If you followed the Tennessee Volunteers’ quarterback battle last off-season then you’re already aware that Butch Jones will not be in a hurry to name a starting quarterback in 2014.
Jones let the battle go right up until the season started before naming Justin Worley as the starter against Austin Peay in the Vols’ season opener.
On Thursday, during Jones’ pre-spring practice press conference, the Vols’ second year head coach alluded to the likelihood that a starter once again won’t be named until right before the season begins.
Jones: Has there been a timetable set on who our starting quarterback is? No, there are no timetables. That person will emerge. I don’t know if it is the second week of spring, after the conclusion of the orange and white game or a week prior to Utah State. That will take care of itself. Right now, they just have to work on making themselves better individually every day and being a leader. They have to prove that they can win at Tennessee.”
Justin Worley began the 2013 season as the starter, before sustaining a season ending thumb injury against Alabama and giving way to true freshman Josh Dobbs.
Dobbs, who is now up to 210 lbs after weighing 190 when his Tennessee career started, offers the Vols more versatility than Worley, due to his ability to make plays with his legs. He also has a jump on redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson, who has yet to see any game action.
Vol fans also can’t forget about redshirt sophomore Nathan Peterman.
Peterman, despite his poor performance against Florida last season, will be given equal opportunity to compete for the starting job.
While I don’t expect Peterman to be the player that emerges, he is worth keeping an eye on as a dark horse in the competition and shouldn’t be considered an afterthought.
- WR Drae Bowles, TE A.J. Branisel, TE Brendan Downs, WR Ryan Jenkins, DB Brian Randolph and DT Trevarris Saulsberry will all miss spring practice due to injury.
- Jones is placing an emphasis on playing faster this season, saying “We want to be much more up tempo. We want to challenge that ten second rule. We want to play much faster. We’ve got to get faster. The word ‘fast’, improving team speed, we must become faster in everything that we do”.
- Jones indicated that the Kicker position would be an open competition, but was careful not to leave out the name of Aaron Medley, who will arrive on campus this summer.
- DL Greg Clark was the only player to leave the program this off-season.