Tennessee Football: When can we expect the Vols to name a starting quarterback?

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 30: Head coach Butch Jones and quarterback Joshua Dobbs
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 30: Head coach Butch Jones and quarterback Joshua Dobbs /

Tennessee football seems to be in no hurry to name Joshua Dobbs’s replacement. When should Volunteers fans expect to know the starter?

Related Story: Top 10 position battles in 2017 Tennessee football fall camp

After losing quarterback Joshua Dobbs, analyzing the offensive toolbox for Tennessee football has become crucial. Dobbs carried UT’s beaten and battered team through most of last season. His throwing ability increased through his senior season all while rushing for over 800 yards and 12 touchdowns.

How can you replace someone who so easily could’ve and should’ve been a Heisman candidate? Or, at least, in discussion for… Mike Canles hasn’t shied away from the discussion of playing both potential replacements. But, if they were to name a starter, who would it be and when can we expect to know?

First of all, we certainly won’t find out before the start of the season. There’s just no way for coaches to tell. Quinten Dormady can stand in the pocket and deliver a bomb downfield but may lack credibility in his unproven running game.

More from Vols Football

Jarrett Guarantano may not have the sharpest arm in the league. However, his highlights demonstrate his ability to escape from a collapsed pocket and create big-yardage plays. He’s not the #1 dual threat QB for nothing…

He’s very similar to Dobbs’ play style. Naming him as the starter could potentially alleviate Tennessee from the pressure of creating and/or tweaking a new offensive system.

We’re already expected to see some changes with new offensive coordinator Larry Scott but maybe Guarantano makes Scott’s job a bit easier. Dormady, on the other hand, is no stranger to the field.

His Orange and White spring game stats couldn’t be better: 10-10, 120 yards, 2 touchdowns, no turnovers, bullseye Hail Mary challenge. His calm sensibility and already demonstrated leadership put him in a great position to win the job.

If they were to pick someone right now, I’d say Dormady has the edge. But, when can we fully expect to know?


This opener is an interesting one. My own prediction is that Tennessee football will win a bit more comfortably than media and analysts think. I call 41-28, UT. While I believe G-Tech has plenty of talent to make Tennessee work for it, I’m still convinced team 121 will get a somewhat comfortable victory over the Yellow Jackets.

However, this will be a great time for the Vols to try out both quarterbacks. Playing at a (technically) neutral site in the new Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta enables both potential starters to be tested on an equal playing field.

G-tech tickets went on sale a bit before Tennessee so they were able to sell quite a few before UT fans could get to them. Regardless, Tennessee is a loud, loud fanbase. If GT gets loud, Vols fans will get louder.

It will be a very unique opportunity for both Dormady and Guarantano to get a real test. Throwing the ball will not be easy. Tech has a few returning veterans in the defensive back department so they will be spread out and locked in on the football.

Their only mentionable wins, however, were against Georgia and Virginia Tech. They also beat Vanderbilt, which Tennessee football failed to do last season, but how were they supposed to? As depleted by injuries as they were by that point, the Vols could’ve lost to anyone.


Tennessee likely doesn’t have anything to worry about with Indiana St. Both quarterbacks will get great reps and playing time against a weak Missouri Valley team.

The Sycamores only managed a 4-7 season in 2016. Tennessee Tech has a better record from last year and we all remember what happened that day. The Vols should blow them out of the water with a remarkable victory of at least 5 or 6 touchdowns.

Dormady will hit all of his marks. Guarantano will expose gaps in an amateur defense. If Minnesota can come out and beat I.S. 58-28, just imagine what kind of havoc a fresh Volunteer team will wreak.

The Florida Gators, however…this is where a leader would be decided, I believe. Who can step up in Gainesville? Last season, the Vols were able to expose an elite Florida secondary with 5 unanswered touchdown passes in the second half.

If the Tennessee football hasn’t decided by the third game in 2017 to go with a two-QB system, this is certainly the game where the can find their leader. Keep in mind, the Gators lost 7 defensive starters from last season to the NFL draft.

The opportunity could not be more perfect for the Vols’ upcoming QB picks. Dormady has the trust of his teammates. He possesses leadership skills that I don’t believe are quite there for Guarantano yet. Guarantano has yet to play a snap of college football, let alone the SEC.

Playing in The Swamp will be a true testament to both players’ abilities to step up and lead with a level head, clear conscience and a passionate desire to win.

Next: 2017 Tennessee football 2-deep depth chart projection

Both of them are confident and immeasurably talented. Tennessee football likely isn’t in bad hands either way. But if one of them is to win the starting position, Dormady has a fair edge. He could lead UT to their first SEC East title in years.