It's no secret that the Tennessee Volunteers have high hopes entering the 2014 college football season.
Head coach Butch Jones has constructed an outstanding roster filled with promising newcomers and talented returners across the board.
But as is always the case in the game of football, the most important position on the field will be at quarterback as the Vols look to find the man that can lead them back to a bowl game for the first time since 2010.
Sophomore Josh Dobbs has the chance to be that quarterback after gaining valuable experience during his freshman season. Dobbs played extremely well in the Orange and White game this spring as he continues to compete for the starting job.
We recently caught up with Dobbs to discuss his rigorous academic schedule, growth as a quarterback, and what it was like to take his first college snap against Alabama.
1. First off, since you're a student first and athlete second, tell us what made you major in aerospace engineering?
Dobbs: Yes, academics are very important to me. However, a better way to put it is that I am committed to both. My parents have always stressed the importance of doing well in school. So, I understand the tremendous opportunities that education provides. I work hard to be the best I can be in both the classroom and on the field. Regarding my major, I decided to study aerospace engineering because I have always had a fascination with airplanes and enjoy studying math and physics. After visiting Kennedy Space Center in Florida while in elementary school and participating in the Atlanta OBAP (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals) and Tuskegee Airmen ACE Academy while in middle school, I knew I wanted to design airplanes. I hope to one day run my own company building them.
2. Do you think that such a demanding major has had any negative effect on your day-to-day football activities?
Dobbs: No, I do not think that my daily football activities are negatively affected by the demands of my major. Obviously both responsibilities are tough and both require mental toughness. But I’ve always had a rigorous academic schedule while juggling multiple extra-curriculum activities, going back to my years in elementary school. So, being challenged in the classroom and preparing for competitive athletics has been a way of life for me. I learned early on the importance of developing a plan and working to efficiently manage my time. The academic rigor has actually helped my approach toward managing the challenges on the field and my overall mental conditioning. You have to be willing to work to be good at either.
3. Most players would probably prefer to ease into their first college game against an inferior opponent, but you saw your first action as a Vol against defending champion Alabama. What was that experience like?
Dobbs: You are right, taking my first collegiate snaps on the road against the defending national champions isn’t the most ideal situation as a freshman; but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Coach Jones stresses that we all have to prepare every day as if we are the starter. Every rep, both physical and mental, is important. So, leading up to that game I stayed focused and worked hard to be prepared whenever my number was called. While I do wish the final outcome of the game had been in our favor, I did enjoyed every second of the opportunity. It felt good to help the team to score the most points on their field of any of their opponents at that point in the season.
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