Vols' Jones Plans To Start Worley Against Gamecocks If Healthy
It's "Business As Usual" For Dobbs After Igniting Offense Vs. Tide
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
- by Special to Chattanoogan.com
- photo by Tennessee Athletics
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones updated the media on the Vols' quarterback situation following Tuesday's practice.
com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/justin_worley_740976.html">Justin Worley was sidelined for Saturday's game vs. Alabama, Nathan Peterman started and was relieved by Joshua Dobbs, who played the final three quarters of the game. This week Jones is listed all three as "or" starters with an open competition among the three.
Jones said the injured Worley (shoulder) is still under evaluation.
"He is still a work in progress," said Jones. "He threw the ball a little bit today but not the velocity he is going to need yet. But he took all the mental reps, didn't miss any reps in terms of overall but it is just the velocity right now. We still have until the end of the week but if we were to play the game right now he wouldn't be able to play.
"We'll reassess everything and see where he's at. You know, what's the status of his shoulder? So, we'll put a lot of that in the bye week. But with him, it's day by day."
Jones added that if Worley, who started the first seven games of the season is healthy, he would draw the nod in the return to his home state.
"It's how his body handles the rehabilitation and does his body continue to improve, which it has shown a little bit slowly or does it not," said Jones. "Then you're talking about surgery and other things like that. We're trying to get him ready for this game. There is a chance that he could be but you never know. It's still early on in the week, so we'll see. But if he's ready to play, he's going to play. We'll see how that goes."
In terms of Dobbs, Jones said he is preparing the same way he has all season.
"Business as usual," said Jones. "That is Josh. Very humble, very workmanlike approach, so about the same."
Dobbs gained a lot of attention and respect for his play last Saturday in tallying 267 total yards of offense.
"He does have some swagger," said Jones. "He does have his own confidence in the way he presents himself. So for me to stand here and tell you he doesn't, I mean, he is Josh Dobbs, our players respect him for that because he has confidence and he displays it. He just displays it in other ways as well."
O-LINE BUILDING CONFIDENCE
Coming off of one of their best performances of the season, Tennessee's offensive line says they are feeling confident and encouraged after seeing their hard work translate onto the field.
"It gives us a lot of confidence," said junior center Mack Crowder, "but we just have to keep in mind our mindset that we went into that game with and bring that same mindset, same mentality into every game from now on."
"Moving the ball against the defenses we've played in the past, obviously that gives us a lot of confidence just going forward because that's great competition, and we play great competition across the SEC," said senior tackle Jacob Gilliam, who was back in the lineup playing with a torn ACL suffered eight week ago. "But being able to move the ball against that front that was, coming into the game, pretty highly touted, it's a confidence boost for us O-Line guys."
The two veteran linemen say the unit's improved play is the result of hard work being put in each and every week of practice this season, and while their hard work is finally paying off, there is still much to improve on.
"I feel like everything just came together for us as an offense," said Gilliam, who played 83 snaps, in his first full game of the season. "This game was just a culmination of all our, the offensive line's hard work, and it just finally showed."
"You know, after looking at the film, we saw that we definitely improved a lot more. I have to credit that to last week's practice," Crowder said.
"We've been getting better every week and we've just got to continue to grow, because there's a lot of … there's still things on film that we can do better. And nobody's perfect, so we're just going to go back and continue to work on it and continue to get better."
Linebacker Curt Maggitt and defensive back Brian Randolph realize the importance of every game. Both outspoken upperclassmen and leaders of Team 118, the pair continue to strive toward a guiding their Volunteers to a long-awaited bowl game, a milestone their program has not witnessed since the 2010 Music City Bowl.
"It'd mean everything to us," Randolph said. "That was our primary goal coming into the year was to get a bowl game and win a bowl game. Getting there has been the foundation of our program to get us back to where we need to be."
When asked about the mindset of the Tennessee's team this year, Maggitt describes his teammates as playoff-minded. And while it can be difficult not to look too far ahead over the course of a season, the redshirt junior keeps to his team's mantra of taking everything one game at a time.
"That'd be great for the program but we're not going to focus on the `down the road'," Maggitt said. "The focus is just this one, doing whatever it takes to get the job done. The focus is just on this week. We have a good vibe."
Admittedly, a lot rides on just this one game. Looking for their first road win of the season, the two added that a victory in Columbia would not only further motivate their defense but provide the entire team with an extra edge for the remainder of the season.
"We have a bye week next week so this game is just, empty the bucket," Maggitt said. "Put everything into this game."
"A lot of us have pride and a lot of us aren't used to losing," Randolph said. "Coming here, we just want to get things turned around and be the Tennessee [team] that we know we can be. It gives us a lot of motivation. We still have a lot to play for."
When it comes to winning a coin toss, the Vols aren't so lucky. In 13 out of the last 14 coin tosses, Tennessee has lost. The one they won? That was Curt Maggitt's call against Ole Miss.
"I won that one," Maggitt said with a smile. "I always call heads. I've been told to always call heads when I was young. My rec league coach always said to call heads. When I hear people call heads, I'm like `yeah.'"
Against Alabama, Maggitt passed the torch to let a fellow captain make the call but without the winning result. Who's to blame?
"They switched it to me. I called it and then this week I let A.J. [Johnson] get it."
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)