With Ainge hobbled, Vols' QB situation still unsettled

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton got high
marks filling in for injured quarterback Erik Ainge, but it
remained unclear which one would play this week at Arkansas.

Ainge sprained his right ankle against South Carolina and
started against LSU over the weekend. He was taken out after the
first quarter when he was hurt again. Coach Phillip Fulmer said
Ainge's left ankle also was injured, but he was waiting Sunday
night on more specifics about the injury.

"I don't have any update right now. I do expect to just a
little bit later in the evening. Then we'll decide kind of a plan
of action," Fulmer said.

Fulmer was unsure about Ainge playing until the day of the game.

The No. 13 Volunteers (7-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) lost
28-24 to LSU, ending their chance to beat Florida in the East
division title race. Tennessee travels to No. 11 Arkansas this

Crompton completed 11 of 24 passes for 183 yards and two
touchdowns of 37 and 54 yards to Robert Meachem. He was intercepted
once and sacked once.

Crompton redshirted as a freshman last year to recover from
shoulder surgery and was limited to no contact in the spring.

"He certainly showed a lot of toughness and aggressiveness and
effort. Typical of a young guy that was getting a multitude of
coverages and things, there were some things he certainly could
have done better," Fulmer said Sunday.

"With time and work and continued progress he'll do those
things better. It's just a matter of maturing and seeing a lot more
of those looks in practice and playing. The two long balls he threw
were just outstanding. I was not disappointed in his time out."

Ainge said after the game he tried to get ready to play.

"Between having a bum right ankle and not being able to
overcompensate with my left one, it really would have restricted
[me] to being in the shotgun only," he said.

Meanwhile, the Vols may have some good news for the tailback

LaMarcus Coker, who started three games when Arian Foster was
hurt, could return this week against Arkansas. Coker sprained his
left knee against Alabama on Oct. 21. Team officials had said he
could be out three to six weeks.

"I'm hopeful he'll play this week. I do expect him back for
practice. He's really about a week ahead of schedule from what they
thought would be the earliest," Fulmer said. "He thinks he might.
We'll see as we go through the week."

Foster started against LSU, but his status is unclear after he
and two other players were arrested early Sunday when police were
called to a fight at a nightclub.

His backup against the Tigers, Montario Hardesty, a starter in
two games this season, was shaken up in the second quarter against
LSU and didn't return. Fulmer said he thinks Hardesty is OK.

Starting middle linebacker Marvin Mitchell hurt his shoulder
against LSU, but Fulmer believed he would be "all right" for the
Arkansas game.

Close Calls
Fulmer said he would talk to SEC officials about
what he believed was a fumble during LSU's final drive of the game.
JaMarcus Russell completed the game-winning touchdown pass to Early
Doucet with 9 seconds remaining.

Earlier in the drive, Russell picked up 11 yards on a rush, and
a Tennessee player came up with the ball after the tackle. Fulmer
believed Russell fumbled, but the officials "had blown the ball

"We turn in a report every Monday and not always but often
times talk to the commissioner of officials with concerns. That's
not unusual. I will definitely talk to them," Fulmer said.

LSU coaches believed they had a touchdown earlier in the game
when they thought a punt by the Tigers touched Tennessee's
Demetrice Morley and was recovered in the end zone. The play was
reviewed during the game, but the ruling on the field -- that it was
a touchback and didn't touch Morley -- was upheld.

"I couldn't tell 100 percent at the time [if it touched
Morley]," Fulmer said. "I think also that's a case where a
whistle might have blown, but I'm not sure."