STOP HITTING YOURSELF. STOP HITTING YOURSELF. STOP HITTING YOURSELF.

Late last night, 1500 words on Jonathan Crompton Not Being The Guy were rendered hopefully irrelevant by this headline. (You're welcome.) This is far, far from over---Tennessee does not promote young players lightly, easily, or without maddening deliberation at speeds too slow to deserve the term. But an entrenched veteran, deserving or no, even catching a glimpse of a hook is a welcome sight, no less so for being completely fucking overdue.

The above article was followed shortly by a chaser of nightmare fuel. He's determined! Good morning, sunshine! Sleep well? Did the football being played around you last week and the week before disturb your nappytime in the pocket? If there's a delicious deep-fried lining to this clusterfuck, it's that the Cromptonites, bottom-feeders in action and in onomatopoeia, are at last shaken free of their delusions of any modicum of competence on the part of their carp-faced idol. Say what you will about Ainge, but the Bad Erik label wouldn't have been necessary had there not been Good Erik to mirror it. Occasionally, shit got done. That is painfully and entirely no longer the case.

"I'm still gonna be the guy." Damn right you are. The guy with three touchdowns and four INTs in four games.

Which brings me to this: You're late, Tennessee. "It's easy to point fingers at somebody else," Fulmer said. "I know we didn't make every perfect call as coaches." Here's the question: Why didn't you? Auburn didn't show you anything we didn't all see shades of against Missy State. They couldn't get past the 50 in the second half except by punting. There was a conference opponent on the other sideline who played eminently beatable football on Saturday, and Crompton didn't complete a pass in the 4th quarter. Most troubling of all, there are trained football professionals who still thought as late as Saturday evening that having this kid pass on third and fourth down is a legitimate method of moving the football. Here's Jonathan Crompton against Florida, passing on third down: 2 of 7. Here he is against Auburn: 3 of 9. Three of his four interceptions have come on third downs. That clutch is busted, son. These are grown men who gave their lives to the game of football, who looked at all available data and made a conscious decision to hang in there with Ol' Faithful(ly Flatfoot). I'm not a pitchfork-and-torcher hollering FIRE FULMER...but everyone who is has yet to be logically rebutted.

So here we are. Crompton in one corner, utterly untried sophomore Nick Stephens in the other, with all-purpose scramblebot Gerald Jones lurking. This is Tennessee. We are frightened by change, and brightly colored birds. But Crompton isn't clawing his way up the learning curve like an SEC first-stringer ought. If this is even going to be salvaged as a rebuilding season, it's going to have to be constructed around somebody else. We're starting from the bottom of a well either way.

Big ups to LSUFreek. Oh, 'Freek. You're the 'freekest.

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