After dragging the battle out for most of camp, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones announced that senior Justin Worley will start at quarterback when the season opens up against Utah State at home. Worley edged out sophomores Nate Peterman and Josh Dobbs for the job.
Worley has the most experience of the three candidates. He has played in 17 games during his time with the program and started seven games last year before going down with a broken thumb against Alabama. Worley was inconsistent for the Vols in 2013, throwing for 1,239 yards, 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing just 56.2 percent of his passes.
The Vols went 4-3 in the games Worley started.
“He’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback at the University of Tennessee,” Jones said, per the Knoxville News Sentinel. “As we know, being the quarterback at Tennessee is a global position. It comes with a lot of standards and expectations for who your quarterback is. Justin’s earned the right. It started in spring football. He’s earned his way all through the course of training camp. This hasn’t been one or two practices.”
Jones said Wednesday night’s scrimmage was when Worley really separated himself from the rest of the quarterbacks.
“I see (Worley’s) confidence growing and growing and growing,” Jones said, per VolQuest.com. “Just the overall consistency. Consistency is what separates average players from good players to great players.”
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Worley saw limited action in five games in 2012, throwing for 134 yards and two interceptions. He started three games as a true freshman, completing 48-of-87 passes for 604 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
The Vols are coming off a 5-7 season.
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