Just two years ago, Josh Dobbs was preparing for his final year as Tennessee’s starting quarterback. Now, he’s heading into his second year in the NFL, and his head coach at Tennessee is no longer part of the program.
Butch Jones was fired in November of 2017 after the Vols limped out to a 4-6 start and 0-6 mark in SEC play. The Vols would eventually finish 4-8 and 0-8 in the conference, resulting in the worst season in Tennessee football history.
Now, former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is the man in charge of Tennessee’s football program. And Dobbs can’t wait to see what the Vols look like under Pruitt’s guidance.
In an interview with WATE Sports, Dobbs spoke about his second annual youth football camp in Knoxville, but he was also asked about Tennessee’s new head coach and his thoughts on the state of the program under Pruitt. Dobbs, who only just met Pruitt during the Orange & White Game back in April, says he already likes what he’s seeing from Pruitt and his staff.
“It was my first chance to meet Coach Pruitt, and I was excited to be around him and meet him at the spring game,” Dobbs stated. “I liked how he was pushing the kids and giving everyone a fair shot to try to figure out who are going to be his play-makers this upcoming season. I know they’re working hard.
“I’m excited to see the product on the field in the fall.”
Tennessee’s spring practices under Pruitt were full of competition, and that theme figures to be intensified this fall. The Vols will be welcoming in several new faces for the start of fall camp, as 16 members of the Vols’ 2018 signing class are set to take the field this fall, and at least three grad transfers will also be joining the fray. There’s still a chance Pruitt and his staff could bring in another grad transfer or two before the end of this month as well.
The 2018 Vol squad still has some of Dobbs’ old teammates on the roster. Players like Jauan Jennigns, Marquez Callaway, Jarrett Guarantano, and Drew Richmond still litter the roster. But this year’s Tennessee team figures to look very little like what Dobbs experienced while at Tennessee.
Although Dobbs is excited to see what the Vols do this fall, he’ll likely not get to keep up with the team and how the competition plays out at various positions very much once fall camp starts. He’ll be embroiled in a competition of his own this fall.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph with the 76th overall pick in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft just a year after selecting Dobbs in the fourth round. It’s unlikely that Pittsburgh will keep four quarterbacks on the roster, so Dobbs may be fighting with Rudolph and six-year veteran Landry Jones for a spot on the roster.
Much has been made about the Steelers’ choice to draft Rudolph. Steelers’ starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had some strong comments about their decision to do so and even said he “felt bad” for Dobbs after the selection.
But Dobbs isn’t feeling sorry for himself. In fact, he welcomes the challenge.
“I’m just embracing the competition,” Dobbs replied when asked about the Steelers drafting Rudolph. “My goal is to help the team achieve our goals, and our goal is to win a Super Bowl. So however I can help, that’s my goal. It’s constant competition in the NFL, and it was constant competition here in Knoxville, so I’m no stranger to that.
“I’m excited to get to camp, continue to grow, compete, and get ready for the upcoming season.”
Dobbs is embracing the competition in Pittsburgh, and he and Vol fans alike hope Tennessee’s current players will do the same this fall.