From 2014-16, Josh Dobbs was synonymous with Tennessee football. Dobbs was one of the more accomplished quarterbacks the Vols have had since Peyton Manning, and if not for him, Tennessee might not have won as many games as they did (and they should’ve won even more with him at the helm).
Dobbs’ play was eye-popping at times, and he put up some gaudy numbers with the Vols. And a deeper look into his numbers shows that Dobbs may have saved Butch Jones’ job early in his career.
In 35 starts, Dobbs piled up numbers and was easily Tennessee’s best rushing quarterback of all-time. He totaled 6,871 passing yards, 2,066 rushing yards, 51 passing touchdowns and 32 rushing touchdowns in his 35 starts (that doesn’t include games against Alabama in 2013 and 2014 in which he entered late due to injury to the starter). He completed 61.8 percent of his passes as a starter and only tossed 28 interceptions in 955 attempts in his 35 starts.
Dobbs was 23-12 as a starter for Tennessee. Butch Jones should be thanking him for helping him stay around as long as he did at Tennessee, because every other quarterback Jones started with the Vols was mediocre at best and atrocious at worst.
Tennessee started five other quarterbacks aside from Dobbs in the Butch Jones era. Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman, Quinten Dormady, Jarrett Guarantano, and Will McBride have all started a combined 27 games counting Guarantano’s latest start this past Saturday against LSU. And their combined numbers in those 27 starts look pitiful in comparison to Dobbs.
Those five quarterbacks have combined to complete 424 of their 725 attempts for 4,657 yards, 30 TDs, and 27 interceptions. Those five quarterbacks have also only rush for four rushing touchdowns and have totaled negative 16 rushing yards as a group.
And in those 27 starts, those quarterbacks have gone just 11-16.
Dobbs averaged 2.4 total touchdowns a game as a starting quarterback, 255.3 total yards per game, and threw .8 interceptions a game. The other five quarterbacks have averaged 171.8 yards per game, 1.3 total touchdowns, and have thrown an interception per start in their 27 starts.
Josh Dobbs saved Butch Jones from being fired earlier than he was. Dobbs was one of the main reasons the Vols had the success they did from 2014-16. Because Jones proved that without Dobbs as his quarterback, he was lost as Tennessee’s head coach.
Butch Jones will be remembered for many things, but one of the biggest things he’ll be remembered for is his inability to develop players, specifically quarterbacks. And if not for Josh Dobbs putting together some incredible numbers, Jones might’ve been exposed even sooner.