Today, #Team118 kicked off the second week of camp with 9am drills that yielded some two points interest in the post-practice comments by Coach Butch Jones:
MONTHS OF QUARTERBACK SPECULATION have come and gone, plaguing the minds and message boards of the Tennessee fanscape. The speculation over who would lead the team was intensified after Riley Ferguson, who was constantly whispered to be the planned heir to the position, left the program following the spring game. His departure left a three-man race, featuring Joshua Dobbs, Nathan Peterman, and senior Justin Worley. You could actually say the race for the position began this time last year, considering that Tennessee cycled through all available quarterback options over the course of the year, without settling on a true leader. As of this morning, Butch Jones suggests that the race is finally approaching the end:
“I’m going to go back and watch the film this morning and tonight. If things keep going the way they’ve been going, I expect to name a starting Quarterback sometime this week. If it happens, it happens, but I’m not putting a timeframe on it.”
– Butch Jones
With only a few days left to speculate and theorize, here is what we’ve seen from each quarterback, with our own eyes.
Joshua Dobbs: Certainly the best quarterback we saw in this year’s Spring game, Dobbs has looked particularly inconsistent during the open sections of practice, though he has also shown flashes of serious control and velocity. His biggest asset remains a combination of raw intelligence and ground speed.
Justin Worley: A common theory, to this point, has been that Worley would be the default starter if a true decision didn’t come before the end of August, due to his seniority. Now, with an early (not really) decision on the rise, we wonder if experience and age is enough? In viewing sessions, there has been little or nothing special about Worley. On the other hand, he has been steady, just like he has throughout his time at Tennessee. Maybe the youth of the team has inflated the value of his steadiness…or maybe he’s just been hiding his progress from the media.
Nathan Peterman: This underdog has been long-considered the low-option, after a disastrous “trial by fire” in his first and only start last year, against the Florida Gators. Peterman, however, has hung in, learned, and remained focused. You don’t really hear his name much and he hasn’t provided any flashy plays, but in the wake of Saturday’s scrimmage, coaches were all-praise for the redshirt Sophomore. Nate’s resilience makes him easy to root for, though one good scrimmage might not be enough.
Hard to make a prediction at this point, but we love predictions, so let’s make one anyways. In the name of a balance of speed, intelligence, game experience, but still time/room for growth, we are going to remain #TeamDobbs. No decision would be an enormous surprise at this point, based on the eye-test, but Dobbs has the most upside, in our opinion. We will, however, be feverishly working on a list of incredible pop-culture-referencing nicknames for all the candidates, just in case.
GROWING UP FAST are Tennessee’s widely celebrated Freshmen. We were informed today that four of the newcomers became the first to remove the black stripe from their helmet. We told you it would be Derek Barnett and it was. He was joined by running back Jalen Hurd, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, and tight-end Ethan Wolf, all of whom have received regular praise from players and coaches throughout week one. (Best guesses for the next wave of stripes are: Vic Wharton, Aaron Medley, Dillon Bates, Von Pearson, and Coleman Thomas.)
INJURY UPDATE: Dynamic freshman running back Darrell Scott will return to regular activity tonight, after missing most of this week for an unspecified minor injury.
Keep an eye out this week for our official arrival in the print edition of Metro Pulse! It’s going to be a long, crazy, sometimes miserable, sometimes excellent, all-the-time-weird season.