Tennessee’s disappointing 24-21 loss at South Carolina on Saturday puts everything under the microscope.
That includes the quarterback position, where senior Joshua Dobbs played arguably his worst overall game of his career – completing just 12-of-26 passes on the evening for 161 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. He had 27 rushing yards on 12 attempts, though he did have one touchdown taken off the board by a holding call down the field.
He also lost one fumble when running back Carlin Fils-Aime knocked the ball out of his hand on a fake.
Butch Jones said on Monday that, despite those struggles, Dobbs will continue in his current role as the starter.
“Josh Dobbs is our quarterback, make no mistake about that,” Jones said, before going on to cite UT’s overall improved numbers as a program in recent years as an argument for continuity.
“It’s a long football season with a lot left to be played for,” he added. “Somebody told me this, and I think this puts things in perspective, when we talk about the negativity that’s out there, when we gain our next victory it’ll be three straight years we’ve been bowl eligible – that’s the first time since 2002.
“Everybody wants to point towards negativity and chaos and the sky is falling, but if my math serves me, that’s over 10 years, so this football team has done some very good things, and will continue to do some good things. We have a lot to play for, so in that moving forward, Josh will be our quarterback. Would we like to get other individuals repetitions? Absolutely.”
Dobbs has been an enigmatic player for UT this season. While he, at times, has been one of the most electrifying playmakers in the conference, he also currently has a new career low in completion percentage (57.1%), a new season high in interceptions (11) and his worst adjusted QBR (59.2) since his freshman season.
Jones will continue to ride his senior signal caller who has started the last 26 games for the Vols, leading the team to an 18-9 mark during that span. Opportunities for Quinten Dormady, Sheriron Jones and Jarrett Guarantano will likely have to wait until 2017.