Scroll down the list of players with the most total carries in the SEC this season and you, as expected, will primarily find starting running backs. But before leaving the top 10, you’ll find one anomaly – Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who checks in 10th in the league with 89 total carries, 17 more than the next closest QB (MSU’s Dak Prescott) and 34 more than third place among QBs.
Dobbs’ heavy workload is not only putting him near the top of the SEC in carries. He’s also on pace to break some UT records* for quarterbacks in the run game.
Already on the books with the best single-game rushing performance by a quarterback (166 vs. South Carolina in 2014) in school history, Dobbs is closing in on more. Dobbs’ 14 career rushing touchdowns moves him closer to the career record of Jimmy Streater, who ran for 25 total touchdowns from 1976-79. He’s just two scores away from tying Tee Martin (16) for second in that category.
Dobbs, who currently has 387 yards rushing on the season, is on pace to break Streater’s single-season UT quarterback rushing record of 593 yards, set in 1978. If he can hold his current average of 55.2 yards per game against what should be the lighter portion of the schedule, he’ll finish the season with a record-breaking total of 663 yards. And at 1,045 career rushing yards, Dobbs is also just 329 career yards from breaking Streater’s career UT quarterback rushing record (1,374). Assuming Dobbs remains relatively healthy in his career, he should easily become UT’s all-time leading rusher from the quarterback position.
And while Dobbs’ feet have been a huge part of UT’s offense, that many carries and that that much production can take a toll on a starting quarterback. Dobbs, so far, said it isn’t getting to him.
“I feel great,” Dobbs, who has also taken 15 total sacks and been hit plenty of other times, said. “It’s good. It’s been productive for us. We’ve put up numbers, we’ve been able to the ball effectively, so yeah, anything to help the team win, that’s what I’m here to do.”
“I think the one thing that Josh does – he really took one direct hit this week (against Alabama,” added offensive coordinator Mike DeBord. “He doesn’t take a lot of direct hits. He’s able to protect himself. “
Coaching Dobbs has been somewhat of a new experience for DeBord, who said most of his experience comes with more traditional drop-back passers over the course of his career.
“It’s really shown me the things that he can do to get you out of trouble sometimes,” DeBord said of Dobbs. “He makes a lot of plays that way. That’s just a great asset to have in our offense.”
*UT doesn’t keep extensive official records of quarterbacks running, so consider those unofficial and “modern-era” records as well
Modern-era (post WWII) UT quarterback career rushing yards:
- Jimmy Streater: 1,374
- Joshua Dobbs: 1,045
- Condredge Holloway: 966
- Tee Martin: 614
- Randy Wallace: 572