On a Friday night in the summer, most college guys are out on the town.


Not all.

"They were on the whiteboard, probably for about an hour. Rather than do anything else, they were talking about X's and O's, fronts and coverages," said Quincy Avery.

Josh Dobbs and Deshaun Watson are not ordinary college guys.

Watson, Clemson's All-American quarterback, was a Heisman favorite heading into the 2016 season.

Dobbs just accounted for five touchdowns to help Tennessee snap an 11-game losing streak to one of its two biggest rivals.

"The national championship game (between Clemson and Alabama) happened to be playing on replay and it was funny seeing those guys talk about Alabama's defense, some of the things that they did well and some of the things where they thought they could find weaknesses if they play them again," Avery said.

Quincy Avery is an Atlanta-based quarterback coach.

Dobbs and Watson are among his talented clients.

They spent a night this summer analyzing the Crimson Tide defense on the full-wall whiteboard in Avery's Atlanta apartment.

The Atlanta-area natives gave Alabama more trouble than just about anybody in 2015. Both led the Tide in the fourth quarter before losing by five points. Dobbs and the Vols in Tuscaloosa, Watson and the Tigers in the national title game.

Dobbs will get another shot at Alabama in Knoxville in October.


The relationship between Dobbs and Avery goes deeper than QB and coach.

"He's one of my best friends at this point. We talk (almost everyday), it's almost like a brother relationship," Avery said.

This summer, I asked Dobbs who was the most influential coach in his life. He said he's had many and was thankful for each one, but only mentioned Avery by name.

"I think just the way he pushes me on the field to be a better quarterback obviously and then to be a better person off the field. We're always having conversations of different things to do in order to be great in all aspects of life. He really helps me out and he's kind of like an older brother figure in my life and I'm really thankful for that," Dobbs said of Avery.

Avery first worked with Dobbs in the summer after his sophomore year of high school. He knew right away he had something special. He texted his Dad, a former NFL coach, and told him Dobbs was at least a BCS (Power 5 conference) quarterback.

"Probably like 30 minutes into the workout, he's like, 'yea I can make this throw,'" Avery recalled. "He wanted to throw an out to the opposite sideline from one hash to the other at 15 yards. I'm like, 'there's not a lot of guys doing this, even in college.' But, he did it. I was aware he had the tools to be successful from that point."

The arm stood out from day one, but it's other things that have gotten Dobbs to be one of the top QBs in the SEC.

"Work ethic and confidence are the things I think separate him so much from so many other people," Avery said of Dobbs. "He won't stop until he does something exactly how he wants it done. I think you see that not only in football, but it carries over in all aspects of life with him."

That work ethic showed this summer.

When people were questioning his accuracy and Tennessee's ability to throw the ball down field this offseason, Dobbs went to work. He blocked out the noise. It's not something he pays attention to anyway, but he had goals he wanted to accomplish.

"He said, 'I want to be accurate, what happens from that point on, I can't control it but I'm going to put the ball in the right spot and lead my team to victories however it needs to be done,'" Avery recalled.

The two worked this summer on footwork. Something Dobbs felt he needed to improve on from the 2015 season.

"At the top of his drops sometimes his feet would just get too narrow, so the stride frequency got a little bit longer than what he wanted and that creates some inconsistencies within your throwing motion from time-to-time," Avery said.

Dobbs and Avery fixed the issue and it's showed on the field this season.

"I've seen a dramatic difference and I think you can see that in some of his passing," Avery said. "He's been pretty accurate this year, I'm not sure if his completion percentage reflects how accurate he's been. He's dealt with some drops and some throwaways but if you look at the balls where he intended for it to go somewhere, for a large part it went exactly where he wanted it to go."

Avery was proud of the way Dobbs stood in the pocket against pressure and delivered accurate throws while taking hits in the Vols' win over Florida.

Next up, Dobbs gets his first chance to play in his home state of Georgia at Sanford Stadium at 3:30 on Saturday.

Avery will be there watching.