Nov 9, 2013; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (11) warms up before the game against the Auburn Tigers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Vols' QB Battle Will Be "Wide Open" In 2014


The Tennessee Volunteers received inconsistent play from several positions this season, but perhaps the position that stuck out the most (due to it being the highest profiled position on the field) was quarterback.

Tennessee started three different quarterbacks this season — Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman and Josh Dobbs.

Two of the three had stretches where they looked like the answer — Worley and Dobbs.

Peterman was thrown into a tough situation against Florida, in a game that was just plain ugly. To top it off, Peterman was injured in the game, tearing a ligament in his thumb. No one is even quite sure when the injury occurred against Florida, making it even harder to judge his performance  against the Gators.

Worley looked bad at times (most notably against South Alabama) and great at other times (against Georgia and South Carolina).

The same goes for Josh Dobbs.

Dobbs looked incredibly poised — for a true freshman — against Alabama and Missouri (even though the results weren’t there).

Last week against Vanderbilt that same poise was nowhere to be found.

Because of those inconsistencies, the quarterback situation heading into next season is far from settled.

Vol fans certainly don’t want to have to sit through another quarterback battle, but at the same time Josh Dobbs didn’t step up quite enough to separate himself from the others and take the job.

The fan favorite heading into next spring will undoubtedly be Riley Ferguson.

Ferguson, who will be a redshirt freshman, is the “unknown” among Tennessee’s quarterbacks.

It doesn’t matter what level of football you’re talking about, be it professional, college or even high school — the unknown is always the “better” option.

At least until they hit the field.

Sometimes the unknown ends up being the savior. Sometimes they end up being an afterthought. It’s impossible to know until they play in an actual game.

It doesn’t matter how good they look in practice, or how much the coaches talk them up.

It all changes when they’re under the bright lights and in the spot light.

Riley Ferguson would’ve been the quarterback when Justin Worley went down, but circumstances prevented that from happening.

The Tennessee coaching staff definitely preferred Ferguson to Dobbs, but injury prevented Ferguson from being the guy.

That might end up working out better for the Vols in the long run, if Ferguson ends up being “the guy”, since it gave him a year to learn from the sidelines without using a year of eligibility.

One thing is certain — when the Vols hit their stride, the offense won’t much resemble the offense from 2013.

Jones: We’re not anywhere where we need to be in terms of our style of play or our identity on offense.

You saw a little more of what Jones wants the offense to look like under Dobbs, because of his ability to run.

But I believe Ferguson, who’s a very athletic guy himself, could be nearly as effective running the ball as Dobbs.

It’s a long long time until next season. Who knows what will transpire over the next few months, but my gut feeling is telling me that Riley Ferguson is your starting quarterback in 2014.

The fact that Tennessee’s coaching staff preferred Ferguson over Dobbs, combined with Jones’ desire for more “splash plays” (Ferguson has a cannon), leads me to believe that Ferguson may actually be the best fit in this offense.

With Ferguson’s redshirt season out of the way, there’s no reason for the coaching staff to hesitate to give him a chance next season.

Who do you want to see start at QB for the Vols next season?

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Tags: Football Tennessee Volunteers

  • Scott Fultz

    just have this feeling about Riley, and I think 2014 will be a good year, 2015, 2016 will be years that its Tennessee on all the highlights

  • Tim Johns

    I still say Riley should have been the one they take off redshirt. He is the better QB. Peterman, sorry, just not SEC material. Dobbs, I am shocked he looks that bad, he has had moments, but too many of those moments he looks lost out there. Welcome to the SEC as they say. Worley just way too inconsistent. Its time to start fresh. We lose 4 of our Oline as it is. Lets start new. With the recruiting that Coach Jones has done, we have to give him at least 2 years to get us back. And with this class and last years class, we have some outstanding potential. After watching UT for over 40 years now, tired of being 2nd tier. Way too many jerk reactions and it all started with Fulmer. Not saying we should have kept him, but, think about this, we had Tahj Boyd coming in with Fulmer. Lets hope that Coach Jones can put the pieces together. So far, I am thrilled to have him

    • zach ragan

      It would’ve been Riley, but he was injured. In the long run that will probably be better for the Vols, since this was a “wasted” year.

    • Randall

      I think opinions will change when we see y Riley was saved for extra year. Butch knew what he had this year and knows what’s for coming. I believe he made right choice cause we didnt have the talent we got comin so y waste a year of eligibility when u don’t have the package to suite Riley. In honesty tho I wanna see dual threat with Dobbs and Ferguson. Get Peyton in camp with the two, and see how exceptional Dobbs changes… Go vols I hope I’m thinking right about what I believe butch has in store. Tho I do miss u fulmer..

  • Joe L Atnip

    Butch better recruit a quarterback because he doesn’t have one. None of these guys are SEC caliber. They don’t have the arm strength to throw the out pattern or to throw is long. Dobbs just throws it up for grabs. Why is he not recruiting a solid quarterback? Gonna be another long season w/o one.