UT quarterback race

If you're anxious to learn who Tennessee's starting quarterback will be this season, you might want to sit back and relax. The race is nowhere near the home stretch.

Moreover, none of the Vol staffers who will be involved in the decision-making process seems in any hurry to resolve the issue.

Head coach Derek Dooley said last month that he didn't expect to have a starting QB pegged by the end of spring practice. After watching senior Nick Stephens, junior Matt Simms, sophomore Nick Lamaison and freshman Tyler Bray in several spring practices, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw have echoed that sentiment.

Chaney, in fact, seems somewhat opposed to the idea of having a No. 1 quarterback coming out of spring ball.

"I'm not comfortable with that," he said recently. "If someone emerges and is a clear favorite, certainly, but that is Coach Dooley's call totally.

"Quite honestly, I like the competition that's going on right now at that position, with everybody on a level playing field and everybody competing for it. I love that attitude and that demeanor.

"As long as we can keep that going, we'll have the best of their abilities every day, and that's a good thing for us.

Likewise, Hinshaw seems far more focused on establishing that all of the quarterbacks know the offense than establishing a pecking order.

"Right now we're installing, so we're learning the offense as a group," he said. "We're not worrying about all of that stuff (depth chart). We're trying to get everybody better every single day, and be able to lead the team.

"That's what I tell 'em: It's all about making yourself better every single day. That's what you're trying to do."


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