Daniel: QB Justin Worley. After somewhat of an underwhelming camp, Worley has stepped up as the leader of this offense. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t always been pretty. And he’s not a top-flight SEC quarterback either. But playing behind a miserable offensive line and with limited help from the run game and even with receivers who haven’t always gotten separation this year, the senior quarterback continues to battle. Especially considering his circumstances, his numbers (138 of 218 for 1,388 yards, 12 TDs, 5 INTs) are very respectable. And though fans would like to see him have a few more keepers, he’s done enough with his feet to help the Vols out at times as well. The one thing that isn’t debatable about Worley is his toughness. He’s being hit at a record pace and he’s never complained or pointed fingers.
Houston: QB Justin Worley. He hasn’t been a superstar, but Justin Worley is clearly one of the most improved players on this football team compared to where he was at the end of the 2013 season. He has taken a beating through six games behind a rebuilt offensive line, but has still made plays that he simply couldn’t make a year ago and has yet to cast criticism towards his offensive line – a characteristic of true leadership. He is still in the bottom half of SEC quarterback ratings as far as efficiency, but there are a lot of factors that have put him so low on the list – namely O-Line play and a sub-par year by Vol receivers to this point. If he can stay healthy over the next two games against Ole Miss and Alabama, Worley could be in for an extremely strong four-game stretch to end the season as the line starts to gel and the Vols face some less-talented teams.
Reed: RB Jalen Hurd. Why Hurd over Worley? The Vol rushing “attack” is averaging just 109 yards per game, last in the SEC, but without Hurd I’m not so sure that number isn’t cut in half or worse. I’m serious. Marlin Lane has been banged up all year and is really struggling to find his stride. He came into the season averaging 5 yards per carry for his career but just hasn’t looked like the same back. You think the offense is one dimensional now? Imagine how games with Oklahoma and Georgia would have gone without big plays from Jalen Hurd. For me, Dobbs could provide close to what Worley has this year. I can’t say the same for anyone behind Hurd.