No question that the 120th edition of the Tennessee Volunteers is stacked with talent and potential.
At the heart of it all is the “CEO” of the bunch—Joshua Dobbs.
The offseason was no break for the senior signal-caller as he prepared for his final season at Tennessee with 22 starts under his belt and a goal of leading his team to Southeastern Conference and College Football Playoff championships.
“I see all of the work that (Dobbs) puts in outside of practice,” Vols redshirt junior offensive lineman Brett Kendrick said. “Whether it’s nights during the offseason, or out there throwing with (Tennessee wide receivers Josh) Malone or Preston Williams or whoever he’s throwing with, he’s doing a great job.”
The offseason efforts was not a lost cause as the starting quarterback managed to better his passing game, according to second-year Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Debord.
“His accuracy was really good this training camp,” DeBord said.
“Let’s go back to last year. His accuracy on third downs was really good. I mean we were second in the conference on third downs and his completion percentage was really good.”
Expectations are for Dobbs to take another step forward after being QB1 from the opener through the bowl win a year ago. Here’s how his numbers look his after first three seasons on Rocky Top:
|Year 3||205||of 344||59.6%||15 TD||5 INT||1-300 YD Game|
|Year 2||112||of 177||63.3%||9 TD||6 INT||1-300 YD Game|
|Year 1||72||of 121||59.2%||2 TD||6 INT||0-300 YD Game|
“(Dobbs) did a nice job of working on (his passing game) this summer on his own,” Debord said.
But after the unit’s injury-riddled 2015 season, a finally-healthy wide receiver corps could bolster the field general’s throw game, too. This year provides players with experience that he can rely on such as Jauan Jennings, Josh Malone, Josh Smith and Preston Williams.
“They want the ball,” Dobbs said. “I know they’re going to make plays and there’s a lot of trust that’s been built over the time that I’ve been here and that they’ve been here.”
Something else that could benefit the productivity of the passing game is the high standard of expectation that the senior quarterback holds for the offense.
“(Dobbs) is making sure that his presence is there, and if we’re not executing, he’ll let (the receivers) know,” Malone said. “In certain periods of practice, if we’re not executing, we’ll start that whole entire period over and make sure we’re executing.”
His leadership both on and off the field sets an example for the quarterbacks — Jarrett Guarantano, Sheriron Jones and Quinten Dormady — who have a combined zero college starts under their belt.
Should something happen to Dobbs the next to step up to the plate will be Dormady, as Butch Jones announced to the media Tuesday.
“I think that year experience has really helped (Dormady),” DeBord said of the sophomore quarterback. “I mean he knows the offense and so I think that’s been a big part.”
Jones: “I thought Quinten had his best practice (Monday). He took the second group right down and scored, and really executed very well.”
Learn more about the quarterback position at Tennessee by watching the videos above and below: