John Adams: Steve Spurrier shows more patience than Derek Dooley

John Adams

Game preview: UT vs. South Carolina

Derek Dooley might not beat Steve Spurrier on Saturday night. But he already has upstaged him.

Thanks to the Tennessee coach's personnel shuffling this week, Spurrier now qualifies as the patient coach in tonight's UT-South Carolina game at Neyland Stadium.

Spurrier has spent his career shuffling quarterbacks the way most coaches shuffle defensive tackles. He has alternated quarterbacks by the play as well as the game. He's as famous for a quick hook as a thrown visor.

Now that former starting quarterback Stephen Garcia has been dismissed from the team, Spurrier is all hooked out. It's Connor Shaw's game except when the Gamecocks switch to the wildcat package with cornerback Stephon Gilmore, wide receiver Bruce Ellington or maybe even given defensive tackle Melvin Ingram turn.

Lining up the 276-pound Ingram in the shotgun wouldn't be as risky as UT starting true freshman Justin Worley at quarterback. At least, Ingram has succeeded as a runner at the college level. He ran 68 yards for a touchdown against Georgia on a fake punt. Worley's college experience is limited to a few meaningless plays at the end of UT's 37-6 loss to Alabama.

Worley will replace Matt Simms, who replaced Tyler Bray, who is out six weeks with a thumb injury to his throwing hand. The Worley-for-Simms switch is the strangest personnel move of the Dooley era.

Simms was good enough to start the first two-thirds of the season last year. Now, he's deemed so incompetent that a freshman who has never thrown a pass in a college game is considered a better alternative.

And that's based, in part, on how Simms played against the two best teams in the country. A week before absorbing that one-two punch, Simms came off the bench to lead UT on a scoring drive against Georgia.

Pulling Simms for Worley in the final minutes against Alabama seemingly was motivated more by frustration than desperation. It was as though Dooley couldn't bear to watch Simms quarterback another series after the Vols after the offense had failed to produce a second-half first down.

Spurrier has made moves like that. Some of them have worked out, too.

But given Worley's lack of experience, it would make more sense to start Simms against South Carolina, whose defense is good but not LSU or Alabama good. If he faltered, then you could give Worley a shot. That's what the Vols did last year against South Carolina in making the transition from Simms to Bray.

The counterpoint to that: Worley has had all week to work with the No. 1 offense so he's better prepared going into the game.

He also has had a week for the pressure to build up. Who knows how that will affect him?

But Dooley is obviously less fearful of the unknown than he is Simms.

South Carolina 23, Tennessee 17: Win or lose, if Worley plays well, the coach will look good.

Georgia 27, Florida 24: This game tells you all you need to know about the SEC East.

The Bulldogs lost their first two games of the season and almost lost to Vanderbilt two weeks ago. The Gators have lost their last three SEC games by a combined score of 96-27.

Yet both are still in the running for a division title and a chance to be embarrassed in the SEC championship game.

The biggest difference in this watered-down version of the game known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party: Georgia has Aaron Murray at quarterback, and Florida doesn't.

Mississippi State 23, Kentucky 13: After an open date and a victory against Jacksonville State, the Wildcats resume their quest to be recognized as the worst team in the modern era of SEC football — or at least since the league went to divisional play in 1992.

Never mind what the Wildcats have achieved against a feeble nonconference schedule. They have been outscored 137-20 in their first three SEC games. South Carolina's 0-11 1993 team didn't start out that badly in the conference. Neither did Bill Curry's 1-10 Kentucky team of 1993.

Ole Miss (Nov. 5) in Lexington is all that stands between the Wildcats and an 0-8 SEC season. Tickets are still available.

Auburn 27, Ole Miss 20: The Tigers will catch the Rebels looking ahead to that Kentucky showdown.

Although Kentucky's spectacular ineptitude has overshadowed Ole Miss's dreadful play — it was outscored 109-27 in its first three SEC losses and has since added a defeat against Arkansas — the Rebels have quietly gone about their business of getting coach Houston Nutt fired.

Looking ahead, I would recommend anyone named Manning as a replacement — Peyton, Archie, Cooper, Olivia ... anyone.

Arkansas 31, Vanderbilt 20: It's about time someone recognizes this Commodores defense as one of the best in school history.

Seven games into the season, Vanderbilt has yet to give up more than 34 points. It could become the first Commodores team since 1965 not to allow 35 or more points in at least one game.

Top 25: Oklahoma 45, Kansas State 27; Oklahoma State 52, Baylor 30; Wisconsin 27, Ohio State 13; Oregon 56, Washington State 17; Clemson 38, Georgia Tech 27; Virginia Tech 37, Duke 13; Michigan State 27, Nebraska 24; Stanford 42, Southern California 30; Arizona State 45, Colorado 23; West Virginia 38, Rutgers 24; Penn State 24, Illinois 23; Texas A&M 45, Missouri 34; Michigan 37, Purdue 22.

Record: 106-19 (.847) overall, 71-40 (.639) against the spread.

John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns

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Comments » 37

RomanRoomRedux (Inactive) writes:

Adams knows. Spurrier beats an overmatched Dooley, even without his quarterback and best player. We should just stay home and avoid another disappointment

DiegoVol writes:

"The Worley-for-Simms switch is the strangest personnel move of the Dooley era."

What is so strange about this switch? Since Bray was injured, the passing game has vanished.
We can't run the ball at all. It's time to find play makers to get the ball moving. I for one would like to see Neal back at RB and see if he hits the holes better than Lane and Poole.

It's obvious that the O'line worked hard on pass protection this year, they have done a great job. At the same time they have forgotten how to keep the running lanes open. Although, I think if the RB's would hit the day light with a little more sense of urgency the running game would improve.

Cobb_Webb_Attack writes:

As Saban would say: you put your best 11 players on the field, whether they're freshmen or fifth year seniors.

If Worley looks better than Simms, he should play... and that does not diminish the perseverance, dignity, or heart shown by Matt Simms. Team players realize the team is bigger than any individual.

fairwaysngreens writes:

Mr. TarterSauce, (i laughed outloud typing that by the way)
If you read carefully, assuming you did and or can read, then I would like to know at what point you read where Mr. Adams bashed Simms at all? If anything, he is questioning Dooley's decision to pull Simms for Worley. In fact he states, "The Worley-for-Simms switch is the strangest personnel move of the Dooley era". Mr. Adams has written some "classless" articles in the past no doubt, but I'm not seeing evidence of it in this one. Adams is writting from the assumed view point of Coach Dooley based on the decision said coach has made to bench Simms. Now as for my own opinion on the matter, Simms has held himself in the highest character. However I also believe at this stage in the game, UT has to find a spark anywhere it can. We are below status quo at the moment and need to move forward for the future's sake. The future of UT football will not include Matt Simms.

lemeshousomthen writes:

who are u writtimg for ..u jack leg writer ..i hope like hell justin makes u eat crow.. damn gypsy..fair weather writer

DannyVol writes:

GoVolsXtra indeed. Where exactly does the KNS want them to "go?" Maybe Adams would be better informed about the quarterback situation if he hadn't essentially been blacklisted by the program he has undermined for years. This entire column reads like it should be in Columbia, SC driveways this morning. Must be some recruits in town this weekend - Adams always saves columns like these for such occasions.

VolsFanForLife writes:

Everytime I read one of this guys articles I get pissed off. It's like he lives to torment UT fans and is always riding our coach and program. He probably wears gator underwear and sucks an orange and blue passifier at night. It might even be crimson or yellow. I hope that our team, "TENNESSEE that is" can turn things around and when it does happen I wonder what this douche will write about then.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

in response to fairwaysngreens:

Mr. TarterSauce, (i laughed outloud typing that by the way)
If you read carefully, assuming you did and or can read, then I would like to know at what point you read where Mr. Adams bashed Simms at all? If anything, he is questioning Dooley's decision to pull Simms for Worley. In fact he states, "The Worley-for-Simms switch is the strangest personnel move of the Dooley era". Mr. Adams has written some "classless" articles in the past no doubt, but I'm not seeing evidence of it in this one. Adams is writting from the assumed view point of Coach Dooley based on the decision said coach has made to bench Simms. Now as for my own opinion on the matter, Simms has held himself in the highest character. However I also believe at this stage in the game, UT has to find a spark anywhere it can. We are below status quo at the moment and need to move forward for the future's sake. The future of UT football will not include Matt Simms.

Whoa, whoa, whoa...."Simms has held himself in the highest character"

I thought that everyone had already decided that "character" was the MOST important ingredient to success on the field. I mean, that's why Dooley recruited all those three star recruits with "character." Right?!?

mahabrando writes:

in response to DiegoVol:

"The Worley-for-Simms switch is the strangest personnel move of the Dooley era."

What is so strange about this switch? Since Bray was injured, the passing game has vanished.
We can't run the ball at all. It's time to find play makers to get the ball moving. I for one would like to see Neal back at RB and see if he hits the holes better than Lane and Poole.

It's obvious that the O'line worked hard on pass protection this year, they have done a great job. At the same time they have forgotten how to keep the running lanes open. Although, I think if the RB's would hit the day light with a little more sense of urgency the running game would improve.

QFT

usafvol writes:

Mr. Adams; If "The Worley-for-Simms switch is the strangest personnel move of the Dooley era" you've seen, what games have you actually watched? I mean geez, anyone who's watched Sims play knows he can't compete at this level. He's been given every opportunity to succeed but he's just not good enough, plain and simply. He does play hard and gives all he has but he just doesn't have the tools. If you don't understand this move, I really think you're in the wrong line of work!

Take_Back_Knoxville writes:

Adams' comparison shows just how old and rotten his brain is getting. First off Dooley has only ever jerked one QB for another. It just so happens that it was the same guy, Simms. Spurrier, speaking of old and rotten, has done it his whole career to multiple guys. I'd argue that he's single handedly destroyed more QB psyches than any coach in history. Simms has no pocket presence and would get ripped to shreds today. The definition of insanity is blah, blah, blah.

They will be gone. Someday both Adams and Hyams will be gone.

OldNumber7 writes:

Note to JA: yes, the rest of us couldn't stand to watch any more either. The thing Mr. Adams fails to address is if Simms plays then hands things back to Bray, you have a Worley backup with zero playing experience next year (assuming Bray is the number 1 guy in 2012). So the current situation ensures Worley could come off the bench in 2012 with game experience. He could also be redshirted in 2012 if Bray stays healthy. This assumes Worley is number 2 in 2012....if he shows a good play action look and passes well, Bray could be on the bench in 12. Tonite could be this year's (or 2012's) most interesting moment.

OrangePride writes:

"But given Worley's lack of experience, it would make more sense to start Simms against South Carolina, whose defense is good but not LSU or Alabama good. If he faltered, then you could give Worley a shot. That's what the Vols did last year against South Carolina in making the transition from Simms to Bray."

And how did that work out, John? Oh right...too little, too late. And too, there is a fairly long history of Simms not competing well against ranked teams. So more experience? Yes. And those experiences have been without exception bad. So Dooley is throwing the dice a little bit tonight with young Worley. But I would rather start with him and see how he does and, if nothing else, we start grooming him for future years. Here's the gamble...if you start Simms, it is likely to be an L. If you start Worley, it could be either. But thanks for supporting our coach and giving him the benefit of the doubt there John. You're a real stand-up guy! GO VOLS!!

OrangePride writes:

in response to DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho:

Whoa, whoa, whoa...."Simms has held himself in the highest character"

I thought that everyone had already decided that "character" was the MOST important ingredient to success on the field. I mean, that's why Dooley recruited all those three star recruits with "character." Right?!?

Try not to be a low-character jerk all of your life!! Every team wants young men who are the TOTAL PACKAGE. They have great athleticism AND good character. So don't be such an idiot and try to turn this around into some kind of negative. Simms is sitting now due to a performance that produced no first downs in the second half and a complete melt-down of the passing game since he's been in there. Dooley, like every other coach, is looking for a way to put the team in the best position to win. That concept should be simple enough for even someone of your IQ to grasp.

OrangePride writes:

in response to RomanRoomRedux:

Adams knows. Spurrier beats an overmatched Dooley, even without his quarterback and best player. We should just stay home and avoid another disappointment

Good post and good idea. YOU should just stay home.....and why you're at it, stay off the computer and any board that hosts Tennessee fans. Just read your comics and stay happy.

ellerbee123 writes:

This piece explains why Adams is lucky to pull down $50,000 a year while Dooley exceeds $2 mil. I put mine on Dooley.

Prostar writes:

I would rather watch JW quarterback this team than suffer with Simms. His decision-making skills are questionable at best, he stares down receivers and can't throw the long ball, hence the defense can play up close and tight. Something tells me Mr. Worley is capable and gives us a better chance than Simms or else Coach Dooley wouldn't consider this move, we would just have to suffer through a little longer.

FrostyVol writes:

"Simms was good enough to start the first two-thirds of the season last year.." Uh, no, he wasnt, John, and you know that. Look, I dont want to bash anyone who wears orange, but Simms is simply not SEC, or probably even Division I material. He holds the ball too long, stares down receivers, has a slow release and, even when all those things dont lead to disaster, he's not very accurate. If Dooley didnt make the switch now, most of us who have actually watched Simms play would severely question the Coach's competence. This was, sadly, the only choice to make. Let's hope it works out.

VolNation87 writes:

in response to ellerbee123:

This piece explains why Adams is lucky to pull down $50,000 a year while Dooley exceeds $2 mil. I put mine on Dooley.

HAHAHA AGREED!

tennrich1 writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Good post and good idea. YOU should just stay home.....and why you're at it, stay off the computer and any board that hosts Tennessee fans. Just read your comics and stay happy.

Man we made it this far down without anyone yielding to the temptation to respond to an obvious trap....WHY WOULD YOU RESPOND TO SUCH a MORONIC POST??? Just asking....it can't make you feel better...

CharlotteVol writes:

in response to FrostyVol:

"Simms was good enough to start the first two-thirds of the season last year.." Uh, no, he wasnt, John, and you know that. Look, I dont want to bash anyone who wears orange, but Simms is simply not SEC, or probably even Division I material. He holds the ball too long, stares down receivers, has a slow release and, even when all those things dont lead to disaster, he's not very accurate. If Dooley didnt make the switch now, most of us who have actually watched Simms play would severely question the Coach's competence. This was, sadly, the only choice to make. Let's hope it works out.

Good post. We all know Adams is "past his prime" as a writer and can't compete with the younger columnists at KNS like Ward. Therefore he has to resort to "shock and awe" to get a reaction.

Simms proved last year that he can't win in the SEC. He is perfectly suited to be a spot-backup. Come in and run a few plays if the starting QB gets banged up. But building an entire game plan around him is not competitive in the SEC.

GO VOLS!

BleednUrnge81 writes:

in response to RomanRoomRedux:

Adams knows. Spurrier beats an overmatched Dooley, even without his quarterback and best player. We should just stay home and avoid another disappointment

quiet, packer park orange, we need not your venomous anti-vol sentiments. be gone!!!!!!!!
GO VOLS!!!!!!!1

Squid_Vol writes:

Worley for Simms a weighed risk; Dooley did the math and the outcome best supported Worley, pure and simple.

Ref DEMDHC response ("Whoa,whoa,whoa..."), YES emphatically to character. My 2 yr old daughter has great character as well, and no, she will not be the starting qb against the chickens. You well know that a great Team REQUIRES the mix of leadership, character and athleticism. Dooley seeking to bring that balance to his team.

Is that so difficult to comprehend?

VR/
Squid

ceheath writes:

Adams is the most negative writer about UT I have ever read. It was obvious watching Simms that he is not a good quarterback. He can't move the team and could not last year, before Tyler stepped in. He panics in passing situations. The offense has to improve. I applaud Coach Dooley.

ceheath writes:

These same people were crying for Tyler Bray last year when Simms was just as ineffective as now. They had no problem with that inexperienced freshman stepping in.

ceheath writes:

in response to Euro_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Amen

CoverOrange writes:

Here's a positive from JA: he is already predicting the Vols will beat Kentucky!

twin942 writes:

Wow John, not sure you have actually been watching TENNESSEE games this year. It is obvious something needs to be done with that offense, and I am certainly willing to see what Worley can do. We know what we get with Simms - no offensive production. So, kinda makes sense to go with a different plan.

I certainly enjoy an alternative view on a debate, but calling this the "the strangest personnel move of the Dooley era" is ridiculous. It is smart team management. Where's your head at?

UTKin1992 writes:

It's easy to judge Dooley when I have no skin in the game, but his decision to yank Simms with a few minutes to go in a blow-out game looked...um, questionable.

It appeared to be a hot-head decision made out of sheer frustration. I just don't see how that decision was on the table prior to the game! If it was made on the fly, well that says a lot about Dooley's leadership in a not-so-good way.

None the less, he's the coach and I'm a fan. We'll see how it all pans out.

tdvol1989 writes:

Once again, it is quite the Vol Fan past time to bash Adams. He has a sarcastic approach, as usual, but that doesn't bother me. After all, my tone toward the Vols right now is sarcastic too.

But, I happen to disagree with him and anyone who questions the Worley move. Simms just is not a passer. His throws are very inaccurate and he throws at targets he sees rather than reading a pattern and throwing off timing. No shame in that as I can't do it either. But, I'm not an SEC QB. As I recall, the best plays he has made are a running TD against LSU last year and hanging Rivera out to dry (which he caught completely horizontal) at the end of the GA game. Personnally, I don't know why he did not run more.

But, the bottom line is that the offense has looked pretty bad every single game Simms has played. I hate to go Dr. Phil on everyone, but "how's that working for you"? Dooley is in a can't lose situation. We are pretty much guarteed a loss with either Simms or a Freshman...at least as far as most fans and media are concerned. I think the players feel that way with Simms. So, this really cannot backfire unless...no I won't say it.

I would do the same thing. We have the excitement factor. Hometown boy revenge factor. And, this is THE ONLY game left that can turn the season around. Yes, beating Ark would be good, but that won't prevent 0 for Oct. We have a shot.

ReVolver writes:

It would seem to me that letting Simms at least start would be the smart move.

I just don't see how judging Simms against the two best teams in the country means starting the freshman against SC makes sense.

They must see an upside we don't, or just believe that Worley's ability to read the field and execute trumps Matt's experience as far as giving us the best chance to win.

Can't wait to see us next year with Bray and Hunter back, and a less brutal schedule.

ReVolver writes:

don't see how you can tag it as an 'inexperienced' coaching move, when you don't have all the info the coach does.

Just because Dooley prioritizes something differently doesn't automatically make it a poor decision or 'inexperienced.'

A bunch of coaching decisions come down to analyzing risk/reward. The more conservative approach would certainly appear to be to leave Simms as the starter, but a more risk-oriented person looking to win, could easily be focusing on the upside of Worley.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Go Vols! Beat Carolina no matter who plays!

ReVolver writes:

in response to ReVolver:

don't see how you can tag it as an 'inexperienced' coaching move, when you don't have all the info the coach does.

Just because Dooley prioritizes something differently doesn't automatically make it a poor decision or 'inexperienced.'

A bunch of coaching decisions come down to analyzing risk/reward. The more conservative approach would certainly appear to be to leave Simms as the starter, but a more risk-oriented person looking to win, could easily be focusing on the upside of Worley.

I, for one, am conservative and would roll with Simms.

Hoping Dooley proves me wrong.

SummittsCourt writes:

John Adams... a real idiot

snakeplissken writes:

I told you all starting Worley would be a HUGE mistake.

johnlg00 writes:

One thing I saw from Worley is that he has a good, live arm. Yeah, he threw a few ground-balls mixed in, and a few other wild ones, but most of those were under a degree of pressure he hadn't experienced at this level. Imagine how different the game MIGHT have been if Rogers hadn't dropped that perfectly-thrown long pass in the first half. Worley couldn't have run out there and handed Rogers the ball in a better position to make the play. I think Worley has a good future as he gains experience. UT should have the two best QBs on one team in the league next year.

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