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Report Card: No. 4 Alabama 34 Tennessee 20

Josh Dobbs

 Quarterbacks

Daniel: A new era might’ve been ushered in at the position. Nathan Peterman was the official starter, but there was a strong feeling that Joshua Dobbs would get his chance, and he did very early. It wasn’t a perfect game. Dobbs’ fumble set up Alabama’s fourth touchdown and created some of the mess that he tried to fix. There were also some forced balls, a few missed opportunities and one interception that hindered UT’s chances of making a true comeback bid late in the game. But with those negatives stated, it’s clear that the Vols looked more dynamic with the sophomore on the field and he made them better. It could be seen in several ways. First, he helped out the offensive line. His mobility helped him eluded pass rushers and his threat of running kept Alabama’s defense honest. Secondly, he helped the run game himself, picking up 75 yards on the ground and aiding the whole run scheme with his threat to keep it on certain plays. Finally, he had a pretty good day throwing the ball, especially considering he hadn’t played in a real game in almost 11 months. A few of the misses will certainly stick with him, but 192 yards and two touchdowns in not even a full game is a pretty good line. If he can build on that and continue to work on protecting the ball, he’s going to give the Vols a chance to reach the postseason. Grade: B+

Houston: The future appears bright with Josh Dobbs at the helm of the Tennessee offense. The coaching staff made the decision this week to burn his redshirt after the shoulder injury to Justin Worley, and Dobbs gave no reason to believe that anyone else will be taking a meaningful snap at the position the rest of the season. Dobbs looked calm, poised and well prepared for what the coaches had him doing on the field. He ran the ball extremely well on designed runs, but really shined when his protection started to break down by escaping the pocket while keeping his eyes fixed downfield. He did have a fumble on a hard hit where the defender appeared to get his helmet on the football and threw a ball into double coverage that would be intercepted, but the good far outweighed the bad for Dobbs last night. He threw a very nice outside back-shoulder touchdown to Josh Malone and was able to find open receivers over the middle with more regularity than the Vol offense has seen all season. Dobbs finished with 75 rushing yards and 192 through the air to go along with two passing touchdowns. Tennessee can win the rest of their games with that type of production if he can protect the football. Grade: B+

Reed: It’ll be close to impossible for anyone other than Dobbs to suit up at QB for the Vols this season (barring injury) after his performance against Alabama. Dobbs led the Vols to their most points against the Tide since 2003 and rushed for more yards (75) than Alabama came into the game allowing on the ground. Tennessee’s stagnant offense had new life with Dobbs. He accounted for 267 yards of offense, the most from a Vol quarterback in an SEC game since…his first start last season at Missouri. He clearly adds another dimension to the offense with his mobility and his arm strength. He was able to “throw receivers open” a few times and the ball got to receivers much quicker than it has all year. On both designed runs and broken plays, he made positive things happen with his legs. Playing in his first game of the year against a defense like Alabama’s, he played as well as could be expected even with two turnovers. Grade: B

Average Grade: B

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