KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Tennessee will start Nick Stephens at quarterback on Saturday night as the Volunteers look to spark their offense against Northern Illinois.
Coach Phillip Fulmer announced Friday that Stephens will replace starter Jonathan Crompton, who was forced to compete for the job after going 8-for-23 for 67 yards in the Vols' 14-12 loss to Auburn. Tennessee (1-3) is off to its worst start in 14 years.
``We need a lot more production form the quarterback position, and Jon's had his opportunities in the ball game,'' Fulmer said. ``Nick has made progress and he deserves a chance to see how he does in a football game.''
Neither quarterback was available to talk to the media after the announcement.
and only two touchdowns passes.
The quarterbacks split practice time with the first-team offense this week. Fulmer said both players performed well preparing for the Huskies (2-2).
Stephens' only college game experience came late in a 35-3 win against UAB. He attempted two passes, one a 42-yard pass to Brandon Warren and the other an incompletion.
``He's had ability all along,'' Fulmer said. ``He's a young guy, hasn't played yet, so I'm anxious to see how he does.''
Fulmer and Clawson discussed putting Stephens in at quarterback during the Auburn game as Crompton struggled but decided against it.
Fulmer said Crompton might still get a chance to play again but refused to say when that might be.
Stephens, a redshirt sophomore, has as much of a grasp on the Vols' playbook as Crompton has, Clawson said. That means Clawson shouldn't have to make many playcalling adjustments with Stephens playing instead of Crompton, a redshirt junior.
``If he calls it I can run it. That's how I feel,'' Stephens said Wednesday. ``He should have all the confidence in me to go out and call a game. I go out and I know the playbook.''

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