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Vol Report: Worley To Start At QB



Oct. 24, 2011


Here are a few of the most important quotes of the day from selected players and Coach Dooley:

"Let me touch on adjustments. Most teams make adjustments after every possession. We do and I know the teams that we've played do, so the halftime is a little more about big picture items that you adjust. You start thinking about your opening calls, anything different that may have been part of your plan that you didn't run in the first half and then what are they doing differently that we need to adjust to. Is it easier to do things with a veteran team? Of course it is because you can run things that you don't practice all week. You see this, hey let's do this. We are not doing that, we can't. We're not there yet, but I don't think it's plays is what I'm getting at. We always want to say it's a play that's the difference. I think it is a lot of things, more than a play."

"I told the team yesterday, `what's the smallest room in the world?' Do you know? It's a mushroom. Right? That's what it is. The largest room in the world is the room for improvement. That's where we are. We have to focus on the largest room in the world. I didn't plan on saying that today, but I did tell the team. You guys always draw it out of me."

"He's a great player. And if you don't believe it, just go play one-on-one with him and let them throw a jump ball. He's a different kind of guy because he's so big. He's got great ball skills down the field, and if you find yourself in a one-on-one matchup he can just body you up and it gets tough."

"(Momentum) is not going to carry over unless you are locked in on your assignments and ready to execute. We failed to do that as an offense and could not score points. If we don't play in the second half, we are not going to win football games. It's not going to get any easier."

"He's confident and he wants to play. We were talking yesterday, and I asked him if he was ready to go. He just looked at me and said `Yes sir.' I told him that we were here for him and that I believed in him 100 percent. I know the coaches believe in him because if they didn't they wouldn't have put him in as the quarterback. It's the same situation (Tyler) Bray was in. He got thrown in there and it didn't go great at first, but he got through a couple breaks and started playing well."

"I think this entire season has been frustrating for me. I definitely did not expect to be in the position that we are in but we are, and I can't change anything. All I can change is my attitude and how I approach the practice field. I was talking to a couple of the seniors and we definitely didn't expect to be where we are. We can't change the situation, but we can change where we go from here on out."

"It always does (hold some special significance). I know a lot of guys on the team, we grew up together, but when it comes down to it, it is a team effort. We have to play our defense and come out and play hard."

"It's always good competition between the two of us, but he's down with an injury. That's disappointing, but it's all the same. It's still Tennessee-South Carolina and another SEC game."

"The young guy (Connor Shaw) has really stepped in and done some good things. He's a really good pocket scrambler and can throw the ball pretty well on the run. I haven't really seen too much of the second running back, but I think that team is really good. The offensive line is really good and blocks really well. They have some good receivers, especially Alshon Jeffery. We have to go out there and play four hard quarters. If we do that, I feel like we have a good chance."


KNOXVILLE - After seeing his first career action in the fourth quarter at Alabama, Tennessee freshman quarterback Justin Worley will get his first start Saturday when the Vols play host to South Carolina at Neyland Stadium (7:15 p.m. ET; ESPN2).

"I just feel like for us to go out and try to win games, we are not throwing and catching the way we need to and we're not calling the game the way we want to," head coach Derek Dooley said. "We just need to make this move. It's not something that is done on a whim. We have a lot of data to make a switch. We don't have a lot of data on Justin."

Worley, a Rock Hill, S.C., native, played two possessions totaling five snaps against the Tide, but didn't attempt a pass. The data the Vols do have on Worley, however, shows he's a winner.

At Northwestern H.S., Worley became the first high school athlete in any sport in South Carolina to earn the Gatorade National Player of the Year, while leading his team to the state's Class AAAA Division II State Championship.

Worley scripted an impressive resume during his prep career, finishing with 13,385 passing yards and 157 touchdowns, including a state-record 64 scoring tosses in 2010. His Tennessee resume remains to be written.

"He was a gun guy, but you are getting that a lot now a days with these offenses in high school," Dooley said. "They just spread it out and gun snap. We are a pro-style offense, but that is what Justin wanted. He could have just as easily picked a team that was a spread team, but I think it just shows you the kind of guy that he is.

"He believed in our program, but he also wanted to play in that type of offense because I'm sure he has dreams one day. He wants to get in there and learn it and do it. He has done well."

The urgency has changed for Worley, who as little as two weeks ago was the number three quarterback on the depth chart behind Tyler Bray and Matt Simms.

"We have seen a big difference in him since Tyler (Bray) got hurt," Dooley said. "Before Tyler got hurt, we were really pushing him to invest more and pushing him to be more focused week to week. It's human nature when you are the three, it's hard to do. You aren't going to play.

"That is why I said Tyler came in as the two. We had our foot up his tail from day one because he was one snap away. (With) Justin we massaged him a little bit more because he wasn't one snap away. The last couple of weeks we have pushed him pretty hard and he has responded pretty well. He has a lot of good qualities and you will see them on Saturday."

MORE ACTION FOR JACKSON
Not only will Worley start Saturday, but another change was also made within the unit protecting him.

After Alex Bullard (to center) and James Stone (to left guard) switched positions on the offensive line last week, freshman Marcus Jackson has been called upon to start at left guard.

"He is a bigger, more powerful player," Dooley said. "It's sad to admit this, but when he got here in February, he benched more than anybody on our whole O-Line. That is where we were from a development standpoint. He has the stature, the explosive power and the physical tools.

"What he hasn't impressed us with is his consistency, but again we are not getting the performance we need so we have to make a change."

Dooley would've preferred to redshirt Stone in 2010, but didn't have the `luxury' of depth. While the offensive lineman isn't where he needs to be physically, he maintains one of the team's top work ethics.

"I am going to tell you nobody invests more and works harder than James Stone and has a better attitude," Dooley said. `He is just an incredible young man, but it's not personal."

COMPETITIVE CHARACTER
Defying both their age and lack of experience, freshmen linebackers A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt have quickly established themselves as two of Tennessee's top defensive players.

Against the top two teams in the nation over the last two weeks, the two first-year Vols have combined to record 37 tackles, including a team-high 24 by Johnson alone. He currently leads all SEC freshmen with 45 tackles on the season, while Maggitt ranks third in the league with 34.

In a hostile environment at No. 2 Alabama, Johnson posted his best effort to date, tallying 13 tackles, the most by a Tennessee player this season and the second-most by a true freshman in UT history, en route to being named the SEC Freshman of the Week.

"(A.J.) has been great," Dooley said. "He's a guy - we talk about not getting affected, and it's not always just youth, it really isn't. A.J. and Curt (Maggitt), they haven't been affected. We're down 20-6, it doesn't bother them. I think it's a competitive character that some guys have, there's a competitive character that some guys develop, and there's a competitive character that some guys never have.

"So you've got three groups. You've got some who can never do it, meaning mentally competing when it gets tough. Some guys you can teach them how to do it and they start figuring it out the more battles they are in. Then you've got some guys who do it, and he's one of those guys. That's the baller. I already said that line: `He's a baller, man.' Those baller guys, I don't have to lecture A.J. on not getting affected. Every play he tries to splatter the guy next to him. Curt's the same way."

Combining their efforts with fellow freshman Brian Randolph at free safety, the Vols are currently the only team in Division I FBS with three freshmen (true or redshirt) among its top six tackle leaders. Johnson is also the only true freshman in D-I FBS to own or share his team lead for tackles.

Tennessee's Homecoming game vs. Middle Tennessee on Nov. 5 is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Fox Sports Net.

 

 

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