published Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Wiedmer: Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley likely better choice after all

Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley prepares to pass in this file photo.
Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley prepares to pass in this file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Not all ideas work as well in real life as they look on paper. If they did, we might all be driving around in DeLoreans and sipping New Coke while we discussed our favorite episodes of "Joanie Loves Chachi."

So perhaps you can't half-blame first-year Tennessee football coach Butch Jones for starting Nathan Peterman at quarterback against his home state Florida Gators at the Swamp on Saturday. After the Volunteers were crushed 59-14 a week earlier at No. 2 Oregon with the reliable yet unspectacular Justin Worley at quarterback, it was somewhat understandable for Jones to want, in his words, someone to "generate big explosive plays."

But as sometimes happens in life, big and explosive occasionally blows up in your face. Steady might have been the way to win this one. It almost certainly wouldn't have resulted in a big, explosive 31-17 loss, UT's ninth straight to Florida, the last six all coming by 10 or more points.

"Everyone wants to point to the quarterback," a defensive Jones said after Peterman's first half sounded as if Charlie Brown had been inside UT jersey No. 12 -- two interceptions, 5 passing yards, minus-3 running yards, one fumble and one assist on a fumble thanks to a shaky handoff.

"[But Nate] had a great week of preparation. I was trying to let him get into rhythm. It is what it is. You're trying to give yourself the best chance to win."

But UT didn't win its first two games in spite of Worley. Nor did it lose at Oregon because of Worley. The junior from Rock Hill, S.C., didn't miss a single tackle against the Ducks. He entered the Swamp having completed 35 of 57 passes for 372 yards and five touchdowns to just one interception.

No, the offense hadn't been great in early wins over Austin Peay and Western Kentucky and last week's disaster against the Ducks. But whether it had been awful enough to warrant starting a redshirt freshman for the first time in one of least hospitable environments in all of college football is another matter.

A single verbal replay from Tennessee offensive lineman Zach Fulton regarding Peterman's first half:

"We were trying to get him on the same page as us. On one play, [Peterman] wanted to flip the protection but the blitz was coming on the side we were on. We kept trying to tell him no. To be fair, it only happened a few times. But we definitely felt more prepared with Worley in there."

They certainly looked more prepared after halftime. Though Worley also threw two interceptions -- one came on the final play of the game -- he tossed the Vols' lone touchdown on a nice 18-yard pass to Pig Howard early in the final period. He had 149 passing yards in half a game.

Afterward, the veteran said all the right things about the man who could have replaced him, noting, "I know what he's going through," and, "I feel for him," and "We'll be here to encourage him."

But he also said of that horrid opening half that Peterman made so much worse than it could have been: "We came in at halftime and said we need to be ourselves, and that's what we did."

It could be argued that nothing Jones did or didn't do this warm, breezy afternoon might have produced a win. For the second time in two weeks, most of the playmakers seemed to be on the opposite sideline from the Vols, those foes blessed with far more speed, quickness and depth.

This is what happens when you're on your fourth head coach in six seasons. This is what happens when you play two straight ranked opponents on the road early in the year, both games far from home and the first on the opposite side of the country.

This is also what happens throughout college football today when you apparently don't have a quarterback capable of making big, explosive plays, or at least not making enough of them to satisfy his head coach.

Yet this was also a game in which Florida fumbled four times in the opening half, lost two, and surrendered an interception for a touchdown but still led 17-7 at the break largely because the Vols seemed to quickly hand back every scoring opportunity the Gators presented them.

With Worley at the helm, it's almost impossible to see UT not leading by at least 10-7 at the half instead of trailing by 10. The Vols might even have had 14 points. Or more. And at least a good portion of that blame is because of the Vols' performance at quarterback. Whether the blame for that effort should be heaped on Peterman or Jones, or jointly shared, should keep water coolers and message boards crowded throughout the Big Orange Nation for at least a week or two to come.

As linebacker A.J. Johnson filed out of the Swamp, he said, "We can't leave our season in Gainesville. We've got to keep fighting."

And no doubt they will. But from now on, Jones might want to leave his quarterback experiments for home games against someone such as this week's foe, South Alabama, when an unproven QB is far more likely to produce a great explosion than a ghastly implosion.

Contact Mark Wiedmer at mwiedmer@timesfreepress.com

about Mark Wiedmer...

Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...

23
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chet123 said...

TENNESSEE MUST HAVE THE WORST QUARTERBACKS IN ALL COLLEGE FOOTBALL

September 22, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
chet123 said...

ITS IS SHAME....FLORIDA BEAT TENNESSEE USING A TWO STAR QUARTERBACK.......REMEMBER KENTUCKY BEAT TENNESSEE USING A RECEIVER AS A QUARTERBACK.....

THIS PROGRAM HAVE GONE TO THE DOGS!!!!!

THANKS TO MIKE HAMILTON AND PHIL FULMER!!!!!!!

September 22, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.
jomo11 said...

UT fans like to blame everything on Fulmer, Hamiliton, Dooley, Kiffin. . . . . Blah,blah. . . . It's Tennessee, except for a few years with Fulmer it's ALWAYS been just average at best

September 22, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.
jomo11 said...

And I really think that Peterman would be better the rest of the season than Worley. Peterson is a faster runner than Worley and that will come in handy when chasing opposing Defensive Backs after interceptions !

September 22, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
chet123 said...

HELLO JOMO...I'VE TALK WITH YOU BEFORE.....YOU FOLKS LIKE YOU ARE THE MAIN REASON TENNESSE CANT GET BACK ON TRACK

September 22, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.
chet123 said...

I WANDER WHY????

COULD IT BE THAT YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT...mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?????

September 22, 2013 at 4:26 p.m.
chet123 said...

BINGO!

September 22, 2013 at 4:26 p.m.
chet123 said...

THIS DOWN SPARROW OF TENNESSEE FOOTBALL STARTED UNDER YOUR HERO FULMER

September 22, 2013 at 4:27 p.m.
chet123 said...

I DONT FAULT LANE KIFFIN NOR DOOLEY......IT WAS FAT PHIL AND HIS CROOKED DURING

September 22, 2013 at 4:28 p.m.
chet123 said...

MIKE HAMILTON DIDNT MAKE IT ANY BETTER......HAMILTON WAS NOT QUALIFIED.....BUT WHEN YOU HAVE A GOOD OLE BOY SYSTEM....QUALIFICATION ONLY APPLIES TO PEOPLE OF COLOR OR ANYONE NORTH OF DIXIE HA HA HA!!!!!

September 22, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.
chet123 said...

FULMER WAS A JOKE....

HE COST PEYTON THE HEIMAN TROPHY....

AND COST TENNESSE 3 NATIONAL TITLE WITH PEYTON AT THE HELM

FAT PHIL HAD THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK IN COLLEGE AND LET FLORIDA BEAT US ALL 4 YEARS OF THE GREAT PEYTON MANNING TENNESSEE COLLEGE CAREER

September 22, 2013 at 4:33 p.m.
chet123 said...

WHAT HAPPEN TO FAT PHIL WAS HIS LYING AND BACK STABBING FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH HIM....AT THE EXPENSE OF TENNESSEE FOOTBALL

September 22, 2013 at 4:43 p.m.
chet123 said...

HEY JOMO....SINCE YOU KNOW IT ALL......HAVE YOU EVER WANDER WHY CHAVIS AND CUTCLIFF GOT COACHING POSITION AFTER TENNESSEE ????

BUT NOONE CALL ON FAT PHIL????

September 22, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.
chet123 said...

ANSWER...

THEY DIDNT WANT HIM!!!

September 22, 2013 at 4:47 p.m.
chet123 said...

I HAVE FAITH IN BUTCH JONES....HE WILL CHANGE THE CULTURE IN KNOXVILLE....THATS IF THE GOOD OLE BOYS WILL LEAVE HIM ALONE

September 22, 2013 at 5:21 p.m.
jomo11 said...

Oh yeah this is all Fulmer's fault. . . . .so Butch Jones is the only coach in the SEC that is going to make his team better ? I guess Florida, Georgia, Alabama, LSU all just NOT going to improve ? ? ? Tennessee will never be a consistent big time winner. The state of Tennesee doesn't produce as many good players as other states in the SEC. Every school now has stadiums as big as Tenn and facilities just as good if not better. The advantages that Tenn once had over other SEC schools is now gone

September 22, 2013 at 8:53 p.m.
PlainTruth said...

Good ol' Chet. Now an expert on football. HAHAHAHA

September 23, 2013 at 8:57 a.m.
TeeBall said...

What's a "DOWN SPARROW"? Stay in school folks, it really does make a difference.

September 23, 2013 at 9:38 a.m.
PlainTruth said...

Chet stayed in school. Spent 4 yrs in the 3rd grade.

September 23, 2013 at 10:27 a.m.
chet123 said...

JOMO11...YOU MADE MY AGUMENT FOR ME.HA HA HA HA HA...TENNESSEE DO HAVE HORRBLE SCHOOL.....COULD IT BE BECAUSE FOLK LIKE WANDER THURMAN ON OUR SCHOOL BOARD AND SODDY DAISY RICK SMITH IS THE SUPERINTENDENT OF HAMITON COUNTY SCHOOLS WITH ONLY A MASTER DEGREE(UNDER QUALIFIED--RED NECK AFFIRMTIVE ACTION)....

HOW CAN HE IMPROVE THE STANDARDS....WHEN HE COULDNT IMPROVE HIMSELF

October 20, 2013 at 6:44 p.m.
chet123 said...

HEY PLAIN TRUTH....PUT YOUR UGLY FACE ON YOUR AVATAR....I KNOW YOU WANT TO BE BLACK.....BUT I KNOW WHO YOU ARE....SO STOP BEING A PHONY

October 20, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.
chet123 said...

BUTCH JONES IS NORTH OF DIXIE....SO THEY MAY TRY TO FIRE HIM....HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

October 20, 2013 at 6:47 p.m.
chet123 said...

I GOT AN IDEA....RECRUITS CHILDREN FROM RIGHT-WING NUTS FAMILY ...HA HA HA HA

October 20, 2013 at 6:48 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.