The Tennessee Volunteers have bared the grunt of a grueling 2013 season. Not only have they faced one of the toughest schedules in the nation playing five ranked opponents, three in the top 10, and two more remaining, but they’ve also been walloped by the injury bug in doing so.
One of the most sensitive, and vital positions for any football team is its quarterback. The quarterback is the essential leader of the offensive unit, without out one it simply can’t function. After starter Justin Worley re-aggravated his thumb injury that he initially suffered against South Carolina during Saturday’s game against Alabama, the Vols suffered the second injury to the position this season.
With Worley and Peterman both out with hand injuries, Butch Jones will have to start freshman quarterback Josh Dobbs on Saturday, Nov. 2, against No. 9 Missouri (7-1, 3-1).
Dobbs started the second half against the Tide last week and helped lead the Vols down the field twice and put 10 points up on the board, the most Alabama had given up all season since their victory over Texas A&M in a 49-42 shootout.
It will be the third time in four seasons Tennessee has started a freshman quarterback, with two of those seasons being due to hand injuries.
Worley underwent surgery for torn ligaments in his dumb and has been listed as “out indefinitely,” although most believe he could be back, if needed, in the next 2-4 weeks.
Jones made the remark after practice Tuesday that he’s never had an hand injury inflict any of his players in all his years of coaching. This year has had two, and the result is a freshman starting against the No. 1 team in the SEC East on Saturday.
The good news for Jones is although it was only for a half, Dobbs has already bared the worst of what he could possibly see as far as defenses go after playing against the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide. However, the bad news is Dobbs’ redshirt is now effectively terminated for this season, and if he is injured as well Jones only choice may be to turn to fellow true-freshman Riley Ferguson, and effectively burn his redshirt as well.
While Worley is expected to miss the next 2-4 weeks at least, Peterman has been listed as day-to-day and could possibly make a return as early as this week depending on how he progresses. Until then it will be up to an 18 year old freshman to lead the Volunteers offense in their pursuit of a bowl bid.