With just five days left until the season opener, one Vol is rising to the top of the quarterback pool.
Justin Worley will start at quarterback. He is the only QB on the roster with any game experience, and that fact got him the job, at least for now.
"It was a very, very tight race. I thought all four individuals did a great job. I thought they all really advanced their growth and development throughout the entire course of training camp but we just thought that Justin was just a little bit ahead of the other three individuals. I met with every single quarterback individually, myself and Mike Bajakian, so we always believe in handling everything in-house, and I told them that everything is judged by your productivity so we will continue to really look at that position, and not just that positions, but every position on our football team," said Jones in his weekly press conference on Monday.
Coach Jones says he will continue to evaluate the quarterbacks based on their performance, so Worley will have to prove himself on the field to keep the job.
"Any great competitor, you never look back behind you. You keep looking forward, you continue to progress and get better and better. Justin is extremely competitive. We don't ever want to create a scenario where they're always looking behind them but that's the world that we live in, that's football, that's competition. We're going to learn how to compete, not just on game day, but everything we do in our football program is based off of competition. We'll compete today, on Monday, and that's what our football program is all about."
The biggest thing that Coach Butch Jones says he'd like Justin to improve on is his leadership, and his ability to be vocal when his team needs him the most.
Worley commented that he was relieved to finally know who will start on Saturday. He agreed with Jones that he needs to work on his vocal leadership during stressful in-game situations.
Jones also said he doesn't know if he will play multiple quarterbacks against Austin Peay or not.
He also talked about his lack of sleep heading into this week, which he says just comes with the job.
"My mind has been racing. I woke up about three times in the middle of the night last night worried about the first day nuances. Having 11 men on the field. Getting your extra point team on. Getting your offense off the field. The transitions, the special teams, game management type situations. That is what I pride myself in the game management things that come throughout the course of a game. You can definitely feel the energy and excitement but I get more nervous in preparation Monday through Friday then I do on game day. To me that is when you prepare to win, that is when you deserve to win. Your preparation throughout the course of the entire week," said Jones.