Tennessee coach Butch Jones’ weekly media conference on Monday didn’t shed any new light on the Vols’ renewed quarterback competition.
In fact, Jones’ comments may have made the situation cloudier by adding two other participants to the drama involving junior starter Justin Worley and true freshman Josh Dobbs.
Dobbs entered in the second half of Tennessee’s loss to Alabama on Saturday after Justin Worley reaggravated a thumb injury.
The Vols (4-4, 1-3 SEC) play No. 10 Missouri (7-1, 3-1) on Saturday at Faurot Field in Columbia (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.)
Jones said Worley is “day-to-day” after reinjuring his thumb while making a tackle on an interception return. He said Worley could have returned to play in the second half against Alabama but coaches didn’t want to risk making the injury worse.
Dobbs showed composure under pressure.
"He was poised. He was calm. He was discipline. He had a command about himself,” Jones said.
Jones placed no timetable on making a quarterback decision. He said he preferred to use only one quarterback, but left open the possibility of playing two if that’s what it took to win the game.
Other candidates also emerged on Monday.
Jones said the other true freshman quarterback, Riley Ferguson, was healthy and would be a part of the competition going forward.
Asked about Ferguson wearing a protective boot on his foot around campus, Jones replied that “half the football team” was in a boot.
Nathan Peterman, who broke a bone in his hand during his brief and forgettable debut at Florida on Sept. 21, is no longer wearing a cast and is going through rehab, Jones said.
“There is a possibility he may be available as well,” Jones said.
No players were made available to reporters Monday. Jones said it was a heavy academic day and he would make sure there were plenty of players to speak after practice on Tuesday. Freshmen, like Dobbs and Ferguson, generally are not allowed to speak to media.
Jones had high praise for Dobbs, who came to UT from Alpharetta, Ga., because he wanted to study aerospace engineering.
"He's a 4.0 student. I think he's got a photographic memory,” Jones said. “You're either a fountain or a drain, you know? Every day he's a fountain."
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.