As much as Butch Jones has tried to guide fan opinion in his time as Tennessee’s coach, he seemed genuinely frank during the post-spring SEC coaches’ teleconference this week.
Jones, entering his fifth season and on a rather warm seat, didn’t say that breaking in a new quarterback this season would be a challenge after Josh Dobbs was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dobbs played in 37 games for the Vols during his career. That became extremely valuable for the stability of the program. To a much lesser extent, the Vols have that with junior Quinten Dormady. He has played in 10 games and appears to have a significant lead over redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano heading into summer workouts. But despite the experience gap, Jones isn’t ready to name Dormady the starter.
“There’s never any substitution for experience,” Jones said. “That’s why I think some of the live game experiences Quinten had, it really helped him, but also being able to make Jarrett Guarantano live during the spring, I think, also helped him as well. I’m excited about that position in moving forward.”
Jones is playing his cards perfectly. Dormady is more experienced and less likely to make mistakes because of that playing time. But if Dormady struggles, Jones can turn to Guarantano. His playmaking ability should be able to get the Vols out of some tough spots if a play breaks down.
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