In 2013, the Tennessee Volunteers showed some signs of big things to come under new head coach Butch Jones. However, there was one glaring spot that needed vast improvement, and it still does.
The Volunteers began spring practice with virtually no idea who will be their starting quarterback this fall. In fact, there are four players competing for the starting job, and none of them have staked a claim to be the starter.
Three of the contenders for the job actually played last season. And each was able to make a start. But none of these players made enough of an impact to be declared the starter for 2014.
Last season, Justin Worley began the season as the starting quarterback. However, his play lacked quite a bit. Worley did pass for 1,239 yards, with 10 touchdowns, but he also threw eight interceptions in just eight games.
Josh Dobbs saw action in five games, and started four of them. However, Dobbs showed how tough it is for a true freshman in the Southeastern Conference. In his five games, Dobbs passed for 695 yards, with two touchdowns and six interceptions. He was able to rush for 189 yards and a score, bringing another dimension to the offense.
Nathan Peterman played in four games last season, earning one start. However, he threw only 23 passes in those four games, completing just 10 for 45 yards. He also had two interceptions.
If one of those three players cannot grab the reigns of the starting quarterback position, perhaps redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson can be the man. The one thing working against Ferguson is that he has no college game experience. However, he came to Knoxville with outstanding credentials, which will allow him to compete for the job right away.
Jones and his staff hope that one player will claim the starting job in the spring, but with the competition as wide open as it is, that doesn’t seem likely at this point.
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.