Worley Named Starting Quarterback For Tennessee

Jones Says Dobbs, Peterman Battling For No. 2 Spot

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones answered the biggest question of Tennessee's training camp on Thursday afternoon as the Volunteers held media day at Neyland Stadium. More accurately, Justin Worley answered it for him.

Jones named Worley the Vols’ starting quarterback, making his decision official two days after saying the team needed to know who its quarterback would be.

"He's earned the right to be the starting quarterback at the University of Tennessee," Jones said.

"It started in spring football and continued through training camp. This hasn't been putting together one or two practices, (but) it's been an accumulation of reps since the spring. Justin is playing the best football he's played in a long time."

Worley has appeared in 17 games in his Tennessee career, with 10 starts. He started seven games in 2013 after winning the job the job in preseason camp, but was lost for the season after a thumb injury suffered against Alabama.

The senior from Rock Hill, S.C. was playing perhaps the best football of his career at the time of the injury, having just led the Volunteers to an upset win over his home-state Gamecocks. That performance followed a near upset of of No. 6-ranked Georgia two weeks prior. Over the two games, Worley threw for 394 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

Worley handled news of his starting assignment just as Jones expected he would.

"Justin Worley-like fashion," Jones said. "Not much of a smile, just 'All right coach, let's go. We've got work to do.' He was very business-like. Justin expected to be the starter and worked exceptionally hard and that's what I would expect from him"

Jones met with all three quarterbacks that fought for the job, but didn't have to remind Joshua Dobbs and Nathan Peterman that they needed to stay ready. All three quarterbacks started games in 2013 and all three have to prepare the same way every week.

"It's the theme in football, you're always one snap away," Jones said. "It's a challenge when you're the number two or number three because you have to prepare as if you're the starter, but your reps are cut. They're very prideful individuals, they're competitors and they understand."

WORLEY'S REACTION

Jones said Worley's reaction to the news was typical for a player known for his calm and, at times, unassuming demeanor.

"I just said 'Thank you for the opportunity,'" Worley said of his meeting with Jones. "He was very complimentary of my play as of late, showing that it was my job to be the leader of the offense, my job to lead the team."

As Jones mentioned in talking about meeting with the quarterbacks as a group, the competition is not over, it will be something that will continue to push all three players as the team moves from training camp to game preparation.

"He told me to put my head down and keep grinding," Worley said. "Don't lose sight of the competition aspect of it and to continue to be the leader I've been."

Worley said expecting to be the starter may be overstating his position, but he was hoping that his work would pay off with holding his position."

"All three of us started off shay early on, but we've really picked it up and I think I've really picked it up and stepped up my game," said Worley. "I think the guys look to me as a senior quarterback and the leader of the team."

SEC NETWORK LAUNCHES

As part of the launch of the SEC Network, ESPN's Ryan McGee was on hand at media day for player interviews that will air during the initial hours of the network.

"Today is a special day with the launch of the SEC Network," Jones said. "We're excited with the magnitude of what that's going to provide in terms of selling the Tennessee brand from coast to coast in over 90 million households."

The network's presence at media day fired up the players interviewed.

"It's nice having the SEC Network here on our media day on their first day," senior linebacker A.J. Johnson said. "It's going to be nationwide, so everyone is going to see Tennessee. If you don't know about Tennessee, you're going to know."

Johnson is excited about having Tennessee featured coast to coast with the local flavor of UT's on-campus studio and production team.

"It's great to know we have our people here to help tell our stories and make sure Tennessee is out there with all of things we do" he said. "We have a great network and a great system here."

BROTHERS BATTLE IT OUT

On the lighter side of media day, players went on set with VFL Films for "Me or You," a game where each player held up a sign indicating whether a statement applied more to him or the teammate sitting next to him.

Among the first players in the hot seats were twin brothers Elliott and Evan Berry. One question caused a little controversy between the two. Evan admitted his brother was the better cook, but took a little offense at the digs Elliott took

"He just can't cook," Elliott said.

"I can cook, man." Evan fired back

"What?"

"The basics"

A head shake from Elliott was the only response. 

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)

 


Central's Season Ends With Heartbreaking Loss, 3-2

MURFREESBORO – The Central Lady Purple Pounders lost a heartbreaker Friday morning at Starplex No. 2. Facing the Lexington Lady Tigers for the right to face Greeneville again, Central came up just a tad bit short, losing 3-2 on a two-run triple with one out in the seventh inning. The Lady Pounders were thisclose to winning in the loser’s bracket final, but it just wasn’t ... (click for more)

Former Lafayette High's Demarcus Simpson Wins NCAA Division II National Championship As A College Freshman

Chadron State College freshman Damarcus Simpson said he surprised even himself Thursday afternoon when he went 26-feet, 3 inches while winning the long jump at the NCAA Division II National Track and Field Championships in Allendale, Mich. Simpson set the pace early when he hit 25-11 on his second jump during the first flight. He posted his winning jump on his opening attempt ... (click for more)

EPB Seeks 3.5% Rate Increase; First Since 2011

EPB on Friday morning asked its board of directors to consider a 3.5 percent rate increase to monthly electric power charges for customers, effective July 1. The board is set to vote on the measure in June. For residential customers who use 1,000 kWh of electric power in a month, this adjustment will reflect an increase of about $3.50 on their monthly bills. The 3.5 percent ... (click for more)

Garcia Charged With Armed Robbery Of Red Bank Dollar Store

Red Bank Police have charged 25-year-old Derek Matthew Garcia with the armed robbery of the Dollar General Store at 4707 Dayton Blvd. Police Chief Tim Christol said the robbery occurred last Friday at approximately 12:30 p.m. when Garcia entered the store armed with a knife and demanded the clerk give him all the money from the cash register. He was arrested Thursday ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Chincoteague Mourns ‘Dude’

In the span of a person’s life, there are some things that simply can’t be explained to be totally understood. And of all the spectacles I have ever personally witnessed, one of the best is that day in late July when they “pen the ponies” at Chincoteague Island, Va. I’m serious. Over 50,000 people watch every year as volunteer “Saltwater Cowboys” swim the wild ponies to the mainland ... (click for more)