The Tennessee Volunteers are hoping for big things in season two of the Butch Jones Era. But on Thursday, news came that Jones had named his starting quarterback for the season, and it wasn’t good news for Vol Nation.
Jones tabbed senior Justin Worley as the starter for the 2014 season opener against Utah State. Worley beat out Josh Dobbs and Nathan Peterman to become the starter, as he was last season.
The problem for Tennessee is that when Worley played last season, he didn’t play very well. He led the team with 1,239 passing yards and 10 touchdowns, but he also threw eight interceptions.
One of the highlights of last season for Tennessee was an upset of the South Carolina Gamecocks. In that game, Worley did lead the game-winning drive, which resulted in a Michael Palardy field goal as time expired.
However, the following week, Worley injured his thumb against the Alabama Crimson Tide, and was finished for the season.
The thought around the program was that the experience gained by Dobbs and Peterman last season would propel one of them into the starting role this season. However, that obviously didn’t happen.
Making the decision to start Worley gives Tennessee experience behind center to begin the season. But it doesn’t put the most talented quarterback on the field. If Worley truly beat out Dobbs and Peterman on the field, then those players either aren’t as good as was originally thought, or their development has slowed. And either of those scenarios are not good for the future of those two players.
For now, it’s Worley’s team. Jones will take the option of experience over talent and hopes that it works for him and his team.
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.