KNOXVILLE, Tenn. | Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said former Volunteers quarterback B.J. Coleman had improved during the spring practice period.
"We wish B.J. the best of luck and wish he would have stayed," Kiffin said Friday in a statement. "We think he definitely had improved during our short time with him."
Kiffin did not comment further about Coleman's decision to leave.
The rising sophomore told the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Thursday he was choosing to go because he was frustrated and didn't feel he would get a fair chance at becoming starting quarterback.
Coleman did not return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment.
He was competing with senior Jonathan Crompton and junior Nick Stephens for the starting job. The trio split time at quarterback last season with none emerging as the clear starter, but Kiffin said many times that he did not care what any player had done for the previous staff.
Coleman has not said what he plans to do next, but he would have to sit out a season if he transfers to another Football Bowl Subdivision school.
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 Crompton and Coleman's performances in the April 18 Orange and White spring scrimmage game, but indicated the competition among the three would continue into fall practice.
The Vols' only other options at quarterback may include Mike Rozier, a former pitcher in the Boston Red Sox organization who is expected enroll at Tennessee this summer and walk on for the Vols in the fall. Wide receiver Gerald Jones and All-American safety Eric Berry, both former high school quarterbacks, took snaps under center last year as well.