Editor’s note: In advance of Tennessee’s Orange and White spring scrimmage, SEC Country is highlighting one storyline of note each day to help prepare fans for the culmination of spring practice. Friday’s entry focuses on Tennessee’s quarterbacks. Thursday’s edition focused on Tennessee’s legacy players. Wednesday’s edition focused on Tennessee’s perimeter players.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee enters the 2016 season with a bona fide starter at quarterback, right? That depends.
While Joshua Dobbs is a strong candidate for preseason All-SEC consideration, there has long been a strong sentiment that his lack of consistency has held the Vols back on offense. Sure, the rising senior is a fantastic runner and led the Vols to some impressive victories, but there have always been questions about his accuracy among Tennessee’s fanbase. If Dobbs struggles with his accuracy this season and the Vols lose to Florida, it’s a certainty that many fans will push for rising sophomore Quinten Dormady to assume the reigns.
With Dormady, the Vols would lose Dobbs’ running ability, but many wonder if a more accurate arm would more than make up for that. With Dormady, there is also an unknown. He’s never played meaningful snaps in a game. Think Nathan Peterman against Florida in 2013.
However, if things don’t go well early for Dobbs, Dormady will become the most popular person in Knoxville, as per the long tradition of backup quarterbacks. No, it’s not fair to Dobbs, nor is there any guarantee that Dormady would be better suited for the role, but with a fan base so hungry for success, Dormady’s name will come up often if the Vols aren’t in the driver’s seat of the SEC East.
The two quarterbacks will face off in a quarterback competition on Saturday during the Orange and White Game in front of tens of thousands of fans. Dobbs won the competition last year, but if he doesn’t this year, imagine the potential outcry from fans via social media, message boards and call-in shows.
Now, all of this can be avoided if Dobbs wins the quarterback challenge on Saturday, is a little more accurate this season and the Vols beat Florida in September. However, none of those contingencies come with any certainty. Dobbs has had three years to become more accurate and there has been no grand improvement. Meanwhile, Dormady now has a year under his belt as a Vol and has often looked more accurate that Dobbs in spring practice.
Chances are Dobbs holds onto the starting position as long as he’s healthy, but is it a guarantee? There are many fans hoping that’s not the case.
Scouting Tennessee’s Orange and White Game
Names to know: Dobbs and Dormady
What to expect: Dobbs and Dormady will compete in a quarterback competition towards the end of the Orange and White Game. The competition will test both players’ accuracy in the pocket and on the run.
Final verdict: The competition will be close, as it was last year. However, don’t be surprised if Dormady wins this year.