October 29, 2013
Jones says Worley out, Dobbs starter
Tennessee worked for the second-straight day in its Missouri preparations without junior quarterback Justin Worley, and head coach Butch Jones confirmed following Tuesday's work that Worley will be out multiple weeks.
"Justin Worley did have surgery on his thumb,' Jones said. "He'll be out an indefinite amount of time. It could be two weeks, could be three weeks, could be four weeks.
"Moving forward, Joshua Dobbs will be our starting quarterback for Missouri."
Jones also announced informed by NCAA have made APR score and have "no APR issues" moving forward.
With surgery performed Monday night in Knoxville and Worley projected to be in a cast/protective wrap for the next three to four weeks, the Vols expect to start true freshman Joshua Dobbs Saturday at 10th-ranked Missouri. Fellow freshman Riley Ferguson has gotten the overwhelming majority of second-team work, though Nathan Peterman, who like Worley has undergone thumb surgery this season, returned to the practice field on Tuesday.
Dobbs will become the Vols' third quarterback to start a game this season, with Worley having started seven of the previous eight. Peterman got the opening nod for the Vols on Sept. 21 at Florida and was injured in the second quarter of that game.
A freshman from Alpharetta, Ga., Dobbs got his first collegiate action Saturday in the Vols' 45-10 loss at Alabama and drew praise from both coaches and teammates for his work. Dobbs finished 5-for-12 passing for 75 yards and also ran three times for 19 yards.
"It's definitely a tough place to start off with, but I think Dobbs did a great job handling the environment and moving the ball downfield," senior defensive end Corey Miller said after Dobbs' performance. "He didn't seem nervous at all to me."
Missouri, however, presents an entirely different challenge than what Alabama's defense showed with the outcome of last week's game a formality when Dobbs took over the Vols' offense. The Tigers' defense, with 21, is the only unit in the Southeastern Conference that has forced more turnovers than Tennessee. Additionally, the Tigers lead the SEC with 25 sacks and senior end Michael Sam leads the league in both tackles for losses (16.5) and sacks (10).
Ferguson had been hobbled of late with a lower, right-leg injury and had been wearing a protective black wrap around the leg. On Tuesday Ferguson appeared to be moving some better, and the black wrap had been replaced with heavy white tape.
Missouri also has been battling injury at the quarterback position. Senior James Franklin suffered a separated shoulder in the Tigers' win at Georgia and has been relieved by redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, an Kenton, Ohio, native whom Jones had recruited while at Cincinnati. Media reports out of Missouri this week indicated that Franklin had been upgraded to questionable but that Mauk was the expected starter.
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