Justin Worley Named Vol Starter At Quarterback


Justin Worley has been named the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Vols. The Vols open at home against a very good Utah State team on Sunday Night August 31st. Worley will be ready, and he deserves the start.

Coach Butch Jones announced today that Worley had earned the starting spot over Sophomore’s Josh Dobbs and Nathan Peterman. In an interview with the new SEC Network Jones mentioned that Worley had a good Spring, Summer and Fall camp on the Hill.

Jones told the SEC Network that being quarterback at Tennessee was seen as “global”. He mentioned that the University of Tennessee is a global brand, and that people pay attention to who is quarterbacking the Vols. He is letting Worley know that it is an honor to be leading that huddle.

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  • Worley started 7 games last year for the Vols. He was sidelined with a thumb injury and Josh Dobbs took over. He had thrown 10 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He will have to put up more impressive numbers this year in order to stay the starter.

    Worley came to Tennessee as the Gatorade High School Player of the Year. The only other Gatorade Player of the Year Tennessee had signed at that point was a guy named Peyton Manning. Worley has not quite had Peyton’s impact on the Volunteer Program.

    In fairness to Worley. he has been through a lot at Tennessee. He came in and backed up Lane Kiffen’s QB Tyler Bray. Bray was a great talent, but a head case. After Bray left in 2012, 2013 was Worley’s time to shine. However, he was faced with once again learning a new system, and an all new offense. Not an easy thing to do in one half of a year. Worley was ok, but Tennessee struggled in all aspects on offense, and the thumb injury placed Josh Dobbs in the role as starter.

    I think this is a good move by Butch to name Worley now. He needs to know it is his team, and he needs the reps and confidence to lead. He has more talent around him now in the skill positions. His receivers are incredible, and I think by far the best in the SEC. His running backs are going to be good, and are going to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield. His tight ends are going to grow up quick, and they will be weapons. Worley just needs to get the ball to them consistently.

    I have a different take on Worley. No one on the planet wants this guy to succeed more than I do. He deserves to have a great year, and Tennessee fans deserve a great year. I just don’t think he fits this system, and that frustrates me. I see him as a pocket passer in the I formation. We are no longer a pro style offense. We run the read “option”. The option means you can keep the ball or hand off to your tailback. Justin has to learn it is legal for him to keep the ball. It is the entire “sense” of the “option”.

    I sat and watched game after game, and could see the opposing team pay no attention to the quarterback. Everyone knew the qb was going to hand the ball off. So every lineman, linebacker and safety came up to key on the back. Results were predictable. I know Justin is not Willie Gault, but he is capable of keeping and taking five yards when it is there for the taking. Make the other team respect that he might keep it.

    I also think that Tennessee can not win this year with Worley just managing the team. That is what everyone wants. Just manage the team. No turnovers. No mistakes. Punting is ok. I say bull. Worley has to make plays for this team. He is capable of making plays. He is good enough, and the players around him can help him. However, this team is not good enough to win by going three and out and relying on defense.  You can not play scared.

    So Worley has been named starter. I think it is a good move. Now, as a coaching staff, they have to do their job and make this Senior better. Put him in good situations to succeed, make good play calling decisions, determine and point out the one on one mismatches that these offensive players are going to create, and cut him loose. It is the only way to play.