March 16, 2013
Strong close boosts Vols' QBs
For much of the day, the Vol passing game was struggling.
Throwing into a wind, throws were off-line. In fact at one point out of 25 throws only seven were completed. As an observer it was a painful reminder of what was lost, particularly with Justin Hunter, Mychal Rivera and Tyler Bray standing on the sidelines watching.
But the offense changed directions and one-on-one drills became 11-on-11 work with the wind behind them. Then, junior quarterback Justin Worley got going.
Facing a 3rd-and-long on his first series in the final scrimmage period of the day, Worley hit sophomore Cody Blanc for a first down en route to a touchdown that capped the possession. Something Worley would lead the offense to in the next four series as well.
"Making plays like that always gives you confidence and gets you going," Worley said. "It's key to keep drives going.
"You always hear about quarterbacks getting in a rhythm and getting into a flow of the game and that's what I think happened. We started getting our up tempo pace. We just got things rolling there for a little while."
Blanc had his best offensive day with a couple of key third down catches and a big block on a Pig Howard catch-and-run. Plays that certainly gave the offense, in particular Worley, some confidence.
"That helps. Like I said we started off a little slow. We were low energy. Just being able to have a little success especially in the team period where we are going live full speed, it's good," Worley explained. "Hopefully it will continue to develop and it will help our defense as well."
Head coach Butch Jones liked what he saw from his junior signal caller, but still wants to see more, specifically from a command standpoint.
"I thought he started to get into a rhythm. I thought (Cody Blanc) made some big catches at the end of the scrimmage. I like what I saw in terms of Justin," Jones said. "He continues to manage the game. The big thing though is just the overall leadership. If we are in the wrong formation that command presence that we talk about. But I can see him getting better with each practice."
Worley was by no means satisfied with his day and noted that he has to bring his best not just on scrimmage days or in scrimmage settings.
"You have to be on your 'A' game day in and day out," Worley said. "Especially with Nathan (Peterman). We are both giving it all we have to win the spot. We have to come out and show it.
"Right now, I think they are trying to give us equal reps whether it's one on one or team periods. They are trying to balance it out just to see what we can do."
Peterman actually ran first team reps earlier in the situational scrimmage work and then Worley got first team work at the end of the scrimmage. Peterman said he thought he did had an OK day but was disappointed with a batted ball that was intercepted by Geraldo Orta on his last scrimmage work.
"I was pretty frustrated because I was actually seeing it as too 'muddy' and I was actually throwing it out of the back of the end zone," Peterman said. "But it got tipped and as a quarterback you hate it when that happens because you feel like it's kind of out of your control. But I can always find a better arm angle to throw it out of the end zone next time."
With the first week of spring practice including the first scrimmage work in the books, the quarterback battle continues. Both will continue to split reps with the first team as both continue to improve in their new fast paced system.
"Getting reps within the system helps with the understanding of the offense. I felt like me and Nathan and all the quarterbacks we have all gotten better as we have gotten more reps," Worley said.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial