Tennessee Volunteers: Quarterback Change Backfires

By Tim Letcher

During his time as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, Butch Jones has made quite a few good moves, both on and off the field. His recruiting has been outstanding, and the team appears to be in a much better position to win this season.

However, Jones made a huge blunder on Saturday. In the SEC opener for the Vols, Jones decided to start freshman Nathan Peterman at quarterback against the Florida Gators.

It was the first career start for Peterman, and it came in one of college football’s toughest environments, The Swamp in Gainesville. And whether it was the setting, pressure or Florida defense, Peterman struggled mightily in the game. He completed just 4-of-11 passes for five yards with a pair of interceptions. He also lost a fumble inside his own 10, setting up Florida’s first score of the game.

While Jones may not have been happy with the play of Justin Worley through the season’s first three games, this was not the time to make a change. Worley, a junior, has much more game experience than Peterman, and that experience could have proved valuable to Tennessee, which hung in the game into the second half, especially once Worley took over at quarterback. He was 10-of-23 through the air for 149 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw a pair of interceptions.

Peterman may turn out to be a very good quarterback for Tennessee, but today was not the day to give him his first start. And while Tennessee may not have won the game anyway, starting Peterman took away any chance they would have had.

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.


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