Vols QB Worley, Offense Should Feel Confident
By Dan Harralson
The Butch Jones Tennessee era officially began with a 45-0 throbbing of Austin Peay.
Tennessee was just as good as the scoreboard reflected.
Sometimes it is good to play a weaker opponent to test plays, build team chemistry and really to get a feel for your team, and the Vols did that Saturday night.
Are some highlights last night's game:
• 315 yards rushing at 6.1 per carry.
• 30 first downs.
• Six touchdowns.
• No penalties. The team looked poised and disciplined all night.
• Justin Worley seemed to be the right choice as he looked more fluid than Nathan Peterman. Worley was 11 of 13 passing for 104 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions and added 21 yards on four runs. Peterman was 4-of-8 for 28 yards.
• The offense was 7 for 11 on third downs.
• 10 different receivers caught passes; three different receivers caught a touchdown pass.
Austin Peay was not the best of competition, but the Vols were able to come out and essentially play mistake free, throw to a number of different receivers and show a running game. The ability to produce on third downs was a great feat, too. Tennessee should have confidence as the competition gets tougher, which it will.
Here are some quotes from Butch Jones to me after last night's win:
“He (Worley) hit a couple of hot throws when he was hot. I thought he had great command. I thought he had great poise. I told him, ‘You can’t be emotional. You have to be a coach.’ It’s like being a surgeon, you know? You have to be poised and disciplined, and I thought he was.”
“I thought we were efficient, but again, as the competition continues to grow, we have to be able to make the routine throws. There was a couple I know (Worley missed). Statistically, he was 11 out of 13, and he’d probably like to have those two throws back. One of ‘em was in the red zone, but that’s a great teaching point."
The Vols face former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino on Saturday as Western Kentucky comes to Neyland Stadium for a 12:21 p.m. ET kickoff, televised on the SEC Network.