KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton knows he'll get a better feel for how quickly he must get rid of the ball with more playing time.
The junior, who will be making his third start for the Volunteers (0-1) against UAB (0-2) on Saturday, struggled with his timing in a 27-24 overtime loss to UCLA a week ago.
He completed only 19 of 41 passes for 189 yards, no touchdowns and an interception against the Bruins. He was sacked once for a loss of 8 yards.
``The longer you play, you just get a better feel for it,'' Crompton said Sunday night. ``You get a kind of timer in your head because you only have so long in the pocket. You just get a feel for it and know when the mental alarm goes off to get out of there.''
Coach Phillip Fulmer said the Bruins offered some unexpected defensive looks, offensive linemen botched some of their own assignments and the timing between Crompton and his receivers and running backs was off.
ck, some batted balls and hurried throws,'' Fulmer said.
Crompton spent the preseason practicing in a green jersey that signals he's off-limits for contact. Fulmer said he felt Crompton had seen enough time on the field during games and was releasing the ball quickly enough during scrimmages that he didn't need additional contact in practice.
Fulmer said he doesn't regret that decision, either.
``You can't risk that,'' he said. ``If a guy hadn't played at all or if he has a problem sometimes you have to do that.''
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Crompton is more mobile than his predecessor Erik Ainge, who had a knack for releasing the ball or throwing it away before ever meeting the arms of a defender. The Vols allowed only four sacks last season.
Fulmer said he'd like to move the pocket a bit more for Crompton to give him the option of tucking the ball and running when passing appears futile.
``It helps everybody,'' Fulmer said. ``It helps the protection and it makes the defense have to defend the field. Certainly, it puts more pressure on the defense to cover more area.''
Crompton said he likes the idea of having more options to run or pass but will focus on passing first and foremost.
``If the pass isn't there, then I'll run, but I'm going to try to emphasize it being there and then escape it at the last second,'' he said.

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