After passing latest test, Dobbs, Vols take aim at Georgia
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Florida monkey is finally off Tennessee’s back.
The Vols are 4-0 heading into their first road test at Georgia and a game that can propel Team 120 into the SEC East driver’s seat.
Why is Tennessee in its current position? Josh Dobbs is the leading factor in the equation along with Bob Shoop coordinating the defense. The two go hand-in-hand for a winning formula.
The senior quarterback receives occasional unfair criticism from some for his play within the passing game, much like a former Vols quarterback Casey Clausen. Some Tennessee fans are under-appreciative of what they have in front of them, and like Clausen it might take years after leaving Tennessee to look back and fully appreciate what Dobbs has meant to the offense.
All Clausen did was win and guide the offense efficiently, but he never received the praise he deserved. Until this season, Tennessee has not started a season 4-0 since Clausen’s senior season in 2003.
While under the same umbrella of Volunteer critiques, Dobbs, like Clausen, has proven once again he can be a difference-maker with the victory over Florida. He did it this time by setting a career-high in passing yards in a game with 319 yards and passing touchdowns (4) against the Gators.
The third-year starter will never escape some of the unfair criticism he receives for the way he looks in the passing game, but his results should be appreciated as the Volunteers continue to put together a special 2016 season.
The career-high in passing yards and passing touchdowns against Florida speaks volumes considering there were critical drops in the first half. Those drops kept Tennessee from scoring early and dictated the first half.
“We were shooting ourselves in the foot the whole first half and even on that first drive, whether it was bad ball location on my part or not making catches, just simple things,” Dobbs said of the Florida performance. “We came into the locker room saying don’t panic. It’s simple, we just have to execute, play our brand of football. Once we start executing, that’s when the success came.”
The brand of football has been seen over the past few seasons, when Dobbs can lead the offense with his arm and legs, Tennessee is close to unstoppable.
When Dobbs can create with his legs, it makes him a better passer with the defense playing on their heels. All of his tangibles lead to a confidence that allows him to put unparalleled statistics on the board. Dobbs has scored 61 touchdowns in only 28 games. Dobbs has also produced 4,997 passing yards, 1,570 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards.
“Honestly at the end of the first half when we were down, even though we got a field goal out of the drive, you could feel it coming,” Dobbs said confidently of the comeback. “We were driving, we were moving the ball, and we were in the red-zone countless times.
“Even back to the first quarter, we just didn’t finish, didn’t execute. You can feel it coming once you start getting points on the board. Then we have a big play and score a touchdown in the red-zone after that we start clicking.”
Dobbs was clicking at his highest level since the Outback Bowl — just in time, too, as the Vols continue their four-game journey that will help determine whether they make it back to Tampa in January.