KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee junior Quinten Dormady waited two years behind Josh Dobbs before becoming the Vols’ starting quarterback for the first five games of this season.
A change on the depth chart isn’t going to chase off Dormady — at least not yet — as the 6-foot-4, 222-pound Texan was back at practice this afternoon in Knoxville
Tennessee elevated redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano to the top of the depth chart this week, and it appears the New Jersey product is in line to make his first career start at noon on Saturday against South Carolina.
Coach Butch Jones could feel he needs to make a change after Dormady struggled the past three games.
Dormady threw three interceptions against Florida and failed to generate a touchdown drive in the second half of a 17-13 win over UMass and a 41-0 loss to Georgia.
Jones declared all positions open during the bye week, splitting the repetitions between redshirt freshman Guarantano and Dormady evenly.
Vols offensive coordinator Larry Scott made it clear on Monday night that a QB change could be coming.
“ You’ve got to have a guy that can demonstrate a certain level of consistency, and it has to be continuous consistency — it can’t be this drive here, that drive there, and off here and off there,” Scott said.
“I talk to them all the time about, ‘Don’t go play quarterback, be the quarterback.’ With that is a process, and what we need is somebody to take the next step in that process and really start to be a quarterback.”
A source told SEC Country on Tuesday that Guarantano was elevated to the top of the depth chart, and that triggered speculation and unsubstantiated reports and rumors that Dormady had quit the team.
Things can change quickly in college football, indeed.
Dormady opened the season by rallying the Vols from 28-14 down in the fourth quarter to a 42-41 double-overtime victory over Georgia Tech in a Monday night game in Atlanta’s new Mercedes Benz Stadium.
But against Florida two weeks later, Dormady had issues stepping up into the pocket against the rush, and the first of his three interceptions was the result of throwing off his back foot.
Dormady later made the costly mistake of calling an audible from the 1-yard line, checking off to a pass that was nearly intercepted. A motion penalty moved the team back 5 yards, and Dormady was intercepted when he and freshman receiver Josh Palmer got their wires crossed on an option route.
Dormady’s soft-spoken nature appeared to work against him from that point forward, as he was unable to get the offense to respond or rally around him.
That was an issue the Tennessee coaches identified early and had been working with Dormady on since last spring.
In fairness to Dormady, it has been a less than ideal situation for a new quarterback at Tennessee.
Josh Malone, last season’s leading receiver, elected to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft last spring rather than return for his senior season.
Junior receiver Jauan Jennings, the most experienced and productive skill position player, suffered what appears to be a season-ending wrist injury in the opening game.
Senior receiver Josh Smith missed much of spring drills recovering from offseason hernia surgery, and sophomore receiver Tyler Byrd has been inconsistent at receiver and missed a game with an undisclosed injury.
Tennessee has a very inexperienced receiving corps, along with a new offensive coordinator and tweaked playbook.
Dormady was accountable for his performance after the 41-0 loss to Georgia, saying he had “errant throws” en route to the 5-of-16 passing performance that netted 64 yards with two interceptions before he was lifted in favor of Guarantano.
Dormady is 76-of-137 passing (.555) for 925 yards with 6 TDs and six interceptions, and he has lost three fumbles. All eight of Dormady’s turnovers have occurred in the past four games.
If a change to Guarantano does indeed take place, it could simply represent Jones feeling that a more mobile QB who can extend plays is a better fit for what the Vols’ need at the time.
CBS commentator Gary Danielson suggested during the broadcast of the Georgia game that Jones might just need to change quarterbacks to shake things up.
The post Tennessee QB competition ongoing, Quinten Dormady not ready to quit team appeared first on SEC Country.