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Butch Jones opens up Tennessee QB competition

Tennessee v Oregon Getty Images

A couple days after absorbing a 59-14 shellacking at the hands of Oregon, Tennessee coach Butch Jones has decided to open up the Vols’ starting quarterback competition.

Junior Justin Worley started the first three games and is atop the depth chart for Saturday’s game at No. 19 Florida, but Jones told the media on Monday that the quarterback who performs best in practice this week would earn the start.

Worley has completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 372 yards and five touchdowns (with one pick) so far this season. However, he was lackluster against the Ducks, hitting on 15 of 29 for 138 yards and a TD.

But who would replace Worley? Redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman has thrown 12 passes this season, completing six of them for 40 yards. True freshmen Riley Ferguson and Joshua Dobbs haven’t played at all.

It seems like Jones is looking for some sort of dynamic running threat at the position.

“Just like any position in our program, it’s open,” Jones said. “Whatever quarterback has the best week of practice will be the starter for Tennessee when we play Florida. If that means a freshman quarterback, that means a freshman quarterback. We’ll add more quarterback run into our package this week. We just need to find ways to generate big explosive plays. If that’s Josh Dobbs running the read option or Riley Ferguson, that’s what we’ll do.”

Both Ferguson and Dobbs were recruited by Jones, while he inherited Worley and Peterman from Tennessee’s previous staff. Since Jones prefers to run a spread option style offense, he probably feels more comfortable with the guys he recruited at quarterback.

If Tennessee is going to struggle this year anyway on offense, he might as well let his guys take some lumps now so they’ll be ready to perform at a higher level next season.

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5 Responses to “Butch Jones opens up Tennessee QB competition”
  1. spacehistorian says: Sep 16, 2013 8:06 PM

    I am glad to see Coach Jones put the heat on Worley by opening up the QB competition. Worley is competent but we need production out of the QB position if we are going to win games and make a bowl game this season. Complacency is not an option for my Vols.

  2. jimbo75025 says: Sep 16, 2013 9:51 PM

    spacehistorian says:
    Sep 16, 2013 8:06 PM
    Worley is competent but we need production out of the QB position if we are going to win games and make a bowl game this season. Complacency is not an option for my Vols.
    Sadly, UT is looking at a 5 win season this year no matter who the QB is given the meat grinder of a schedule we face. This is Jones’ “blow it up” year to put the pieces in place for better times ahead. I would rather see him go with someone he is comfortable with and can commit to for a few years. If that means 4 wins this year instead of 5 then so be it as we will not be bowl eligible minus a HUGE upset. Even if we squeak out a 6th win, it’s still only going to be to the Toilet Bowl and I would gladly trade that for an 8-9 win next year.

  3. spacehistorian says: Sep 17, 2013 12:38 AM

    I think we have the ability to compete with South Alabama, Mizzou, Auburn, Vandy and Kentucky. South Alabama & Kentucky would get us to four wins, we have a good chance to defeat Mizzou and Auburn with Vandy being the most challenging team to knock off. But if we can win 6-7 games and go to the Music City or Liberty Bowl we get the extra four weeks of practice for our players and coaches. The game will be televised and if we knock off a decent ACC team like North Carolina it would set us up well going into 2014 where the recruiting looks to be pretty high caliber. Rebuilding brick by brick is a tedious but necessary process.

  4. florida727 says: Sep 17, 2013 2:36 AM

    Although I’ll be rooting for my team to beat you guys this weekend, I wouldn’t be quite to harsh on your prospects for the year based on what happened in Oregon. There will be a LOT of teams that give up 59 to those guys. Oregon’s going to put up video game numbers againnst everybody except Stanford and whoever they face in a bowl game… and maybe even them. Your Vols will be just fine. I’m just hoping it’s not at our expense this weekend in The Swamp.

  5. spacehistorian says: Sep 17, 2013 6:30 AM

    I think it is a sign of the apocalypse when Florida fans are compassionate and comforting towards Tennessee fans… lol. Thanks for the kind comments 727 but I feel pretty confident the Gators will continue their dominance of my Vols this Saturday. My birthday falls on or around the Tennessee-Florida game. So for many years The Mighty Gators have ruined my birthday celebration but in my old age I take it in stride. I think Butch Jones will rebuild our program to make Tennessee competitive once again in the SEC and a worthy game for ESPN Gameday to visit on the 3rd Saturday in September! It is just going to take a few years. Good luck to your Gators the rest of the way as I would rather see Florida win the SEC East than those evil Georgia Bulldogs. ; )

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