Is Justin Worley the answer at quarterback for Tennessee?
The Tennessee Volunteers enter their second straight season with Justin Worley assuming the role of starting quarterback. Last season, Worley started in seven games and recorded 1,239 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 109-of-196 passing.
But Worley struggled through injuries, missing the final four games after undergoing thumb surgery. The jury is still out on the senior quarterback as he enters his final season in Knoxville. Enrolling as the 2010 Gatorade National Player of the Year, it was assumed that Worley would strive in the Vols then-pass heavy offense. While he saw limited time as a freshman and sophomore, 2013 brought fans the first true glimpse of Worley in a completely different offensive scheme. Not particularly a mobile quarterback, Worley had to adjust to Butch Jones’ read-option offense. At times, the former Northwestern High School (Rock Hill, S.C.) standout showed glimpses of a prolific passer. Other times, the pro-style quarterback looked lost in an unfamiliar scheme.
In 2014, Worley still provides the best option for Tennessee, despite coming off a mediocre at best season. His stats are deceiving as Worley seemed to get more accustomed to the read-option offense as the season continued. With another year of experience, Worley will likely see improvement as Tennessee’s signal caller. Though it is too soon to write of Josh Dobbs as a future potential starter, Worley is definitely the better option for the time being. Dobbs may posses better speed and agility, but Worley has the advantage in experience and arm strength. He will also benefit from several additions at wide receiver. Alongside 2013 freshman All-SEC wideout Marquez North and veteran Alton “Pig” Howard are JUCO All-American Von Pearson and five-star freshman Josh Malone. With a talented wide receiving corps, Worley will be allowed to showcase his arm throwing to reliable targets. However, Worley must avoid injuries, which could be a problem with a completely new starting offensive line. If he can stay healthy, Worley provides the best option for Tennessee heading into the 2014 season.