KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Rocky Top is reeling, but Butch Jones outright dismissed another brewing controversy surrounding Tennessee’s program.
After recapping the Volunteers third-straight loss and announcing the stunning news of Jalen Hurd’s transfer, Jones emphatically declared that senior quarterback Josh Dobbs is in no danger of losing his starting job following several subpar performances.
“Josh Dobbs is our quarterback,” Jones said Monday.
“Make no mistake about that. It’s a long football season with a lot left to be played for.”
Dobbs has started 26 straight games for the Volunteers, but the senior has struggled throwing the football consistently throughout his career — especially in recent weeks.
In Tennessee’s bewildering 24-21 upset loss at South Carolina, Dobbs completed just 12 of 26 passes for 161 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Dobbs had issues locating open receivers against USC’s zone defense, and the quarterback forced throws into windows that weren’t there.
A year after throwing just 5 interceptions, Dobbs leads the SEC with a career-high 11 picks. He’s completing just 57.1 percent of this throws this season, too — a career-worst.
“Moving forward, Josh will be our quarterback,” Jones said.
“Would we like to get other individuals repetitions? Absolutely.”
Backup quarterback Quinten Dormady has seen snaps in just two games this season, while Tennessee is redshirting ballyhooed freshman quarterback Jarret Guarantano.
In fairness, Dobbs has played behind a spotty offensive line all year. Tennessee’s turnstile at tailback hasn’t helped matters, either.
But in a season with sky-high expectations, the Volunteers haven’t had the steadiness at quarterback they expected.
“There’s nobody that can be harder on Josh Dobbs that Josh Dobbs,” offensive coordinator Mike DeBord said.
“He’s really hard (on himself). When you see him in the locker room after losses, you see what this game means to him. What Tennessee football means to him. What his team means to him. Nobody takes it harder than him.
“He’s continuing to work at that. He’s done great things for us. What he’s done for us this season, and prior seasons, has been unbelievable. I’m glad Josh Dobbs is our quarterback.”