Justin Worley to start at quarterback against South Carolina

Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley (14) hands the ball off to tailback Marlin Lane Jr. (4) during the game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2011

Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley (14) hands the ball off to tailback Marlin Lane Jr. (4) during the game against Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

True freshman quarterback Justin Worley will start Saturday when Tennessee takes on No. 14 South Carolina at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

Worley, a Rock Hill, S.C., native who broke numerous state passing records, replaces senior Matt Simms, who struggled over the past two weeks against No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama.

"We're not throwing and catching the way we need to and we're not calling the game the way we want to," coach Derek Dooley said today at his weekly press conference. "We just need to make this move.

"It's not something that's done on a whim. We have a lot of data to make a switch. We don't have a lot of data on Justin."

Worley hadn't seen the field until the fourth quarter of Saturday's 37-6 loss at Alabama. Worley didn't attempt the pass, as UT (3-4, 0-4 SEC) fumbled on the first play of his first possession and was pinned to its own goal line on its final possession.

The Vols are still weeks away until Tyler Bray's return from a broken thumb. Dooley said Sunday that Bray could play as soon as the Nov. 19 game against Vanderbilt, but the injury very well could keep him out for the remainder of the regular season.

Bray replaced Simms on a full-time basis around this time last year. Dooley cautioned that the circumstances are drastically different.

"We have to be very cautious to say it's like last year because I know that's what everybody thinks," Dooley said. "We had a lot more data going into last season when I made the move than I do right now on Justin.

"I don't know what it's going to look like on Saturday. I'm doing it with a little less expectation of what I'll see. I just think it's the right thing to do."

More to come on UT's change at quarterback at http://GoVolsXtra.com and in Tuesday's News Sentinel.

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 193

RockyToptoNeyland writes:

for the future we will have a good 1 and 2, this is what we need to do, now can justin coleman kick teague's @$$ and get into the game so I dont have to see teague anymore.

orangeman1 writes:

Good move for the future. Not sure it will help beat SC, but it will help in the long run. Unlike Bray who had some game experience last, Worley has none. I dont expect to beat SC or Ark anyway so its better to get him in the game since he will be back up next year. Hopefully he will play good enough to be starter.

absgovols writes:

It's great - to be - a Tennessee Vol! Eat More Chickin!

volsreign writes:

Wow. But why not? Couldn't be any worse and the kid needs to get his feet wet. Maybe it'll even be better.

Vol_In_The_Ville writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

for the future we will have a good 1 and 2, this is what we need to do, now can justin coleman kick teague's @$$ and get into the game so I dont have to see teague anymore.

This was why Dooley made the move in the 4th quarter on Saturday. This makes perfect sense. Justin would never get this game experience while sitting behind Bray. Now he can progress that much more when Bray leaves which could be after next season. Smart move coach!!

CCLC writes:

Win here Gentlemen. Or Vandy will beat you too.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Well, thanks to Matt Simms for a good effort. Wouldn't it be nice if Justin was good? I was at the game. The Bama fans were stunned. The first half was fun to be at. I counted up to 5 moral victories. We needed 5 more to win the game...Onward and upward...

kjneel#238751 writes:

Worley from SC playing his first game against SC. He will be more motivated than anyone on the field. He will win us the game on sheer will. I like the move. Playing Simms at this point doesn't help. We need a spark and this is it.

SandySpringsVol writes:

Although Simms is a good guy, he just can't seem to get things done on game day. Dooley's doing what had to be done.

And to RockyTopNeyland, I'm with you on Coleman -- at least he won't get beat deep due to speed.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor wish Simms a long and prosperous career in coaching. Witch Doctor say thanks for your service and now help coach up young Worley to lead us thru the end of the season. Witch Doctor kinda excited to see the kid play..
Bones never lie.

CCLC writes:

in response to SpongeBobOrangePantz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Will you be wearing some orange britches for luck?
GO VOLS BEAT LAMECOCKS

Classof85 writes:

There is no team in America we can beat with Matt Simms. He is the worst quarterback I have ever seen. The best pass in the last game was by our kicker.

I don't know what will happen by putting in Worley. But it can't be worse.

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say another thing he noticed..Simms is totally blind in his "pocket" vision. Witch Doctor wonder(for real) if he has ever been tested..as he cant see anything to his sides..never and I mean never saw a couple blitzs((??)) Maybe Dooley got him out to keep him from getting killed..cant get rid of the ball. Witch Doctor not knocking him as I was worse athlete than Simms at his age.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OrangePride writes:

This is a BIG if going into a game with a top-ranked opponent. I have to assume that the coaches see a high accuracy result from Worley on the practice field, especially on the short out routes ordinarily used on 3rd and 6 or less to get first downs. But as I mentioned on a different board, the overall game management is likely to be the bigger issue. Things like reads, decision-making, and sufficient vision to check down to the 2nd and 3rd receivers (vision being something Simms has not seemed very good at) will be huge. We cannot go into Saturday with this game on Worley's shoulders. Everyone is going to have to step it up so that we can keep Worley inside the envelope where he is most confident and most capable. Given the rush we are likely to see, that will be a big task. GO WORLEY, GO VOLS!!

TennesseeFab5 writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you really know what you are talking about or do you just like to hear yourself talk?

AllVol311 writes:

Justin Worley could provide the spark that Bray gave us a year ago. We still have a shot at an 8-4 record.
South Carolina in my opinion will be the toughest test the rest of the season, and Arkansas played horribly against a terrible Ole Miss team and won by 5.
This season is not over. Have faith and keep cheering for the Vols and Dooley!
GBO!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor say good you made your prediction early so leave and LET the REAL fans have the board back with out the "Dooley name calling, or the ever present "What Would Phil Do" and the lovely "Whoa is the Vols". Witch Doctor say OR you gonna hang around and whine all week?
Witch Doctor say lets watch.....
Bones never lie.

gluesniffer writes:

if the offense can score, all of the remaining games are winable.

Volunatic writes:

I think it's a good move. The Vols need a playmaker at QB right now. A game-manager isn't going to beat South Carolina.
Worley might make some "freshman mistakes", but Simms makes those, too.

CCLC writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say good you made your prediction early so leave and LET the REAL fans have the board back with out the "Dooley name calling, or the ever present "What Would Phil Do" and the lovely "Whoa is the Vols". Witch Doctor say OR you gonna hang around and whine all week?
Witch Doctor say lets watch.....
Bones never lie.

YOu are in good form today. Hope UT can pull a complete game together and beat the Visor.

baldingalum writes:

Justin is a very smart young man. I fear the speed of the game for him - initially. But he will figure it out.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

Dooley knows that we are not going to a bowl game, no matter how insignificant a bowl game that it might be, with Simms at the helm. He knows that Worley cant be any worse than Matt Simms. Woo Hoo! May Worley prosper us past SC.

Volunatic writes:

in response to CCLC:

Win here Gentlemen. Or Vandy will beat you too.

Now, now. I can think of at least one team this season that lost to South Carolina but beat Vanderbilt. Can you?

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor give his prediction on Friday as EVERYONE else that KNOWS sports do...Witch Doctor say your done until Saturday as we already know yours....
Buh-Bye
Bones never lie.

orangeman1 writes:

in response to AllVol311:

Justin Worley could provide the spark that Bray gave us a year ago. We still have a shot at an 8-4 record.
South Carolina in my opinion will be the toughest test the rest of the season, and Arkansas played horribly against a terrible Ole Miss team and won by 5.
This season is not over. Have faith and keep cheering for the Vols and Dooley!
GBO!

But Worley is a freshman. Havent you read the posts? UT cant be expected to beat a quality opponent with all that youth. I hope all those posters who believe that are wrong and you are right, but I've heard it too many times to believe otherwise until I see it.

Volunatic writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say good you made your prediction early so leave and LET the REAL fans have the board back with out the "Dooley name calling, or the ever present "What Would Phil Do" and the lovely "Whoa is the Vols". Witch Doctor say OR you gonna hang around and whine all week?
Witch Doctor say lets watch.....
Bones never lie.

W_D,
I think you know that Merlot is going to hang around and wine I mean "whine" all week.

CantStandCantStandSaban writes:

I hate to say it, but he can't be any worse than Simms.

VolGrad writes:

Wow, what a surprise! :D

I think we all saw that coming. Once the redshirt is off..., there's no need to hold the kid back now.

Thanks, Matt Simms for your leadership, and I wish you the best in whatever endeavor you attempt. But now is the time for you to do all you can to help Worley along with that playbook.

Go Vols!

SeminaryVol writes:

Dooley is sending a message to the team that he is playing to win the rest of this season. I do think this game is huge. A W could give the team a spark to win out (maybe), but a loss is devastating and could single 5-7. SC's defense is vaunted, but didn't UGA hang 42 on them?

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Volunatic:

W_D,
I think you know that Merlot is going to hang around and wine I mean "whine" all week.

Witch Doctor take a total of three psychology classes in college so that classify Witch Doctor as expert, Witch Doctor not sure but believe he stood under the coconut tree on a windy day or something...(?)
Bones never lie.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Here is mine. I believe this young fellow will make some quick reads and get the ball quickly to an orange shirt who can hang onto the ball.

We may see Justin at first going with some short stuff...........to a back out of the backfield, quick outs to Arnett, possibly Young.........to set up something deep to Darick.

A few successful passes early to give him some confidence would not hurt. Glad it's a home game for him also.

People have got to calm down and realize we have what we have at present. Not very many are patient fans...........mostly just frustrated.
I don't like it either, but know we've been down this road before ( 1980 and 1988 for instance. )

The best advice I would give is to show up at the stadium, wait and see what does happen, and not be too worried
about what so many are saying here.

ColtfanJ writes:

Good move coach. It can't get much worse than Matt "I hold the ball until I fumble" Simms.

JayGee writes:

Thanks Simms for playing the number 1 and number 2 teams in the nation and giving it your best. We would have lost those games even with Bray.

Good luck Worley! I certainly hope the best for your first start.

UTKin1992 writes:

Why the heck not.

VolGrad writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say another thing he noticed..Simms is totally blind in his "pocket" vision. Witch Doctor wonder(for real) if he has ever been tested..as he cant see anything to his sides..never and I mean never saw a couple blitzs((??)) Maybe Dooley got him out to keep him from getting killed..cant get rid of the ball. Witch Doctor not knocking him as I was worse athlete than Simms at his age.
Bones never lie.

Yeah, I think MS actually played better last year than what we saw from him this year. I can't really understand how a QB with his breeding fails to understand the concept of getting rid of the football to prevent a sack. But maybe you're on to something there; he just has no peripheral vision.

GBO!

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

Wow it sounds like dooley called out jim channey in that quote.

Ayres_Hall writes:

Watching Matt play was very frustrating. So I'd rather watch an inexperienced QB make some mistakes with hope he'll also make some plays.

led0321#648727 writes:

South Carolina's offense is just as bad as the Vols. They have a great D line but this game could easily come down to who ever scores 14 wins.

SC has not scored over 14 on offense since the beginning of the season except for KY.

I think Worley will do fine, we need one of the freshman to really step up and help Rogers.

Go Vols and keep the faith...Dooley inherited a phooey sandwhich and was the only coach with the courage to bite into it.

OldNumber7 writes:

I can't wait. Gives Tennessee a great shot at finishing strong. If Bray comes back and is Number 1 and stays healthy in 2012, Worley can still pick up a redshirt year. Otherwise he's one heck of a backup with some game experience. Good move Coach.

FWBVol writes:

in response to PatientlyWaiting:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The most incompetent people on this site are the ones that have to resort to name calling to make a point. And by the way, most of your points aren't valid.

We ran for more yards against Alabama than anyone did all year so our run game is improving. I could try to give you a few coaching points about run blocking, but they would be over your head.

I think this is not only the right move, but a great move. I appreciate all that Simms has tried to do for the program, but with five (hopefully six) games left in his college career he's not the future of Tennessee football. Worely getting meaningful game experience will make us a better football team in the short term as well as the long term.

Your break at the fast food place should be over by now so you can go back and flip those burgers.

VolGrad writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say good you made your prediction early so leave and LET the REAL fans have the board back with out the "Dooley name calling, or the ever present "What Would Phil Do" and the lovely "Whoa is the Vols". Witch Doctor say OR you gonna hang around and whine all week?
Witch Doctor say lets watch.....
Bones never lie.

With that, you get my vote for the "most interesting fan in the world."

This is BOC!

CCLC writes:

in response to SpongeBobOrangePantz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Yeah, I think MS actually played better last year than what we saw from him this year. I can't really understand how a QB with his breeding fails to understand the concept of getting rid of the football to prevent a sack. But maybe you're on to something there; he just has no peripheral vision.

GBO!

Witch Doctor say first thought when Worley went it was Simms was hurt. Witch Doctor kinda think the coaches seen that too, man he got killed twice and never had a clue until he was hit. Witch Doctor say plus holding the ball too long and staring his reciever down from the huddle thru formation...Witch Doctor say maybe his calling is coaching...Witch Doctor not want to say bad things because not everyone an SEC QB..Witch Doctor wish him the best.
Bones never lie.

Ironcity writes:

in response to SandySpringsVol:

Although Simms is a good guy, he just can't seem to get things done on game day. Dooley's doing what had to be done.

And to RockyTopNeyland, I'm with you on Coleman -- at least he won't get beat deep due to speed.

Guys Colemen already was toasted twice this year by inferior opponents. Our DB's will continue to struggle as long as we play man to man and put zero pressure on the QB. Teague was decent before and he could be decent again. I would like to see a little more zone to protect our DB's. Our defensive ends have really struggled to put pressure on the QB. I really thought Smith was going to bring that element and it just has not happened. We have also missed a boat load of tackles behind the line of scrimmage dating back to the Rainey 80 yard pass play. I think if you see the line getting to the QB, you might suddenly see our DB's looking a whole lot better. As for Simms he just isn't very good. The move needed to be made. If Worley fails you can always go back to Simms.

Central_IL_Vol writes:

Dear Coach Dooley.

My wish is for a big win against Stevie Superior and the Hens.

Please consider bringing out the black jerseys for the South Carolina game. The one decent thing (and only one) that your predecessor did was to grant the players wishes to wear balck jerseys for the SC game year before last. When the Vols came out wearing those jerseys, the Hens had no chance and the Vols proceeded to do more damage to the Hen population that Col. Sanders. The game this weekend would be another great time to spring these black shirts on ole Stevie.

Sincerely,

A lifelong Vol fan!

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to RockyToptoNeyland:

for the future we will have a good 1 and 2, this is what we need to do, now can justin coleman kick teague's @$$ and get into the game so I dont have to see teague anymore.

Teague played pretty well last year despite issues from turf toe. Last season with Waggner at the other corner and Jackson at safety, Teague was a good complementary corner. He's just not a shutdown corner because he doesn't have the speed to match a opponent's number one recever without help from a safety.

When Jackson toked out, Waggner had to move back to safety and Teague started to covering the opponent's top receiver. Coleman played opposite Teague for a few games, but if you remember, he got burned some too. Waggner is now back at corner with Randolph playing well at safety. Teague can now go back to the other corner or nickel coverage where he's better suited.

As for Worley, it's his time. GBO!!

wallingdad writes:

i appreciate all the banter on this site but calling someone out because they never played or coach and therefore do not know anything about football is ridiculous.

many do not know how to fly a plane but i sure bet they could decide if the landing is good or not.

CCLC writes:

in response to SpongeBobOrangePantz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll be there for the Blue Raiders game.... ya'll better tighten up cause it might be an upset.

volinJC writes:

I was concerned at first, but now that we know JW is starting vs USCa on Saturday taking the red shirt off makes perfect sense. Build for the future while giving your team the best chance of winning now.

GO VOLS!!!

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