John Adams: Quarterback play may break Tennessee's SEC tossups

John Adams
Tennessee quarterbacks, from left, Justin Worley, Riley Ferguson, and Nathan Peterman during practice on Friday, August 2, 2013. 
  
 (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young

Tennessee quarterbacks, from left, Justin Worley, Riley Ferguson, and Nathan Peterman during practice on Friday, August 2, 2013. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Vols practice on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013

As you might have heard, Tennessee will break in a new quarterback this season.

As you also might have heard, UT’s new quarterback probably won’t be mistaken for Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel or Georgia’s Aaron Murray.

But he might be good enough to win the tossup games on Tennessee’s schedule.

And those are the games that will determine whether the Vols can end their streak of three consecutive losing seasons.

The top half of UT’s SEC schedule consists of four top-25 teams — Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina — all of whom have exceptional players at quarterback. In fact, South Carolina has two, Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson.

The situation is altogether different on the lighter side of Tennessee’s conference schedule. Missouri, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Kentucky have more in common with the Vols.

And like the Vols, who are seeking a replacement for two-year starter Tyler Bray, none of them is certain about their quarterback.

Justin Worley, who has three career starts, and Nathan Peterman are the leading candidates to succeed Bray.

Here’s how the bottom half of UT’s conference schedule shapes up at quarterback:

Auburn: New coach Gus Malzahn has a great track record with quarterbacks. And since that track record includes Heisman Trophy-winning Cam Newton, Auburn fans are probably pulling for Nick Marshall to win the job.

Like Newton, Marshall is an athletic junior college transfer who accumulated gaudy stats running and passing.

Of the returning candidates, Jonathan Wallace rates ahead of Kiehl Frazier based on spring practice. There’s also heralded freshman Jeremy Johnson.

Missouri: The Tigers didn’t have any questions at quarterback two years ago when James Franklin amassed almost 4,000 yards. But he struggled to overcome injuries last season and is no lock to start, although he ended spring practice as the likely starter and already has been selected as a team captain.

Corbin Berkstresser, who has playing experience, and redshirt freshman Maty Mauk also are in the running for the job.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores will be counting on another transfer to keep their offense rolling.

Jordan Rodgers, a junior college transfer, went 11-8 as a starter. He will be replaced by Austyn Carta-Samuels, who started two seasons at Wyoming before transferring to Vanderbilt.

Like Rodgers, Carta-Samuels’ versatility as a runner and passer could make him a nice fit for coach James Franklin’s offense.

Kentucky: Few programs were more vague about their quarterback situation position than the Wildcats were this spring under new coach Mark Stoops and new offensive coordinator Neal Browning.

Despite the uncertainty, there is potential.

Maxwell Smith completed 68.7 percent of his passes and averaged 323 yards passing through three games before his season ended with an ankle injury.

Jalen Whitlow, who started the last seven games, might be a better option because of his running ability.

Of course when it comes to beating UT, Kentucky might not be so concerned about who’s at quarterback.

The Wildcats topped Tennessee in Lexington two years ago with a converted wide receiver subbing for two injured quarterbacks.

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 » 38

MarbleCitySon writes:

Really JA?! ".....toppled Tennessee in Lexington.." Should have read, "......toppled a Tennessee team who completely quit, and decided to mail in the rest of the season."

MarbleCitySon writes:

Just don't be so quick to anoint success on the mildcats, when the game was more a gift rather than something they earned.

DawgDayAfternoon writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

*yawn*

underthehill writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Be nice doggie..straight is we don't know how good or bad the UT qb situation is..we may have a real sleeper in the bunch..it happens sometimes..maybe this year and this staff are the right time and place ...we'll see..

abnermc writes:

Dogs better be worried abt Carolina. In 3 tries their great qb has not beat Carolina.lol

Supersayin1 writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

About the lamest thing a person can do is come to another teams site to troll!!

volfaninutah writes:

Too bad we can't get a wide receiver to sub for Adams when his column deadline approaches.

SeaBassHauling writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

When you lose to USCe for the forth time in a row.....bring that junk you brought to the table at home like you did last year......To Neyland and see if we don't send you home with your tail between your CRACK.....!

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to Supersayin1:

About the lamest thing a person can do is come to another teams site to troll!!

Just as lame are you troll feeders who gratify these sociopaths by re-posting their crapola and adding your nauseating simpleton retorts. The KNS, John Adams riding the lead parade float, is harming UTs recruiting by creating an environment for negativity regarding the Big Orange. Mr. Kaplan, tell your boys to get off their lazy butts and edit out all these miscreants! You're using a trailer trash method for increasing response numbers with quality editorials out of the realm of reality.

SeaBassHauling writes:

in response to Supersayin1:

About the lamest thing a person can do is come to another teams site to troll!!

HELLo he's not a TROLL.........It's worst than when he was born and his daddy slapped The piss out of his mother....He's a UGLY OLD MUTT

SeaBassHauling writes:

Bye now....! Post away wantA B'zzzzzzzzz...Be worried....Be Very Worried.... were on our way back and it bothers You....! That can only be the real reason anybody would be on another teams articles and boards.....

SeaBassHauling writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Just as lame are you troll feeders who gratify these sociopaths by re-posting their crapola and adding your nauseating simpleton retorts. The KNS, John Adams riding the lead parade float, is harming UTs recruiting by creating an environment for negativity regarding the Big Orange. Mr. Kaplan, tell your boys to get off their lazy butts and edit out all these miscreants! You're using a trailer trash method for increasing response numbers with quality editorials out of the realm of reality.

SameolVOLWantABzzzzzzzzzzzz....!!!!! BYE.....!

VOLKING writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

Just as lame are you troll feeders who gratify these sociopaths by re-posting their crapola and adding your nauseating simpleton retorts. The KNS, John Adams riding the lead parade float, is harming UTs recruiting by creating an environment for negativity regarding the Big Orange. Mr. Kaplan, tell your boys to get off their lazy butts and edit out all these miscreants! You're using a trailer trash method for increasing response numbers with quality editorials out of the realm of reality.

Which puts you at the bottom of the gene pool for responding to those who responded to the trolls...as if to make yourself feel superior in some way.

6972 writes:

John, my goodness, the Vols fans didn't realize we had 3 consecutive losing seasons. Where have we all been? We would have sworn we won the last 2 NC. Great info my man. Thanks so much. Keep the news coming. Amazing!

gc_scvol writes:

I'd bet money JA is the Dawg

NowHearThis writes:

My vote is for Ferguson, looks like he has the Seagram's Crown Royal tattooed on his arm. And judging this years talent vs. schedule, Vol fans are going to need a stiff drink before it is over.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

Treat Adams just like one of the trolls.
He's obsessed with a 2011 football game and dwells on it constantly.

So, it's best to treat him like one of the idiot trolls, ignore.............

When you see trolls like Dawg days, and 9 is fine at being a troll, realize what you'll get if you play their game. Let the trolls and Adams play with each other.

volfanz writes:

DawgDay sure has a huge, raging obsession for UT, why else continuously post on this site?... Maybe he seriously wanted to get in UT, grew up a fan all of his pathetic life and just didn't make the UT muster...Had to find what he thinks is success elsewhere at the U of G...Maybe we should feel sorry for him.

MetroplexMojo writes:

Mojo's inspirational quote of the day...

"Wise people speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have say something"

MilitaryBrat writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,

Treat Adams just like one of the trolls.
He's obsessed with a 2011 football game and dwells on it constantly.

So, it's best to treat him like one of the idiot trolls, ignore.............

When you see trolls like Dawg days, and 9 is fine at being a troll, realize what you'll get if you play their game. Let the trolls and Adams play with each other.

We should just boycott Adams, if no one clicks on his links, maybe KNS will show him the door.

This is the last day I will click on one of his so called "Columns".

I also find it unsuprising that Adams won't write anything bad about top SEC teams.(Especially LSU - his favorite team, where he can't get a job)
Where is the article questioning LSU's reinstatement of Jeremy Hill. If it was a Tennessee player he would have had already multiple articles condemning the coaches first trying to get them to dismiss him, and have a column prewritten ready in case they reinstated him.

stroker writes:

What happened to green no contact jerseys. We need to be conditioned to wallop ever dude that sets foot on the field in a red shirt.

John_10065 writes:

All I can say about the idea that the QB can swing close games is, "Well DUH!"

Chappy writes:

in response to MilitaryBrat:

We should just boycott Adams, if no one clicks on his links, maybe KNS will show him the door.

This is the last day I will click on one of his so called "Columns".

I also find it unsuprising that Adams won't write anything bad about top SEC teams.(Especially LSU - his favorite team, where he can't get a job)
Where is the article questioning LSU's reinstatement of Jeremy Hill. If it was a Tennessee player he would have had already multiple articles condemning the coaches first trying to get them to dismiss him, and have a column prewritten ready in case they reinstated him.

I'm with you. I'm done with JA and his loyal apologists. This is the last JA column I ever read.

wagee12 writes:

Ole Johnny ole, just couldn't resist throwing in that little comment about 2011 could you ole Johnny. I agree with one of the posters above, this is the last time I click on ole Johnny's drivel.

6972 writes:

JA, are you beginning to get the big picture? Probably not, unfortunately!

antonio14313 writes:

this is nothing new. quarterbacks get replaced yearly in all of college football. this isn't the NFL. this year's starting quarterback will step up and replace bray, just like bray stepped up and replaced the guy before him, and that guy replace the guy before him.

and, who's to say that this year's quarterback won't be just as successful as the top quarterbacks in the SEC?

stay tuned...

GO VOLS!

t

60s70s80s90s00s10sallvol writes:

For JA to include Mizzou's James Franklin in the group who do not have a proven QB proves his absolute ignorance to football once and for all. This kid can play and will be an outstanding leader and QB and will make an average team better. The Junior college kid at Auburn can play as well, and Guss will have him ready. Come on Adams at least do some research before you spend you one hour a day working. Most of us work 8-10 hours a day and have 1-2 drinks, JA works 1-2 hours a day and has 8-10 drinks, get some help dude....

SevenT writes:

in response to DawgDayAfternoon:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Please do not feed the slimeball trolls. My feelings are fragile and I get so angry when anyone says anything about my Vols.

Tennessee is going to sweep the SEC this year and be in the BCS Championship game. Write it down.

I have my orange pom-poms ready to go and I am going to sing Rocky Top all night long.

Remember friends do not feed the trolls, they just want attention

GO VOLS

antonio14313 writes:

in response to volfaninutah:

Too bad we can't get a wide receiver to sub for Adams when his column deadline approaches.

...post of the day. lol.

go vols.

t

antonio14313 writes:

in response to NowHearThis:

My vote is for Ferguson, looks like he has the Seagram's Crown Royal tattooed on his arm. And judging this years talent vs. schedule, Vol fans are going to need a stiff drink before it is over.

i've always been a fan of going with the older/more experienced QB. but, given what we all have heard coming out of camp, whoever wins the QB battle truly wins the battle, and is not simply handed the keys to the offense.

august 31 is coming...

go vols!

t

exlineman writes:

in response to SevenT:

Please do not feed the slimeball trolls. My feelings are fragile and I get so angry when anyone says anything about my Vols.

Tennessee is going to sweep the SEC this year and be in the BCS Championship game. Write it down.

I have my orange pom-poms ready to go and I am going to sing Rocky Top all night long.

Remember friends do not feed the trolls, they just want attention

GO VOLS

We need to schedule Duke and N C State along with the Peabody group twice and that would definitely be 4 automatic wins for us.

Central_IL_Vol writes:

in response to NINEwillstillbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

....and a horse's @SS!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I've learned to repect JA and his trolls. I don't know why?! Something for an old guy to do. Read the latest news about history.

OwensboroVol writes:

I just don't think either of the two returning QB's are good enough to win in the SEC. I believe the starter will eventually be one of the two freshman. Once they learn the playbook and get acquainted with the offense, I believe one of the two will rise to the top and claim the starting position. I'm not trying to diss the returning QB's, but I saw the games Worley played in and I saw the spring game. Gentlemen I left those games with an incredible emptiness in my stomach.

abnerPeabody writes:

in response to SeaBassHauling:

When you lose to USCe for the forth time in a row.....bring that junk you brought to the table at home like you did last year......To Neyland and see if we don't send you home with your tail between your CRACK.....!

didn't know you were a part of the team. We my arss.You have done nothing at any time in your life. Your mom should have kept the after birth and thrown you out.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to wagee12:

Ole Johnny ole, just couldn't resist throwing in that little comment about 2011 could you ole Johnny. I agree with one of the posters above, this is the last time I click on ole Johnny's drivel.

Promise? No comments either?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

I just don't think either of the two returning QB's are good enough to win in the SEC. I believe the starter will eventually be one of the two freshman. Once they learn the playbook and get acquainted with the offense, I believe one of the two will rise to the top and claim the starting position. I'm not trying to diss the returning QB's, but I saw the games Worley played in and I saw the spring game. Gentlemen I left those games with an incredible emptiness in my stomach.

Well, you could be right, but I would argue that Worley's background shows that he should be able to do the job, if he wins it, when he gets all the reps, coaching, and responsibility that go with the starting QB job. We seem to forget that he was the Gatorade National HS Player of the Year! For the most part, no-talent players don't get that kind of recognition. CBJ's offensive principles would seem to fit Worley's talent set; remember that CBJ has used both dual-threat QB's and pocket passers with success in his offense. Besides, if Worley or Peterman weren't getting it done, that would mean that the Vols were losing early. If that happens, it might be too late for anybody else to save the season. That is a main reason why I'm hoping Worley is up to the job.

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