Bobby Scott

Only two Tennessee quarterbacks who started at least two years never lost a home game. One was Tee Martin. The other was Bobby Scott. A native of Georgia, Scott was 11-0 at Neyland Stadium, and his most satisfying win was over the man who recruited him to Tennessee.

In 1970, Scott was still stinging over the way Doug Dickey departed Tennessee for his alma mater, Florida. There were rumors that Dickey had taken the Florida job before the Vols were to play the Gators in the Gator Bowl on Dec. 27, 1969.

Dickey sidestepped the rumors, then took the Florida job after the Gators edged Tennessee 14-13.

Some Vol fans suggested Dickey threw the game to help his new program gain momentum for the next season.

And that next season, Florida played in Knoxville in mid-October on ABC.

``It was a big game,'' recalled Scott. ``(Quarterback) John Reaves was coming in. Carlos Alvarez was a receiver. Jack Youngblood was a defensive end.

``When Dickey brought that team back up here, there was no way he was going to come in our back yard and beat us.''

Scott says it with conviction. He says it with a glare in his eyes that tells you how meaningful that 38-7 win was.

During his Tennessee career, Scott never lost to Alabama, beating the second-ranked Tide 41-14 in Birmingham in 1969 and 24-0 the next year. He won at No. 11 Georgia (his home state university). He beat No. 13 Georgia Tech in Atlanta. He beat UCLA. He won the Sugar Bowl.

But if you ask him to pinpoint his greatest win, he doesn't hesitate: ``Beating Dickey.'' Notice, he said Dickey, not Florida.

Scott will be inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame July 27. That was the furtherest thing from his mind when he was one of six quarterbacks to sign with the Vols in the mid-1960s.

Scott grew up near the Tennessee-Georgia border.

``I could throw a rock off my front porch and hit Tennessee,'' Scott said.

He grew up a Tennessee fan and always yearned to play for the Vols. Even today, if you ask where he'd gone if not Tennessee, he isn't sure. Probably Georgia or Alabama, he says. He said he's never really thought about the other option.

But his father, Scott concedes, would like to have seen his son play for the legend, Alabama coach Paul ``Bear'' Bryant.

Why didn't Scott want to play for Bryant?

``It's not that I didn't want to play for him,'' Scott said. ``When I went on my recruiting trip there, you walked into his office and there wasn't a space on the wall that didn't have a picture of Joe Namath, Steve Sloan, Ken Stalber (former Alabama quarterbacks) or somebody else.

``When you walked into that office and he was sitting behind that desk, it kind of gripped you. He had that low voice talking to you. It was rough, but I had it in my mind for a couple of years Tennessee was the place I wanted to be.''

When Scott arrived, he found a handful of other young quarterbacks who wanted to be Vols. Tim Priest, Joe Thompson and Jim Maxwell were among them.

Scott tells the story that Maxwell was the first to throw. He displayed a strong arm. Scott was next. He was accurate and threw a tight spiral.

``Tim told Joe, `Where do you think we ought to go?''' Scott said. ``Joe said, `I think I'm going to receiver,' and Tim went over to defense. Neither one threw a ball.''

Thompson later became Scott's favorite target, catching 37 passes in 1970. Priest became UT's all-time leader in interceptions. And Scott finished his career No. 1 on Tennessee's all-time passing list with 3,371 yards. He now ranks ninth.

Scott was accused by his offensive coordinator, Jim Wright, of trying to throw too often to Thompson. Once after Scott was intercepted while eyeing Thompson, Wright got on the press box phone with Scott, and with his slow drawl said: ``Hell, son, you can't throw it to your buddy every time.''

Although Scott completed just 47.4 percent of his passes, Dickey called Scott the best pure passer he ever coached. Scott threw a catchable pass that served him well, allowing him to play 13 seasons of pro football, nine as Archie Manning roommate with the New Orleans Saints.

Scott said former UT quarterbacks coach Jimmy Dunn taught him a technique that would make his passes easy to catch. Scott taped the end of a football and threw it against the brick wall of a gym near the football practice field.

``He (Dunn) said if you release the ball correctly, it will bounce down and to the left,'' Scott said. ``He said you always want the point of the ball up as it goes to the receiver because it's easier to catch. I threw for weeks and weeks getting my release right so that every time I threw the ball, it would bounce down and to the left.''

Scott was thrilled to learn he'd been selected for induction into the Hall of Fame. He is thrilled that Peyton Manning, Archie's boy, will be the keynote speaker. But nothing thrilled him more than seeing his son, Benson, put on a UT uniform and wear the No. 10 that Bobby wore almost 25 years before.

``That was very, very pleasing,'' Bobby Scott said. ``He's the definition of a good kid, a good guy. He was never an ounce of trouble.''


Inside Tennessee Top Stories