Every play is analyzed. Every pass is assessed.
The battle for Tennessee’s No. 1 quarterback — or as coach Butch Jones deems it, “Tennessee’s alpha male” — officially commenced Friday. The Vols took to the field for their first practice of the 2013 preseason, centering all eyes on Justin Worley, the frontrunner, Nathan Peterman, the challenger, and freshmen Josh Dobbs and Riley Ferguson, the wildcards.
Moments after soaking in UT’s first run-through, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian said Friday went as expected. For all the quarterbacks, the shaking off of summer rust was seen in spotty execution, but not in knowledge of the playbook.
That didn’t stop the coaches from ratcheting up the speed of every play, a staple in Jones’ new uptempo attack.
“The speed was fine today, but the execution wasn’t as good,” said Worley, who ran primarily with the first-team offense. “We didn’t have as many MAs (missed assignments) as we did in the spring.”
As for the newcomers, Dobbs and Ferguson, Friday was an eye-opener. Bajakian said the two “were in shock a little bit with the tempo of practice,” but added, “They are further along from a mental standpoint than any freshmen I’ve had before.”