Dooley won't second-guess decision about Justin Worley

Worley still choice at QB against MTSU

Derek Dooley on Justin Worley's performance

Derek Dooley isn't second-guessing the decision in hindsight.

The Tennessee coach also isn't changing his mind moving forward.

Despite an underwhelming debut for Justin Worley in his first start at quarterback, Dooley isn't wasting any time worrying about what might have been different with somebody else taking the snaps. And he's also not looking for a mulligan, officially giving the true freshman another shot to lead UT's stagnant offense at it prepares to take on Middle Tennessee State at Neyland Stadium on Saturday (TV: FSTN, 7 p.m.).

"I don't know what the result would have been (against South Carolina) if I didn't start him," Dooley said during his Monday news conference. "If I knew the result was we would have won the game, then, yeah, it was a terrible decision. If the result was going to be the same, I don't know. If we would have got blown out, then it was a good call.

"I don't know what the answer is, but I can't look back now. I guess only time will answer that question."

Worley is going to get more of it against the Blue Raiders (2-5, 1-3 Sun Belt), even after getting pulled in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Gamecocks having completed just 10 of 26 passes for 105 yards with a pair of costly interceptions.

The Vols (3-5, 0-5 SEC) had other issues offensively as their streak without a touchdown reached 10 quarters, and Dooley stressed they weren't all related to the quarterback — either Worley or backup Matt Simms. And one disappointing performance from the reigning Gatorade National Player of the Year hasn't changed any of the thinking that prompted the switch to Worley in the first place.

"Justin, obviously, didn't play great," Dooley said. "Made some good throws, did some things we felt good about and then made some really bad decisions and some throws that he could have thrown better. Hopefully we'll see some

improvement in his play. I think we will.

"I think there was a lot of nerves out there that affected him, especially early on. I don't think anybody really played well around him, and that was the disappointing part. So everybody has to do their part and play better around him and I think we'll be fine."

That starts with more productivity from the running game, which struggled with Marlin Lane nursing an injury and unable to provide a secondary option behind Tauren Poole in the backfield.

It includes better blocking from the offensive line, a unit that only allowed one sack but had issues allowing too much penetration by the Gamecocks, particularly in the red zone.

And Worley also needed a bit more help from his receivers, especially after Da'Rick Rogers let a possible touchdown go right through his hands — a potential game-changing play that might have given his first start a completely different look.

"I felt confident in him," right tackle Ja'Wuan James said. "He looked confident, he went out there and he tried to lead us. I feel like for his first game, he did a pretty good job.

"He wasn't really down on himself. We as an offense tried not to let him get down on himself and keep encouraging him to go out there and play. ... The coaches always stress to just worry about the next play. We can't go back and change anything."

With no guarantee about a change in the outcome had he gone another way at quarterback, Dooley had no interest in dabbling in revisionist history.

And as he turns the page from a dreadful October to November, he hasn't changed his mind, either.

"We've got to do a better job of trying to keep it simple for him," Dooley said. "We might have put too much on him as coaches, and that's always the first thing we do is, 'Where did we screw up?' We probably put too much on him when I look back on it, just because he gives you that confidence.

"He handles it well in practice, but you just forget what it's like when you step out there for the first time."

Either way, the Vols are set to send Worley back out there for the second time now.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              865-342-6274      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 16

MtJ_Orange writes:

I'm glad that Worley got the start. It was a tough game for him but so is everyone's first SEC game. I have seen enough of Simms and he will be gone after this year anyway.

The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca writes:

We lost this game to South Carolina back in 2008 when Coach Fulmer was fired 8 games after winning the SEC East and playing for the SEC Championship.

Bygones.

I believe in Coach Dooley. It's going to take a long, long time to get this team shaped up to battle for another SEC East title. He will need patience and support. If you're one of the so-called Big Orange Fans, hunker down and support the team.

By the way. Remember Tahj Boyd, the prime time QB Fulmer's team recruited but who was cut by Mike Hamilton's hand-picked head coach, Lame Kiffin? He's now in the Top 5 prospects for the Heisman Trophy.

Do you think we might've had a better chance of beating the Gamecocks if Boyd had taken the snaps against South Carolina?

voloffaith writes:

For thos ewho continually say Coach D doesn't take blame and throws players under the bus,reread this article. Case closed he does take blame along with his players......

shipperman#280095 writes:

in response to The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca:

We lost this game to South Carolina back in 2008 when Coach Fulmer was fired 8 games after winning the SEC East and playing for the SEC Championship.

Bygones.

I believe in Coach Dooley. It's going to take a long, long time to get this team shaped up to battle for another SEC East title. He will need patience and support. If you're one of the so-called Big Orange Fans, hunker down and support the team.

By the way. Remember Tahj Boyd, the prime time QB Fulmer's team recruited but who was cut by Mike Hamilton's hand-picked head coach, Lame Kiffin? He's now in the Top 5 prospects for the Heisman Trophy.

Do you think we might've had a better chance of beating the Gamecocks if Boyd had taken the snaps against South Carolina?

well, we should be patient, because after the NC, Fulmer never won the SEC title. Might have gotten the East, but that is no title

RemembertheAlamo writes:

in response to The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca:

We lost this game to South Carolina back in 2008 when Coach Fulmer was fired 8 games after winning the SEC East and playing for the SEC Championship.

Bygones.

I believe in Coach Dooley. It's going to take a long, long time to get this team shaped up to battle for another SEC East title. He will need patience and support. If you're one of the so-called Big Orange Fans, hunker down and support the team.

By the way. Remember Tahj Boyd, the prime time QB Fulmer's team recruited but who was cut by Mike Hamilton's hand-picked head coach, Lame Kiffin? He's now in the Top 5 prospects for the Heisman Trophy.

Do you think we might've had a better chance of beating the Gamecocks if Boyd had taken the snaps against South Carolina?

If a snake had legs, he might not crawl on his belly, but then again he might still crawl. If, If, If.....No we did not lose this game because of Fulmer getting fired, we lost this game because Fulmer decided to stop recruiting quality players. Fulmer was fired because our Vols were in a downward spiral and we are stilling feeling the effects. If you think we lost this game because Fulmer was fired, and SC had the 7th best defense in the nation, then tell me why we lost the Wyoming game in 2008 that we should have won by 40! If we had gotten Boyd, he could have gotten hurt also and we still might have lost to SC, then what would your reasoning have been? On another note, wonder how a lost to Ga Tech 31-17 helps Boyd's chances at the Heisman Trophy?

VolsFanJL91 writes:

in response to The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca:

We lost this game to South Carolina back in 2008 when Coach Fulmer was fired 8 games after winning the SEC East and playing for the SEC Championship.

Bygones.

I believe in Coach Dooley. It's going to take a long, long time to get this team shaped up to battle for another SEC East title. He will need patience and support. If you're one of the so-called Big Orange Fans, hunker down and support the team.

By the way. Remember Tahj Boyd, the prime time QB Fulmer's team recruited but who was cut by Mike Hamilton's hand-picked head coach, Lame Kiffin? He's now in the Top 5 prospects for the Heisman Trophy.

Do you think we might've had a better chance of beating the Gamecocks if Boyd had taken the snaps against South Carolina?

Tahj Boyd couldn't win the game by himself and couldn't complete a pass if the receivers dropped the ball like the Vols did against SC. Somebody needs to light a fire under the reciever's...

lomas98 writes:

Dooley cannot second guess his decision now. Once he burned the redshirt off Worley late in the 4th quarter in a game we were not going to win, he has no choice but to move forward with him. SC was a winnable game. I wish if he was going to burn the redshirt off Worley he would have done it if Simms played a bad first half against SC. How bad would he look if he burns a redshirt to play 4 plays and then comes back and starts Simms?

NeylandWest writes:

in response to VolsFanJL91:

Tahj Boyd couldn't win the game by himself and couldn't complete a pass if the receivers dropped the ball like the Vols did against SC. Somebody needs to light a fire under the reciever's...

Totally agreed. I wonder how well Tahj Boyd would do without a running game and an OL that played as inconsistent as ours does. A lot of what we do is based on timing routes and all of that goes out the window if you can't complete your drop without someone hitting you, especially when you're a kid and this is your first SEC game. I can't even imagine that kind of pressure.

ghost_of_which_doctor (Inactive) writes:

Not sure Tahj Boyd could have figured out the Clawfense any better than Compton. Maybe he could have? Maybe we would be two time defending National Champions right now. Maybe I will win the lottery this week and we will rename the stadium as Layla Neyland Stadium. Who knows?

As to the article, Coach Dooley made the right call. Squirrely Worley will be ok. He gave us the best chance to upset the chickens. Simms is a better relief pitcher.

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to lomas98:

Dooley cannot second guess his decision now. Once he burned the redshirt off Worley late in the 4th quarter in a game we were not going to win, he has no choice but to move forward with him. SC was a winnable game. I wish if he was going to burn the redshirt off Worley he would have done it if Simms played a bad first half against SC. How bad would he look if he burns a redshirt to play 4 plays and then comes back and starts Simms?

I think Dooley believed we could beat SC with Simms or Worley. (And if DR catches that pass and scores, he might have been right.)
I think he started Worley against SC aimed at having a chance, any chance (no matter how slim) of beating Arkansas. Something proabably nobody thinks we can do with Simms.

Starting Worley against both SC and MTSU, he at least has two games under his belt to play UA.
Even if he doesn't beat Arky (and we probably won't) it will give him that much more pt to prepare him for Vandy.
Just my take on the timing.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to shipperman#280095:

well, we should be patient, because after the NC, Fulmer never won the SEC title. Might have gotten the East, but that is no title

Do you really think that any of the Dooley bashing trolls on here would be bashing Dooley if we were even close to winning the East? Heck no, everyone would be ranting about what a great job he is doing and how we will be up for a national title in 2 years. Your line of thinking holds no water.

jobrando#216494 writes:

It's critical to have Worley in the mix. Tyler is a big tall skinny kid one hard hit away from the bench. Worley will be a good one. His confidence will grow right on into the Ark game. The receivers must not drop balls. Where is Milton? Tyler needs to return after Ark. I want Worley to have another chance at a rated team.

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

in response to VolsFanJL91:

Tahj Boyd couldn't win the game by himself and couldn't complete a pass if the receivers dropped the ball like the Vols did against SC. Somebody needs to light a fire under the reciever's...

I have to agree with that call. Although Worley made some huge mistakes, it wasnt like he had Moore, Jones, Hunter and DaRick out there like Bray did last year. He had receivers that could make him look good. That one dropped pass from DaRick didnt help Worleys confidence at all.

OrangeinCarolina2 writes:

Right now our biggest problem is lack of depth and experience at critical positions. If Coach Dooley plays Simms, a senior, the rest of the year, what does that give us at QB next year? If you said lack of depth and experience at a critical position step to the front of the class. In addition, Coach Dooley believes that Worley gives us our best chance of winning games. And he and everyone else knows what happens when coaches don't win games. He'll get the job done but it won't be this year. Just too many adversities to overcome. Play hard and coach hard and see what we can salvage. GO VOLS!

VolFaninDC writes:

in response to The_Ghost_of_Duke_DeLuca:

We lost this game to South Carolina back in 2008 when Coach Fulmer was fired 8 games after winning the SEC East and playing for the SEC Championship.

Bygones.

I believe in Coach Dooley. It's going to take a long, long time to get this team shaped up to battle for another SEC East title. He will need patience and support. If you're one of the so-called Big Orange Fans, hunker down and support the team.

By the way. Remember Tahj Boyd, the prime time QB Fulmer's team recruited but who was cut by Mike Hamilton's hand-picked head coach, Lame Kiffin? He's now in the Top 5 prospects for the Heisman Trophy.

Do you think we might've had a better chance of beating the Gamecocks if Boyd had taken the snaps against South Carolina?

So, he needs fan "support" to win games, or even score touchdowns for that matter? What sort of support does he need to do that, and I mean EXACTLY what sort?

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to VolFaninDC:

So, he needs fan "support" to win games, or even score touchdowns for that matter? What sort of support does he need to do that, and I mean EXACTLY what sort?

I'll answere that.
Exactly, in this case, means this flock of crows claiming to be fans who do nothing but whine and cry like a bunch of school girls because we aren't winning NOW need to hush.

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