laurels at 5-4 and still needing a win for bowl eligibility, but Tennessee has been more than impressive in its last four games. The UT defense ranks in the top 20 in passing and total defense, and the offense has demonstrated explosive capability behind resurgent senior quarterback Jonathan Crompton.
Crompton threw for a school-record 305 yards in the first half vs. Memphis and connected on five touchdown passes. He now ranks atop the Southeastern Conference and tied for fourth nationally in touchdown strikes with 21. The once interception-prone signal caller has thrown 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions in his last four games.
Kiffin believes that Crompton's improvement is a direct result of the play of those around him.
"He continues to play great as people make plays around him," Kiffin said. "Now he's had guys healthy and he's been able to play with guys for a number of weeks in a row and it's paying off. It's a pretty cool deal. They've played a lot of games here and nobody has ever thrown for more yards in a half. We're happy for him, but we've got to move on and play well down the stretch."
Tennessee's tilt with Ole Miss is scheduled for an 11 a.m. CT kickoff. Television coverage will be provided by CBS.