Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Sports Columns

October 31, 2013

ROCKY TOP BEAT: Vols to start true freshman QB Saturday

CROSSVILLE — Tennessee saw its season’s record fall to 4-4 this past weekend when they went down to long-time rival, top-ranked Alabama. The Vols also lost Justin Worley, probably for the remainder of the season, when he re-injured his throwing hand. Enter true freshman Joshua Dobbs, the third signal caller of the season, as the Vols roll into what was once to be the easier part of a difficult schedule. 

This week the Vols will face another ranked football team on the road. Missouri dropped from No. 5 to No. 10 in the polls after their undefeated season was ruined by South Carolina last week in double overtime. The Vols have a score to settle with these Tigers, too, after a late fourth-quarter rally eventually led to an overtime defeat on Rocky Top last season. 

The Tigers will have a red-shirt freshman at the helm of their offense. Maty Mauk, the former Parade High School All-American, will be making his third start of the season. Tennessee’s defense once again faces a mobile quarterback that so far has relied on big plays since taking over for injured James Franklin.

The Vols offense will be directed by first-time starter Joshua Dobbs. By now, we have all heard the attributes of this young man. Honor student, has what Coach Butch Jones refers to as a photographic memory and is a natural leader. Some pretty lofty credentials for this young man heading into his first start. His second-half performance against Alabama gives fans reason for optimism; however, we saw Nathan Peterman falter in his first collegiate start at Florida earlier this season. 

Starting the second half of a game where your team is trailing by a huge deficit can not match the pressure of actually starting a game for the first time on the road. Despite the odds against him, don’t be surprised if the young student/athlete rises to the occasion. Coach Jones sure hopes he performs well; he is the last of the healthy quarterbacks going into this game.

A mobile quarterback like Dobbs should make the read option offense more effective and help the rest of the ground game. That could slow down a Missouri pass rush that features a very active front four led by senior defensive end Michael Sam. Last week, he was a more disruptive force than the more acclaimed Gamecock’s Jadeveon Clowney. 

According to Coach Jones, they did not have to pare back the offense this week because Dobbs has a working knowledge of the entire offensive playbook. No wonder there is a positive atmosphere swirling around the team this week. 

The offense will have to rally around their young quarterback tomorrow. Discipline along the offensive line and concentration from the skill positions are a must. Not putting Dobbs in bad down and distance circumstances is imperative if the Vols hope to upset the Tigers. 

Last week, Vanderbilt suffered a lopsided defeat at Texas A&M. At least Vandy can’t lose this week with their off date. That should help improve Jim Butler’s weekend and even allow him to catch the Vols’ game. Only 22 more days Jim.

Coach Jones will not expect his young quarterback to win the game tomorrow night in Columbia, but rather not to lose it. Three of the Vols four losses this season included poor performances by the signal callers. All Joshua Dobbs needs to do to survive his first start is manage the offense and not self destruct.

The game will be carried on ESPN at 6 p.m. CDT.  Could this be the game that propels the Vols to a special November? The Big Orange Nation sure hopes so!  Go Vols!!

(Frank Gale is a Chronicle correspondent and his column appears regularly.)

Text Only
Sports Columns
  • Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.

    July 24, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Vols begin preparations for season opener in eight days

    The start of fall practice is only a mere eight days away. Coach Butch Jones has to be ready to get Team #118 on the field and to start preparations for Utah State.

    July 24, 2014

  • Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Even when Tiger Woods finished just a few strokes from last place at the British Open, he was one of the  featured topics in stories coming out of Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

    July 23, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Vols focused on Utah

    The SEC media days have come and gone with no real news being generated. A successful media days appearance is usually defined as leaving Hoover, AL without giving a future opponent bulletin board material. Using that criteria, Tennessee left without any major gaffs.

    July 17, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: Good things must come to an end

    The Dr. Pepper Classic, a long-time tradition at McKenzie Arena, affectively-known as the Round House, will seize, as a couple of teams dropped out, leaving the university in a "lurch," according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press Tuesday morning. Teams wanted a cash guarantee to play, which couldn't be provided (at this time).

    July 10, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Majors Invitational tees off Sunday at Lake Tansi

    It is the second weekend in July and that means Johnny Majors is at Lake Tansi this weekend to host his annual golf tournament. It is always a treat for the local UT fans to interact with those that have been a part of the Vol football program. They come to the plateau each year to renew old acquaintances and share the stories of gridiron prowess from past years. By the way, the stories sure seem to get better with time.

    July 10, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: 'Dores make history with CWS win

    History was made at the College World Series in Omaha, NE, this week, as the Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team won the school's  first national championship in any sport since the Vandy women's bowling team won the 2007 national crown.

    June 26, 2014

  • Rocky Top Beat: Tyndall hire closes the book on Martin era

    The University of Tennessee was able to close the books on the Cuonzo Martin era of Vol basketball earlier this week when they hired Donnie Tyndall to lead their program. Athletic Director Dave Hart, who conducted the search and the hiring on his own, appears to have found the right coach for this team at the right time.

    April 24, 2014

  • ROCKY TOP BEAT: You never know what will happen next with TN sports

    When you cover UT sports, you never know what is going to happen next. The past two weeks were no exception as they were filled with "the good, the bad and the ugly."

    April 17, 2014

  • Oh Good Greif: Spring in full swing with Masters under way

    With "March Madness" over and the Masters golf tournament under way in Augusta, GA, you know spring has sprung.

    April 10, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014