Fast-forward to 2014, and the Vols’ are in the same signal-calling boat.
As expected, UT head coach Butch Jones announced that Worley is his starting quarterback. Worley had been involved in a competition with Josh Dobbs and Nathan Peterman for the job.
“Worley has earned the right to the be starting QB. I believe Justin is playing the best football he’s played in a long time,” Jones said by way of UT’s Twitter feed. “Worley has been a leader, he’s been very vocal. When you manage the football, it’s a matter of seconds. He’s managed that. …
“[He] has experience in the SEC and we’re going to need that with our young football team.”
In that “youth” vein, UT must replace all five starters along the offensive line, which certainly at least peripherally factored into the decision.
Worley started seven of the first eight games of the 2013 season — Peterman started the Sept. 21 game in The Swamp against Florida because of Worley’s ineffectiveness — before going down with a season-ending injury. During the time he was healthy — and part of which came after Peterman went down with his own injury, allowing him to regain his job — Worley completed just under 56 percent of his passes and throwing 10 touchdowns versus eight interceptions.
Tennessee opens the 2014 season in Knoxville against Utah State later this month.