Vols Press Conference Notes: Worley is (Officially) Starting

USA TODAY Sports

Your press conference Cliff's Notes

We've liveblogged the Monday press conference. If you want all the coach speak and all the everything, feel free to peruse the comments of our live thread.

If you just want the highlights, we'll have a reaction thread each week that recaps what you need to know.

What you need to know this week is that Justin Worley is the starting quarterback, with Nathan Peterman backing him up and no clearly defined #3. The competition, however, like the competition at every position, will be ongoing. Worley won on consistency and ability to protect the ball, but it was very close. The freshmen were impressive but started out behind mentally and physically, and they had a tougher adjustment to the first week of classes than did Worley or Peterman.

Other things you might like to know about the quarterbacks include that Jones doesn't like to have a quick hook after a mistake. He says that players need to learn how to compete without looking over their shoulder, but they also can't be worried about coming out of the game with every mistake. He also would like to redshirt Dobbs or Ferguson, but he'll play the best player every week, and if he's in a situation that prevents redshirting either one, that's the way it will have to be.

None of this should come as a big surprise, and the biggest question in a number of fans' minds is bound to be "how long until a freshman takes the job?" And we won't know the answer to that until it happens, but I can't imagine a baptism by fire in Eugene and Gainesville would do wonders for the confidence, so I'd guess the first possibility is September 28th against South Alabama. But recall that Tyler Bray had an entire spring to learn what was going on and still didn't take over until November. We'll keep you posted.

DE Corey Vereen, DE Jacques Smith, and DB Riyahd Jones are out this week. Smith should return for Western Kentucky. LB Curt Maggitt will practice this week and be a Friday decision. He was listed in the game week depth chart as a backup to Dontavis Sapp.

Coach Jones noted that every backup in the secondary is either a freshman or a walk-on, but that the walk-ons have stepped up, and he will reward them with scholarships if they continue to earn them this season. I will take this moment to point out that Dooley signed 13 DBs in three years as head coach and just four of them are in the two-deep this year, along with four walk-ons and two 2013 recruits. To be fair, I will also note, contrary to fears, the backup offensive linemen mostly consist in names I recognize, and Marcus Jackson, Mack Crowder, Dylan Wiesman, and Kyler Kerbyson will have a huge opportunity next year, as all are backups to seniors. Antonio Richardson is backed up by a walk-on.

As we know, there's also a youth movement at wide receiver, where the four starters (two full-time and two co-starters) include three freshmen--Marquez North, Jason Croom, and Josh Smith--and sophomore Pig Howard.

Jones expects to play primarily two running backs, but Tom Smith will also get some carries. Alden Hill will start on special teams. He would also like to play multiple tight ends, but that will require the young guys to step up quickly, as Brendan Downs is the only one to emerge at the position so far.

He also said lots of things about preparation and how we'll know more after Saturday. I'm sure we will, and we'll let you know when we know.

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