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Jones: Dobbs Will Play If Worley Can't Go

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones indicated, during his weekly appearance on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, that Josh Dobbs will play against Alabama if Worley is unable to go.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones, during his weekly appearance on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, indicated that Josh Dobbs will play against Alabama if Worley is unable to go.

On The Status of Justin Worley:

"We will know a little bit more tonight and into tomorrow. He has taken some shots. I believe it is a cumulative effect, not just from the Ole Miss (game), but a very, very long season. So, he's meeting with our doctors again to see exactly where he's at and how we move forward."

On Nathan Peterman and Joshua Dobbs:

"The great thing about how we practice is that we try to get both Josh and Nate, over the course of the season, very, very premium reps, very important reps throughout practice. You know it's a long season. Again, as we have become accustom to, you need more than one quarterback, especially in this conference. They have taken some valuable repetitions over time and if Justin isn't able to go, they will be ready to step up and we would play both quarterbacks, if Justin doesn't go on Saturday."

I have no problem with Coach Jones playing Josh Dobbs going forward, and in fact, I think it's the most prudent course of action.  Playing him now, though, raises serious questions in my mind about the wisdom of not playing him over Nathan Peterman in the Georgia game.

1.  If Nathan Peterman is a better option than Josh Dobbs, then why would you consider playing Dobbs now?

The bottom line here is that you wouldn't.  If Josh Dobbs' redshirt is worth something -- and I think it's arguable how much it's worth, but it's certainly worth something -- then you only burn it if Josh Dobbs is a better option at quarterback than Nathan Peterman.  And if Josh Dobbs is a better option than Nathan Peterman now, then Josh Dobbs has been the better option for the entire season.

2.  If Dobbs is a better option than Peterman, then why haven't we already seen him?

This is the one that's bothering me.  Nathan Peterman went into the game against Georgia with 8:33 left in the 3rd quarter and with the Vols down 17-21.  This was a game that was very much still in hand -- very much a game that we still should have been trying our best to win.  Don't you have to play the best available QB option in that situation?  Don't you need to do all you can to put your team in a position to win that game?  Isn't the increased likelihood of getting that signature win in Year 2 -- and making a bowl berth a near certainty -- more important than having an additional QB on the roster in 2017?

3.  But hold on, KidB: Isn't there a difference between burning a redshirt to play a game vs. burning a redshirt to play at most a quarter and a half (and a little change)?

Given the circumstances that I've laid out, I don't believe there is.  When Justin Worley went out against Georgia, neither Butch Jones nor anybody else knew for certain that he would be able to come back and finish the game.  Tennessee was trailing 17-21 and there were over 10 minutes left to play in the 3rd quarter when Matt Darr punted following the play where Worley hurt his arm.  The calculus at that point is simple.  If Dobbs gives you a better chance of winning the game -- and the evidence seems to unveil the reasonability of such a conclusion -- then you're asking what's more important: (a) winning this game or (b) saving Josh Dobbs' redshirt?

Fast forward to right now.  In making the decision to play Dobbs if Worley can't go, what question is Butch Jones answering other than, "what's more important: (a) winning this game (or at least having a better chance at winning this game) or (b) saving Josh Dobbs' redshirt?

Why would you answer this question with 'b' on the road against Georgia with over 25 minutes left in a 4-point game, and then with 'a' now? If I were a Knoxville journalist, this would be a question I'd ask our head coach.  And if you're a Knoxville journalist and you're reading this, feel free to steal the idea.

In the meantime, I'm at least pleased that Coach Jones is considering playing him.  If he does end up playing, it's in my estimation better late than never.

4. Coach Jones said that he would play both Peterman and Dobbs if Worley can't play. Does it make sense to burn Dobbs' redshirt if he's only going to be splitting snaps with Peterman?

Well, it doesn't make sense to me. But I also wonder whether this would actually happen. It could simply be coachspeak used for the purpose of helping ensure both guys are prepared for the possibility of going in. Or it could be that he hasn't made up his mind yet as to what he'll do if in fact Worley can't play. We'll have to wait and see.

5. What happens if Dobbs gets the nod and ends up playing great?

That'd be a good problem to have.