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Jones Not Ready to “Crown” Josh Dobbs

Josh DobbsAnybody who wanted Butch Jones to come out to his Monday press conference and proclaim Joshua Dobbs the starter going forward didn’t get their wish.

“We’ll name a starter when we need to, there’s no rush,” Jones said. “I want competition. Playing quarterback at Tennessee is earned. We’ll name a starter when we’re ready.”

Justin Worley (shoulder) will get his work ramped up early this week in practice to test his arm strength after he was unable to throw the ball with the velocity that the coaches needed to see for him to play against Alabama last week. There’s still no public injury prognosis or exact timetable for Worley, though Jones hasn’t ruled out a return for him against South Carolina. Jones also clarified that a healthy Worley would not guarantee that the senior would retain his starting spot that he earned in the preseason.

As for Dobbs, who sparked the offense with over 260 total yards off the bench against the Tide, Jones said he likes what he saw, but he isn’t ready to name the sophomore, who lost his redshirt status, the full-time starter at this point

“Josh (Dobbs) will continue to get first-team reps, but we have to avoid crowning individuals,” Jones said.

Other notes:

• WR Josh Smith and DT Trevarris Saulsberry have been ruled out for the South Carolina game

• Jones said a medical hardship is still on the table for Smith, but said they would re-evaluate that after the bye week.

• RT Coleman Thomas is “ahead of schedule” after missing the Alabama game with an ankle injury and could play against SC. Jones does anticipate having LG Marcus Jackson available for the SC game. He wasn’t ready to commit to a starting offensive line, continuing to say that he would look for the best five to help the team win, but added that it’s nice to have options after Brett Kendrick and Jacob Gilliam did some good things against Alabama.

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