By Wesley Rucker
California football coach Jeff Tedford told local media last night that he wouldn’t prepare his team any differently after hearing that Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge fractured the pinkie finger on his throwing hand. “We have to prepare for the team,” Tedford said. “I'm sure they'll run the same offense. The guy (back-up Jonathan Crompton) has some experience. I would assume they are going to do the same things they do.” Tedford — a former Canadian Football League quarterback with a solid reputation at coaching that position — said Ainge’s injury might not be too difficult to overcome. “The pinkie doesn't do that much, really, when you're throwing the ball,” Tedford said.
The No. 15 Vols and No. 12 Golden Bears will open their seasons Saturday night in Cal’s Memorial Stadium, and Ainge has said all week that he expects to play. Ainge and Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said the injury occurred in Monday afternoon’s practice. They said Tuesday it was “jammed.” Ainge said early Wednesday afternoon that it wasn’t fractured, and Fulmer said later that day that is was. Crompton — the first option if Ainge can’t play Saturday — said he knew it was broken “sometime (Tuesday).”