Tennessee's spring game doesn't clear QB battle
Those questions were not answered during the annual Orange and White spring game, as neither Justin Worley nor Nathan Peterman could separate themselves from one another.
“It is wide open,” said coach Butch Jones during the post-game press conference. “Just like every position, it will be open. The growth that a football team can make from May to the end of July can be monumental, if they buy in and work exceptionally hard.”
Worley finished 8-of-18 for 121 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was much more consistent than his counterpart and seemed to have a better touch on the ball, but didn’t portray a risk-taker’s mentality and made all the safe throws.
However, Peterman – a redshirt freshman, mind you – looked very uncomfortable and spent most of his time outside the pocket throwing on the run. This was due to a combination of a fierce pass rush from Corey Vereen and his inability to step up in the pocket under pressure.
“…Plus, we have our freshmen reporting in June,” Jones added. “That is one thing—we were able to attract a top-25 class, we were able to tell them that they could come in and have the opportunity to compete and play.”
Of that quality class is incoming freshman Joshua Dobbs, who is a very interesting prospect that could come in right away and steal the job away from Worley and Peterman.
Dobbs is a Georgia native and one of Jones’ first recruits while at Tennessee. Ranked the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in his class, he is a true fit for the Vols’ shotgun-utilized, high-tempo offensive attack.
Either way, Jones is hoping that someone emerges as the favorite for the job soon—a leader who can command the huddle and inspire the young players around him to help lift this program from the SEC’s basement.
“Name me a good football team or a great football team whose quarterback wasn’t a great leader,” said Jones. “Usually your average to below average teams, the quarterback brings no leadership value. Everything is at quarterback as the coach on the field. The quarterback sets the entire temperament for the football team, not just the offense.
“Everything needs to be worked on,” he said of his quarterbacks. “Taking ownership in our receivers, tight ends, running backs and developing that trust and timing. Overall leadership, overall command presence, being the alpha male and understanding that. Growing their leadership, the overall knowledge of the game and letting the game slow down a little bit when it comes to them.”
All other quarterbacks finished 1-2 for nine yards and an interception.
*Tyler Waddell attended the Tennessee spring game. All quotes were obtained first-hand.
Follow @Tyler_Waddell on Twitter