Junior Justin Worley has started behind center for the Vols in the first three games of the season, but in his Monday press conference, Jones sounded like a man ready to make a change.
“Just like any position in our program, it’s open, and whatever quarterback has the best week of practice will be the starter for Tennessee when we play the Florida Gators,” Jones said. “If that means a freshman quarterback, that means a freshman quarterback. We’ll have more quarterback run into the package this week, and we need to find ways to generate big, explosive plays.”
That sounds like a coach seriously considering a change. The freshmen quarterbacks are true freshmen Josh Dobbs and Riley Ferguson, as well as redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman.
However, making a change this week could be a big mistake. Tennessee is facing a Florida team that had a week off last weekend after suffering its first loss of the season, to the Miami Hurricanes, two weeks ago. Florida has a strong defense, and throwing a freshman into that situation could be a recipe for disaster.
Plus, the game is at the Swamp in Gainesville, and asking a freshman to make his first career start in such a tough environment is not good for the psyche of any of those players.
Jones needs to stick with Worley this week. If he wants to make a change, he could do that before next week’s home matchup against South Alabama.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher, on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.