We may not know who will be UT's quarterback in Saturday's game at Missouri until the end of the week.
Coach Butch Jones addressed the media Monday at his weekly press conference, talking about the horrible loss to Alabama, the tough challenge coming up against Mizzou, and the Vols' renewed starting quarterback battle.
Freshman Joshua Dobbs played in the second half of the 45-10 Alabama loss on Saturday after Justin Worley re-aggravated an injury to his thumb.
Jones said on Monday that Worley was day-to-day right now, but they should know more about his status on Tuesday. He said Dobbs got some valuable reps in a hostile environment on Saturday, and deserves some consideration.
Jones praised Dobbs' performance. He said for a young man, a true freshman, in that environment, he was poised, calm, and disciplined. "He had a command about himself" and "performed well under the circumstances."
He said Dobbs' provides some ability to run that Worley does not, and Jones' believes he has a photographic memory, so he doesn't feel that they would have to scale back the playbook if he was the signal caller on Saturday.
Quarterback Nate Peterman may also be back this week, after being out four weeks after having surgery on his hand. He started the Florida game.
Jones said he will start the quarterback that he feels will give them the best chance to win against Missouri.
He praised Mizzou, which is coming off a tough loss to South Carolina this weekend. He said they've got a great defense, they're physical, tough, active, and have great team speed. They have confidence on offense, and have a lot to play for. The Tigers are currently in the lead in the SEC East.
But Jones said to look at Tennessee's schedule. They've faced the same thing pretty much every week, and the challenge is to take the tough lessons learned against Alabama, and move forward.
He said the team spent some talking about their performance after the Alabama game. They were very disappointed in their performance. He said everyone was accountable for their performance, coaches and players alike. He said he felt they were playing with anxiety, and definitely didn't play their best. They were all back watching film of the game on Sunday.
He praised Alabama, saying they are well-deserving of their #1 ranking, and a great representative of the SEC.
He said "you don't just show up against a quality team in a great venue and just play." The Vols just weren't prepared to play on the road in that environment. He blamed some of that on the youth of the team, and the lack of "championship habits."
The team learned some powerful lessons, both positive and negative, and they need to learn from it and move forward.
Despite what happened against Alabama, he is as "encouraged as I've ever been, but disappointed." He expects to win, and he's impatient. But he's "not going to take short cuts." When it comes to rebuilding Tennessee, he said "we will do it right."