John Adams: Dobbs has settled UT's quarterback transition, for now

John Adams

Tennessee took three quarterbacks on its Florida road trip in September. Joshua Dobbs wasn’t one of them.

Two months later, Dobbs will be UT’s starting quarterback in the most important game of coach Butch Jones’ first season.

Fans have learned to expect instability in the transition from one quarterback to the next. But this transition — from former quarterback Tyler Bray to Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman and Dobbs — has exceeded expectations.

The up-and-down nature of the transition has been both injury and performance driven.

And never mind the potential Dobbs has exhibited in his first two starts. The end is nowhere in sight.

Jones prepared you for this in preseason when he pointed out the thin line separating his four quarterback candidates.

If you dismissed that as coach-speak, we’re on the same page.

However, the coach’s preseason assessment has proved to be a candid appraisal of the position.

Worley, the only candidate with previous college experience, opened the season as the No. 1 quarterback. Peterman succeeded him as the starter at Florida, where he was ineffective before he was injured.

The Vols then went back to Worley, until he injured his throwing hand and was sidelined in the midst of a runaway loss to Alabama last month.

Enter the inexperienced Dobbs, a better runner with a smoother pass release than either of his predecessors. He will start next Saturday against Vanderbilt as UT plays for its bowl life.

The Vols, who stand at 4-6 after three consecutive lopsided losses, need to beat both Vanderbilt and Kentucky to become bowl eligible. But even if Dobbs were the quarterback of record in such cherished back-to-back victories, you couldn’t assume the quarterback transition had finally been settled.

Go back to Florida when Ferguson was SEC road certified before Dobbs.

Ferguson later lost ground because of a leg injury. Once healthy, he could rejoin the competition this spring.

And that competition likely could continue right through the first week of the 2014 season opener.

No matter who wins out, the fallout could be considerable.

Perhaps Worley would want to finish his college career at UT next season regardless of his place on the depth chart. But if he wants to be the No. 1 quarterback, there’s overwhelming evidence that he should look elsewhere.

You could say the same for Peterman, a redshirt freshman. Unless being at UT is a greater priority for him than playing time, he will transfer, too.

And wouldn’t the loser of the Dobbs-Ferguson competition also be tempted to move on?

If so, there’s a chance a depth chart deep in quarterbacks could become threadbare by next fall.

Recruiting might not be an option. As well as Tennessee has recruited for 2014, its commitment list is void of quarterbacks.

That’s hardly a shocking development.

You would question the decision making of any high school senior quarterback who signed on with a program that has two promising true freshman quarterbacks, including one with starting experience.

UT’s immediate quarterback storyline isn’t so intriguing. It’s all about Dobbs.

He could be the quarterback who returns Tennessee to postseason football.

Or he could be the quarterback who couldn’t beat Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 5

wally writes:

This is one of the worst articles I've wasted my time on. It's written with very poor taste.

vut5686#1405392 writes:

in response to wally:

This is one of the worst articles I've wasted my time on. It's written with very poor taste.

You beat me to it. Nothing new offered, no new insight and here is the most important point: JA would have us believe he is the only one who thought up all these salient points.

As if the coaching staff does not work on all the scenarios constantly and as if they probably are not up front with all the players.

And as if every top program with top recruits does not face the same "its." It will sort itself out.

psychovol2 writes:

'For now' was the main point. But for the life of me I don't know why media types like to project players leaving a program. A true competitor will stay and try to earn the job. I don't see any of the QBs leaving because I think they're character guys and CBJ inspires loyalty. Ferguson could well be the best QB on the roster. Worley proved effective and could have beat UGA and did beat SC. Peterman was put in over head but it did get Worley's attention. I hope none leave because UT would be in pickle with injuries like this year.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to psychovol2:

'For now' was the main point. But for the life of me I don't know why media types like to project players leaving a program. A true competitor will stay and try to earn the job. I don't see any of the QBs leaving because I think they're character guys and CBJ inspires loyalty. Ferguson could well be the best QB on the roster. Worley proved effective and could have beat UGA and did beat SC. Peterman was put in over head but it did get Worley's attention. I hope none leave because UT would be in pickle with injuries like this year.

IMHO, it's not much of a stretch to talk about QBs transferring. Adams is likely not the first or only one to float that possibility to them. It happens all the time these days. I surely see where you're coming from, talking about true competitors, you know, competing, and there is no doubt that some guys bail out too soon when almost nobody on a football team is more than an injury or an eligibility issue away from playing a lot more than they might have even bargained for. That said, if a guy is confident enough to be a college QB, he is going to have only limited patience if he feels he is being aced out in a numbers game. QBs at this level are nearly ALL entertaining NFL aspirations, and while there is the occasional Tom Brady who ascends to pro stardom from the end of a college bench, most guys who get the long looks from the pros have at least a couple of years experience as a college starter, usually on a good team or at least on a team from a good conference. I personally would hate to see any of those guys go ahead of their time, but it IS their life and they will have to own the results whether they tough it out where they are or seek greener pastures elsewhere.

no1djkb#278630 writes:

Loyalty in college football is hardly in existence on both sides. I understand where Mr. Adams is coming from. If any of these guys get a offer to transfer to another school and play, they will jump on it in my opinion. Well maybe not all of them but I bet two of them will definitely not be there. I would honest like to see Ferguson and Dobbs split reps to see who is the better game QB.

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