Josh Dobbs isn’t walking through that door. That’s the reality that Tennessee is facing in 2017. Dobbs was the driving force behind the Tennessee offense in 2016, both through the air and on the ground. He made things pop with his legs, giving the defense a lot to worry about. Now, someone else is going to have to take that role.
The obvious choice is Quinten Dormady, who has been the man in waiting for two seasons now. He’s your prototypical 6-4, 216 pound pocket passer, which is a lot different from what Tennessee fans have grown accustomed to lately.
While Dormady wouldn’t offer the rushing ability, he may offer an upgrade as a passer. The rising junior was a perfect 10-10 in the spring game, tossing two touchdowns in the process. Spring games are quarterback friendly, but Dormady looked like he was in command of the offense and showed some outstanding placement and touch.
While I think everyone agrees Dormady is somewhat in the driver’s seat, I don’t think you can discount Jarrett Guarantano. The redshirt freshman has been dubbed as the next greatest quarterback in Tennessee history since his commitment. I think there was a section of the fanbase (myself included) that kind of assumed that the keys would be handed to him after the departure of Dobbs, until the spring game.
Guarantano is a little more of an athlete than Dormady is, but neither of the two compare to Dobbs, which means the offense is going to be very different in 2017. There’s going to be a lot less read option attempts and a lot more leaning on John Kelly.
Nothing is set in stone. The competition is open and both guys have arrived back on campus to get things rolling. All we really have to go on in the Orange and White game, where Dormady looked like he was more in control of the offense, but things can certainly change over the summer.
Behind those two Tennessee has Will McBride and Zac Jancek. McBride has gotten some praise in the spring as a true freshman, but I wouldn’t expect him to compete this season.
New offensive coordinator Larry Scott has some work to do as he tries to figure out how to replace all of this production and leadership. Obviously, quarterback is the most important position on the field. The uncertainty at this position is one of the few reasons why the national media and oddsmakers are down on the Vols. Butch Jones is certainly hoping that one emerges from the pack, as are all of us.