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The fourth in a series of position-by-position reviews of the Tennessee football team with an eye toward the start of spring practice in three months.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee used three of its four quarterbacks this year, so perhaps it’s predictable that the one quarterback who didn’t play is the fan favorite to win the job in 2014.
Redshirt freshman Riley Ferguson does, in fact, have a strong chance of earning the No. 1 spot, but the race should be every bit as wide open as it was over the summer.
Justin Worley, who will be a senior, had two solid games in October when the Vols were playing their best. Joshua Dobbs got valuable experience after Worley was hurt. Nathan Peterman will have to overcome a rough performance at Florida.
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What about Ferguson? If he had been healthy, he would have come in to replace Worley instead of Dobbs at halftime of the Alabama game. He was the No. 3 quarterback for much of the season.
But will he make enough physical and mental strides during the offseason to win the starting job? We could begin to find out this spring.
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The Vols don’t have any plans to sign another quarterback in this class, so that means any defections from among the current group could raise worries about depth.
A note on this series: As National Signing Day approaches, we’ll review each of Tennessee’s positions with an eye toward spring football in 2014. I’ll update the spreadsheets as players commit, sign, enroll or leave. Click on the links for previews of the offensive line, running backs and receivers.
A note on the statistics: The snap count shown in the first graphic includes only offensive snaps. It does not count special teams. The statistics are unofficial and come from our snap-by-snap database. “YPP” is yards per play, or simply the number of yards Tennessee gained while the player was on the field, divided by the player’s total snaps. “Adjusted YPP” adjusts the average for various factors, including game, situation, formation, down, distance and position. “Impact factor” is the degree to which a player’s YPP outperformed the average YPP for a player in a similar situation. A factor of 100 is average; above that is better, lower is worse. You should view Adjusted YPP and Impact Factor as “interesting” stats and not necessarily relevant ones. Someone who plays every snap will, by definition, have an Impact Factor of 100. On the other end, the small sample size of many reserves means just one or two plays can significantly shift their score.