John Adams: Quarterback a deeper subject for Vols

A rebuilding football program can't afford to dwell too much on depth. Finding adequate starters is challenging enough.

But quarterback depth is an exception. It's worthy of worry, especially if you review Tennessee's last four seasons.

Only once has a single quarterback started every game, and you could argue about that. Technically, the season-long starter in 2009 was Jonathan Crompton. But his transformation from an early-season liability to a top-tier SEC quarterback was so dramatic, it was as though the position had been manned by two different players.

In 2008, UT started three different quarterbacks. In 2010, Matt Simms started the first two-thirds of the season before giving way to freshman Tyler Bray. Last year, freshman Justin Worley stepped in for Bray when the latter was injured.

When you think about how those seasons played out, you can't assume the quarterback position is golden just because Bray has a big-time arm and two years of experience. But you can assume the quarterbacks coach is comfortable in the company of his three quarterbacks.

The Vols have an All-SEC candidate in Bray, a backup with starting experience in Worley and a freshman in Nathan Peterman with perhaps more potential than the number of stars doled out by recruiting services would suggest.

"We don't have a guy in that room who can't play in the SEC," said Chaney, UT's offensive coordinator for the last three years who is now coaching quarterbacks as well. "I'm tickled to death with our room. I wouldn't trade our room for (anyone's)."

Such praise has to be placed in context, of course. It's spring. It's a

position coach talking about his players.

But you also should note that Chaney isn't always gushing with compliments for anyone on his offense. He doesn't hesitate when asked how this group compares with their predecessors during his three seasons at UT.

"I've never felt this good with our three quarterbacks in the room since I've been here," he said. "I can say that safely. I like this group a lot."

That evaluation matters more when you consider the uneven performances at the position the last few seasons. Worley now has experience. And Peterman apparently has plenty of potential, as evidenced by the preseason endorsement from Chaney.

Peterman's throwing got Chaney's immediate attention. He further impressed Chaney when he led his high school team into the playoffs. The clincher was his board work, where he suitably expressed himself in a coach's Xs-and-Os alphabet.

"They need to be able to get on the board and tell me what's on their brain," Chaney said. "I need to know where they're at when they walk in the door."

Chaney stresses that he doesn't expect a high school quarterback to demonstrate a Joe Montana acumen for the game. He just wants a few clues that offensive football isn't a foreign language to him.

Said Chaney: "Here would be a scenario: You tell them to get on the board and they can't put 11 guys on the field."

While that evokes laughter from the surrounding media, Chaney has had recruits fail the board phase of the game so flagrantly, that he stopped recruiting them. Peterman's knowledge of the game heightened Chaney's interest. So has the freshman's work this spring.

"Nothing gets by him," Chaney said.

How's that for an encouraging assessment of a freshman quarterback? Chaney expands on it by mentioning Peterman's throwing accuracy as well as his running ability. But it's the group, not just a returning starter or a freshman endowed with potential, that is most encouraging to Chaney.

"I think we've got some good ones," he said. "I never was a very good quarterbacks coach when we had not very good ones."

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

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 36

johnlg00 writes:

I have long thought that UT was as well-equipped at QB as any school in the country. Bray could be a record-setter by the time he is through. Most teams would be thrilled if Worley was their opening-day QB. Peterman may be the sleeper of last year's recruiting class. Although he may be the top talent, Bray's main question mark for many fans will be his leadership until he proves it isn't, one way or the other. Worley needs more experience, but his arm is better than many thought before they saw him on the field. Peterman of course is still something of an X-factor until we see him in action, but Chaney's praise for his football acumen is encouraging, as are the positive reviews for his arm in the early going. Put another way, if every other position on the team was as well-staffed as the QB position, the Vols would be considered a major threat for a BCS bowl this coming season. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

hateNCloveTN writes:

It really doesn't matter what the coaches say about spring practice or how well these players perform in practice. The only thing that really matters after all is said and done is "are we going to win football games this fall". I will be at the spring scrimmage game and will be awed (as always) but maybe because I have been football starved since December. I really hope this team and the new coaches come together and put forth the effort it takes to regain the pride we all had for this University and all it stands for. Volunteers, make this our comeback season and make us all proud. (Man, I love this wine).

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I have long thought that UT was as well-equipped at QB as any school in the country. Bray could be a record-setter by the time he is through. Most teams would be thrilled if Worley was their opening-day QB. Peterman may be the sleeper of last year's recruiting class. Although he may be the top talent, Bray's main question mark for many fans will be his leadership until he proves it isn't, one way or the other. Worley needs more experience, but his arm is better than many thought before they saw him on the field. Peterman of course is still something of an X-factor until we see him in action, but Chaney's praise for his football acumen is encouraging, as are the positive reviews for his arm in the early going. Put another way, if every other position on the team was as well-staffed as the QB position, the Vols would be considered a major threat for a BCS bowl this coming season. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

AGREED!!! GO VOLS!!!

CarlChilders writes:

Sounds like something to be encouraged about to me, even though Adams sees it as another verse of "Gloom, despair, and agony on me".

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Keep Tyler off the ganja and we beat Florida

Vols20 writes:

in response to orangeblooded83:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Come on, man! Worley can throw.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Oops there it is.....

voloffaith writes:

in response to Vols20:

Come on, man! Worley can throw.

Freshman and it showed..interception on goal line...then pass on the money to da'rick that he let thru fingers against gamechickens....

VolinCalif writes:

in response to hateNCloveTN:

It really doesn't matter what the coaches say about spring practice or how well these players perform in practice. The only thing that really matters after all is said and done is "are we going to win football games this fall". I will be at the spring scrimmage game and will be awed (as always) but maybe because I have been football starved since December. I really hope this team and the new coaches come together and put forth the effort it takes to regain the pride we all had for this University and all it stands for. Volunteers, make this our comeback season and make us all proud. (Man, I love this wine).

I think you got my glass!

atributetoLombardiwasbanned writes:

in response to hateNCloveTN:

It really doesn't matter what the coaches say about spring practice or how well these players perform in practice. The only thing that really matters after all is said and done is "are we going to win football games this fall". I will be at the spring scrimmage game and will be awed (as always) but maybe because I have been football starved since December. I really hope this team and the new coaches come together and put forth the effort it takes to regain the pride we all had for this University and all it stands for. Volunteers, make this our comeback season and make us all proud. (Man, I love this wine).

I take it's not Merlot.

fearthehound writes:

in response to Sammy_Burklows_Revenge:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Congratulations on your new screen name, loser. Your 'Doolaid' name tag gives you away. You can't place a post without using it 3 or 4 times. Get a life, troll.

asleep#212036 writes:

The only thing holding Bray back is his attitude. He was better than anyone in the SEC until he got hurt but his (and a couple of others) me-first attitude poisoned the team. It's OK to be cocky once you've actually done something. That goes for Bray (and Dooley). When we beat a ranked team, win a conference road game, or make it to a NYD bowl, THEN Mr. Bray can crow to the heavens. Until then, he needs to listen more, talk and strut less, and make sure his ONLY priority is how he can help the Tennessee Volunteers win games. This edition of our Vols is going to have to lean on the offense early in the season and we will need Bray & Co. to be focused and sharp. IF Tyler can keep it real this team could do some damage. If not, well..... Go Vols!!!

tovolny writes:

Grammar and word selection.
Homonyms and contractions.
Writing can be fun,
only in prose can there be midnight suns.
Law and order with no exceptions.
Break the rules of society and
and face the objections.
Break the rules of grammar and
and face no consequences.
Can't obey rules of grammar if
they're so many options.
Education is a pleasure,
but here we stand, helpless,
armed with this treasure.

fearthehound writes:

in response to tovolny:

Grammar and word selection.
Homonyms and contractions.
Writing can be fun,
only in prose can there be midnight suns.
Law and order with no exceptions.
Break the rules of society and
and face the objections.
Break the rules of grammar and
and face no consequences.
Can't obey rules of grammar if
they're so many options.
Education is a pleasure,
but here we stand, helpless,
armed with this treasure.

Not too bad, but I think you should re-examine the following line: 'Can't obey rules of grammar if they're so many options.' Did you mean 'if there are so many options'? Kinda kills your whole point...

VolFaninNiota writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Congratulations on your new screen name, loser. Your 'Doolaid' name tag gives you away. You can't place a post without using it 3 or 4 times. Get a life, troll.

man can,t you come up with some new material....the doolaid thing has gotten so old......geesh

tovolny writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Not too bad, but I think you should re-examine the following line: 'Can't obey rules of grammar if they're so many options.' Did you mean 'if there are so many options'? Kinda kills your whole point...

Exactly...you found one. There are three more sniffs...find them.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

You guys really have zeroed in on the whiny Jeff, haven't you? The difference in night and day with Richmond and this loser, Jeff.

Checking out the media guide............lettermen? There is Richmond but kinda' hard to see the pretender, Jeff among that group. Did they give letterman awards to the water boys? That must be it.

Eventually, the KNS bans such as this, then invariably........the trolls just come back with another name.

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

The only thing holding Bray back is his attitude. He was better than anyone in the SEC until he got hurt but his (and a couple of others) me-first attitude poisoned the team. It's OK to be cocky once you've actually done something. That goes for Bray (and Dooley). When we beat a ranked team, win a conference road game, or make it to a NYD bowl, THEN Mr. Bray can crow to the heavens. Until then, he needs to listen more, talk and strut less, and make sure his ONLY priority is how he can help the Tennessee Volunteers win games. This edition of our Vols is going to have to lean on the offense early in the season and we will need Bray & Co. to be focused and sharp. IF Tyler can keep it real this team could do some damage. If not, well..... Go Vols!!!

Jordan Rodgers is and will be a much better overall QB than Bray, especially in decision making, toughness, durability and mobility. Bray has played vs the weaker teams, and couldnt get through one season without injury,plus he quit in the Ky game. No QB is worth a penny if they cant lead and so far Bray is far from a leader. Watch who goes further in the NFL. Rodgers will be the best SEC QB this year after playing most of last season. Rodgers is tough and smart while Bray is questionable in both areas. Bray passes OK when he has receivers running wide open like vs Cincy or Montana, but he has not proven anything vs the Top teams. Vandy led by Rodgers will be a better offense than UT led by Bray. Mark another prediction down as the truth, just like my other predictions like UT would lose to either KY or Vandy last year.

gillblog writes:

in response to fearthehound:

Not too bad, but I think you should re-examine the following line: 'Can't obey rules of grammar if they're so many options.' Did you mean 'if there are so many options'? Kinda kills your whole point...

Their you go again.
Picky, picky, picky.

Volunteer-Varmint writes:

in response to tovolny:

Exactly...you found one. There are three more sniffs...find them.

Break the rules of grammar and and face no consequences.

Repeat of "and". Didn't see the other one...yet.

Can't wait till Aug. GO VOLS!!!!!!

springtx_vol writes:

in response to hcjournals#206623:

Keep Tyler off the ganja and we beat Florida

I am still convinced that if Hunter could have stayed on the field, we would have beaten them last year. They couldn't cover Da'Rick without Hunter even by holding and interferring. With Hunter, we would have scored 50. Or at least more than Florida. And without running the ball.

Oh well, we will never know. Keep Tyler and Hunter and Rogers and Patterson on the field this year, we will beat Florida. They will still have no offense. They might as well have a freshman starting at QB, no Demps or Rainey so no speed, still no experienced deep threat at WR, no offensive line. Yes, they have a pretty good front 7, maybe one of the best in the conference. Their DB's are not a strong point. If our OL can keep Tyler upright, it could be fun. Our defense, I am convinced is going to be much better than last year, which wasn't horrible (No 28 in the NCAA in total defense; I would be pleased with moving to the top 15 or 20 with what our offense should be able to do).

PUL4VOLS writes:

Nothing like John"boo a cancer cure" Adams to smear on the nega-thinking about the UT QB. Well we will have to see if the worthy worry is merited as you seem to suggest. There will be a season and I'm betting the Volunteers will be in it and feeling they will compete and win some games in spite of what they may not have a QB, John Boy.

PUL4VOLS writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Jordan Rodgers is and will be a much better overall QB than Bray, especially in decision making, toughness, durability and mobility. Bray has played vs the weaker teams, and couldnt get through one season without injury,plus he quit in the Ky game. No QB is worth a penny if they cant lead and so far Bray is far from a leader. Watch who goes further in the NFL. Rodgers will be the best SEC QB this year after playing most of last season. Rodgers is tough and smart while Bray is questionable in both areas. Bray passes OK when he has receivers running wide open like vs Cincy or Montana, but he has not proven anything vs the Top teams. Vandy led by Rodgers will be a better offense than UT led by Bray. Mark another prediction down as the truth, just like my other predictions like UT would lose to either KY or Vandy last year.

Thanks so much for the Vanderbilt site posting. Could we transfer it there now? Tyler Bray is the best qb to be mentioned here. We don't care if Rodger is actually Mr. Rodgers.

VolnPickwick writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

The only thing holding Bray back is his attitude. He was better than anyone in the SEC until he got hurt but his (and a couple of others) me-first attitude poisoned the team. It's OK to be cocky once you've actually done something. That goes for Bray (and Dooley). When we beat a ranked team, win a conference road game, or make it to a NYD bowl, THEN Mr. Bray can crow to the heavens. Until then, he needs to listen more, talk and strut less, and make sure his ONLY priority is how he can help the Tennessee Volunteers win games. This edition of our Vols is going to have to lean on the offense early in the season and we will need Bray & Co. to be focused and sharp. IF Tyler can keep it real this team could do some damage. If not, well..... Go Vols!!!

I completely agree, Bray needs to man up! His me first attitude last season cost us the Ky game, possilbly another one as well. The kid has the talent, no doubt, but Dooley needs to take control of this team. It's hard to have only enough bodys to field a team, it takes depth to keep some star players attitudes in check, this is not a luxury that Dooley has had thus far. Things, I believe, are starting to turn for the better, only time will prove if I'm right about that. Bray needs to get his head out of his arse and lead this team, take responsability, and become an example of what is expected. He does this and this will become HIS team, not to mention what it will do for the future of the program. Recruits come here and see a team and it's leader owning responsability for the on and off field attitde and knows this is a place to succeed! Go Vols!

vol75 writes:

To all Doomsdayers- The current QB situation is an indication the program is on the rise. Bray as the starter with Worley as the backup allows you to redshirt Peterman. Peterman will have the opportunity to learn and mature. It all makes for healthy competition and quality depth. This is something the Vols have lacked for some time. The foundation is solid. Good days ahead.

Bigger_Al writes:

Anybody loses when they get bad QB play. UT (2005, 2008-11), Texas (2010), Florida (2011). I hope this is really the year we step it up.

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

Chaney can talk all he wants about QB's until he learns how to call plays and produce a running game it means nothing. Good luck with that Chaney you're yet to show you know how to call an upset.

hueypilot writes:

in response to tnoutlaw2001#228008:

Chaney can talk all he wants about QB's until he learns how to call plays and produce a running game it means nothing. Good luck with that Chaney you're yet to show you know how to call an upset.

Not so sure as some have said that it's so much about the x's and o's as it is the Jimmys and the Joes. Chaney was Drew Brees' coach at Purdue and coached top ten offensive production teams there several years and I know it's not the SEC but he has some chops as acoach and we'll see what happens this year with a more seasoned offensive line and hopefully some semblance of a running game. That's what I'm worried about. A rushing attack.

CroKev writes:

in response to tovolny:

Exactly...you found one. There are three more sniffs...find them.

Actually, there are several more if you count punctuation.

CroKev writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Jordan Rodgers is and will be a much better overall QB than Bray, especially in decision making, toughness, durability and mobility. Bray has played vs the weaker teams, and couldnt get through one season without injury,plus he quit in the Ky game. No QB is worth a penny if they cant lead and so far Bray is far from a leader. Watch who goes further in the NFL. Rodgers will be the best SEC QB this year after playing most of last season. Rodgers is tough and smart while Bray is questionable in both areas. Bray passes OK when he has receivers running wide open like vs Cincy or Montana, but he has not proven anything vs the Top teams. Vandy led by Rodgers will be a better offense than UT led by Bray. Mark another prediction down as the truth, just like my other predictions like UT would lose to either KY or Vandy last year.

And I told my neighbor's dog that Vandy would lose to USCe, Bama, UGA, Arky, UF, THE University of Tennessee, and Cinci. The wager was that he would have to stop howling at the moon for a week if I won. Would you be willing to ante up the same wager?

CroKev writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Jordan Rodgers is and will be a much better overall QB than Bray, especially in decision making, toughness, durability and mobility. Bray has played vs the weaker teams, and couldnt get through one season without injury,plus he quit in the Ky game. No QB is worth a penny if they cant lead and so far Bray is far from a leader. Watch who goes further in the NFL. Rodgers will be the best SEC QB this year after playing most of last season. Rodgers is tough and smart while Bray is questionable in both areas. Bray passes OK when he has receivers running wide open like vs Cincy or Montana, but he has not proven anything vs the Top teams. Vandy led by Rodgers will be a better offense than UT led by Bray. Mark another prediction down as the truth, just like my other predictions like UT would lose to either KY or Vandy last year.

Just saw this site which examines the top 15 or so QB's in the nation next year. Didn't see Rodgers.
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/11...#/articles/1132755-2013-nfl-draft-preview-ranking-college-footballs-top-15-quarterback-prospect/page/2

Bubba_Knows writes:

2011 stats for returning QB's. The QB ratings in order are as follows:

1, Keith Price 161.9
2. Matt Barkley 161.2
3. Casey Pachall 158.0
4. Geno Smith 152,6
5. EJ Manuel 151.2
6. Tyler Wilson 148.4
7. Conner Shaw 148.3
8. AJ McCarron 147.3
9. A, Murray 146.4
10. Tyler Bray 144.8
11. L, Jones 141.6
12. T. Boyd 141.2
13. J. Franklin 139.9
14. D. Robinson 139.7

GONAVY writes:

in response to asleep#212036:

The only thing holding Bray back is his attitude. He was better than anyone in the SEC until he got hurt but his (and a couple of others) me-first attitude poisoned the team. It's OK to be cocky once you've actually done something. That goes for Bray (and Dooley). When we beat a ranked team, win a conference road game, or make it to a NYD bowl, THEN Mr. Bray can crow to the heavens. Until then, he needs to listen more, talk and strut less, and make sure his ONLY priority is how he can help the Tennessee Volunteers win games. This edition of our Vols is going to have to lean on the offense early in the season and we will need Bray & Co. to be focused and sharp. IF Tyler can keep it real this team could do some damage. If not, well..... Go Vols!!!

I would take Wilson of Arkansas, McCarron of Bama and Murray of UGA over Bray any day. In two years Bray has been hyped as an All American; don't see that. He cannot read a defense to check into a run, or maybe he just wants to throw it all the time. Pehaps this year will be a special one for him. But Adams saying he's a potential All SEC and your saying the best of the SEC, I just don't agree with at this point...

kwcoach writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Jordan Rodgers is and will be a much better overall QB than Bray, especially in decision making, toughness, durability and mobility. Bray has played vs the weaker teams, and couldnt get through one season without injury,plus he quit in the Ky game. No QB is worth a penny if they cant lead and so far Bray is far from a leader. Watch who goes further in the NFL. Rodgers will be the best SEC QB this year after playing most of last season. Rodgers is tough and smart while Bray is questionable in both areas. Bray passes OK when he has receivers running wide open like vs Cincy or Montana, but he has not proven anything vs the Top teams. Vandy led by Rodgers will be a better offense than UT led by Bray. Mark another prediction down as the truth, just like my other predictions like UT would lose to either KY or Vandy last year.

Are you talking about the Rodgers kid that plays for Vandy? I am not all that fired up about Bray but the Rodgers kid is terrible. Against our horrible team he was totally overmatched.

flatrock writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Jordan Rodgers is and will be a much better overall QB than Bray, especially in decision making, toughness, durability and mobility. Bray has played vs the weaker teams, and couldnt get through one season without injury,plus he quit in the Ky game. No QB is worth a penny if they cant lead and so far Bray is far from a leader. Watch who goes further in the NFL. Rodgers will be the best SEC QB this year after playing most of last season. Rodgers is tough and smart while Bray is questionable in both areas. Bray passes OK when he has receivers running wide open like vs Cincy or Montana, but he has not proven anything vs the Top teams. Vandy led by Rodgers will be a better offense than UT led by Bray. Mark another prediction down as the truth, just like my other predictions like UT would lose to either KY or Vandy last year.

Ask Cincy which QB they'd pick- it would be Bray by a long shot. Rodgers was clearly the best QB on the Vandy roster and am shocked that James (Orgeron) Franklin pulled him so quickly vs. the Bearcats.

flatrock writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Jordan Rodgers is and will be a much better overall QB than Bray, especially in decision making, toughness, durability and mobility. Bray has played vs the weaker teams, and couldnt get through one season without injury,plus he quit in the Ky game. No QB is worth a penny if they cant lead and so far Bray is far from a leader. Watch who goes further in the NFL. Rodgers will be the best SEC QB this year after playing most of last season. Rodgers is tough and smart while Bray is questionable in both areas. Bray passes OK when he has receivers running wide open like vs Cincy or Montana, but he has not proven anything vs the Top teams. Vandy led by Rodgers will be a better offense than UT led by Bray. Mark another prediction down as the truth, just like my other predictions like UT would lose to either KY or Vandy last year.

Wow- the more you type the weaker you get. Rodgers could not start for Arkansas/ Georgia / S. Carolina / Tennessee / Missouri / LSU / Alabama...he'd be 3rd on depth chart at Alabama and Tennessee. Picking UT to lose to either VU or KY last year? Hardly a resume-builder! I am amazed the Vols, with the weakest roster in 50 years, did not lose to BOTH. The previous VU staff did an outstanding recruiting job 2-3 years ago; James (Orgeron) Franklin's mouth has served to stir up the SEC big-boys- and that is not good news for 2012 'Dores (there is a reason Maryland refused to promote him; maybe you should spend your time researching that answer instead of taking potshots on other team's websites).

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features