Vols may face two QBs

Mississippi State used multiple quarterbacks in last weekend's 30-13 defeat of UAB and probably will do the same in today's game with Tennessee.

That may not bode well for the Vols, who have struggled in recent years when an opponent forces them to deal with two QBs of differing styles.

Tennessee shut down dropback passer David Greene of Georgia in 2004, for instance, only to have mobile backup D.J. Shockley drive the Dawgs to a quick score. Oddly enough, head coach Mark Richt did not give Shockley another possession and Tennessee hung on to win the game.

Perhaps the greatest example of a backup quarterback befuddling the Vols occurred in the 2001 SEC Championship Game. Tennessee stymied and sidelined LSU starter Rohan Davey that evening but backup Matt Mauck came off the bench to befuddle the Big Orange with an assortment of keepers and quarterback draws as the Tigers rallied from a 17-10 halftime deficit to win 31-20.

Mississippi State opened the season with senior Michael Henig firmly entrenched at quarterback. After starting Games 1, 2 and 3, however, he suffered a broken hand that left junior Josh Riddell and freshman Wesley Carroll to handle the job. Henig, who returned to play a backup role in Game 6, has the most experience. Riddell, who started Game 5 at South Carolina, has the best arm. Carroll, who started Game 6 vs. UAB, has the best mobility.

Odds are, the Vols will see two – perhaps all three – this afternoon in Starkville. Asked earlier this week if that poses any added problems in terms of preparation, Tennessee's defensive coordinator shook his head.

"It doesn't," John Chavis said. "They're going to do what they do. They're going to run their offense. That's what most people do. It's hard to have a system where you have two different offenses for two different quarterbacks."

Tennessee's head coach agrees. Asked if it's harder to prepare for a team that uses multiple QBs, Phillip Fulmer quipped: "It would be harder if they had a veteran starter out there. But this kid (Carroll) is very capable and gives them a different dynamic a little bit."


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