Tennessee spring practice 2014: The quarterbacks

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With spring practice less than a week away, we’re revisiting some of our projections from the post-season. Today: The quarterbacks.

Tennessee quarterbacks in practice (photo by Evan Woodbery)

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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Post-NSD update: The Vols ultimately chose not to sign a quarterback in this class, a vote of confidence in the current group. I would be surprised if the race is resolved this spring, but if Ferguson shows he’s healthy he could go into August camp as the man to beat.

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. I hope to improve this metric considerably in 2014.