Josh Dobbs’ first career collegiate start didn’t have the outcome the true freshman was hoping to have.
Missouri cruised to their eighth victory of the season in a 31-3 win over the Vols.
It would be easy to throw the blame on Tennessee’s freshman QB, but to do that would indicate you didn’t watch the Vols’ loss against Missouri.
Dobbs was facing impossible odds in his first career start. The Volunteers were coming off a blowout loss on the road to Alabama, before heading to Faurot Field to take on the #10 team in the nation.
Despite this, fans had high expectations for Dobbs going into Saturday night’s game against Missouri.
Dobbs had been built up so much during the previous week that anything less than a win would be a monumental letdown.
The Vols of course didn’t win, but Vol fans should be very encouraged by Dobbs’ performance.
Dobbs looked extremely calm and poised, even when the Vols faced a huge deficit.
Yes, he made some mistakes, but he’s a true freshman that wasn’t even an early enrollee. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s part of the learning experience.
Dobbs ended up throwing for 240 yards and rushed for another 45 yards. His ability to pick up yardage with his legs brings another dimension to the Volunteers’ offense. Dobbs isn’t known for his speed, but he certainly plays faster then what his time on a stop-watch would lead you to believe.
Tennessee head coach Butch Jones definitely sounded like an encouraged coach when talking about Dobbs’ debut as a starter.
I thought Joshua Dobbs did some great things and things that need improving. I was extremely encouraged by what I saw out of him….We have to get some cadence things corrected. But I didn’t think we had anyone step up and help him tonight. He understood the things he did wrong tonight, and he’ll get better with that.
Jones added to those sentiments Sunday morning on the “Butch Jones Show”.
I was very encouraged by Joshua Dobbs. He had great command performance. He was very poised on collected.
Dobbs could’ve been helped out by his receivers a little more, as key drops doomed the Volunteers from the start.
Pig Howard and Marquez North, who combined for 18 catches against Missouri, looked like the only wide receivers that came to play.
True freshman Josh Smith had a key drop in the first half, that could’ve extended the drive and led to score for the Vols.
A drop like that instantly kills momentum. It kills your QB’s confidence and most importantly it leaves points on the field.
However, as I mentioned earlier, Dobbs did make some mistakes. He threw two interceptions (one of which can be pinned on him) and had a costly fumble in the first half that killed momentum.
Another play in particular that cost the Vols was a third and five play in the second quarter. The Tigers rushed only four and Dobbs immediately looked away from his receivers and ended up taking the sack. Had Dobbs not been focusing on the pressure, he would’ve saw Marquez North wide open in the middle of the field, or Josh Smith open in the flat, which would’ve likely extended the drive.
Those are plays that Dobbs will have to learn to make if he wants to lead the Vols to victory.
Dobbs is a very smart, hard-working kid. As Butch Jones said, he’ll learn from his mistakes.
What you have to hope though, is that those around him will learn from their mistakes.
Dobbs will only go as far as his team takes him. His offensive line, his wide receivers (outside of Pig and North) and his running backs have to step up and makes plays for him.
It won’t get any easier for Dobbs next week against Auburn, but at least he’ll be at the friendly confines of Neyland Stadium in front of 102,000 orange-clad fans.