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Posted: Thursday April 23, 2009 4:14PM; Updated: Thursday April 23, 2009 5:34PM

QB Coleman leaving Tennessee

Story Highlights

B.J. Coleman plans to leave Tennessee due to frustration with the QB competition

Coleman said he didn't see getting a fair shot at the starting job after this spring

Coleman told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, but not his coaches

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee coaches have not been informed that quarterback B.J. Coleman has decided to leave the Volunteers, a team spokesman said Thursday.

The rising sophomore told the Chattanooga Times Free Press he has decided to move on because he was frustrated after participating in the Volunteers' spring practice.

Neither Coleman nor his parents responded to phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment. Volunteers spokesman John Painter said coach Lane Kiffin was not aware of any plans by the Chattanooga native to lead the team.

"It's the best move for me," Coleman told the newspaper. "What changed my mind is, after this spring, I don't see myself getting a fair shake. Based on conversations with coaches and things that happened this spring, I feel the staff has goals that do not include me.

"I didn't just quit. I didn't just walk out. But I'm going to be taking a huge risk of losing another year of eligibility if I stay. I just want to play ball."

Coleman would have to sit out a season if he transfers to another Football Bowl Subdivision school.

He told the paper he doesn't know what he'll do next. He is close with former Tennessee offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe, who left the Vols after the 2007 season to coach at Duke.

Coleman, Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens spent last season competing at quarterback, but none emerged as the clear starter.

Crompton and Stephens spent most of the time on the field while Coleman only took meaningful snaps against Vanderbilt. He finished the season 4 of 8 for 21 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

With Stephens sitting out much of the spring after breaking the wrist of his throwing hand, Coleman spent most of the spring practicing with the second team while Crompton practiced with the first team.

In three scrimmages, Coleman finished 41 of 60 for 425 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions while Crompton was 31-for-70 for 324 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Kiffin praised both quarterbacks' performances after Saturday's Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium.

"(Coleman) seems to have some game presence about him," Kiffin said Saturday. "When we get out (in Neyland Stadium) he seems to play better than he does in practice, so that was good to see."

Kiffin has said the quarterback competition would continue into fall practice. He said he felt it was easy to assess Coleman's abilities without having him practice against the first-team defense.

"Even though you can say, 'Well, he has to go against the No. 1 defense,' well, he also gets the No. 1 receivers and running backs and offensive line. Most of the time, it usually evens out," Kiffin said.

The Vols' other options at quarterback may include Mike Rozier, a former pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization who is expected to walk on for the Vols in the fall and enroll at Tennessee this summer. Wide receiver Gerald Jones and All-American safety Eric Berry, both former high school quarterbacks, took snaps under center last year as well.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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