Tennessee football just had their 2013 Orange and White Game. Perhaps the most riveting storyline of spring practice has been the position battle between Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman at quarterback. Although the competition remains open, Saturday’s Orange and White Game had a clear winner whose path toward the starting spot on August 31st is one step closer.
That player is former Gatorade Player of the Year, Justin Worley.
Looking at the Stats
First, Worley completed 8-of-18 pass attempts, a completion percentage of 44 percent. That’s nothing to write home about, but when compared to Peterman’s 39 percent on 9-of-23, it’s definitely better.
Second, While neither will be confused with Tyler Bray in terms of arm strength, Worley outdid Peterman in passing yardage with 123 versus 98.
Third, the junior Worley connected with Cody Blanc on a long touchdown pass, while the redshirt freshman Peterman ended with zero scoring plays.
Finally, Worley showed much better pocket awareness, surrendering just one sack to Peterman’s six. Time after time, Peterman was dancing in the pocket too long. This internal clock is something that comes with experience, which Worley has much more of.
Peterman Wins a Couple Areas but Worley the Overall Victor
Neither quarterback was able to show off his mobility because they both donned red jerseys and couldn’t run, but it’s fair to say that Peterman would’ve won this matchup with Worley.
Peterman also avoided throwing an interception, while Worley gave up one to safety Brian Randolph.
If you’re keeping score, that’s four checkmarks for Worley in accuracy, yards, scoring plays and pocket awareness. Peterman gets a speculative checkmark for mobility and and a sure one for turnovers.
The Leader at the end of Spring Practice
In my opinion, Justin Worley is the favorite to win the starting job. He has starting experience in each of his two seasons as a Vol and has developed a rapport with Tennessee’s talented offensive line. The fact that he’s a junior makes him a perfect fit for a team leader.
Peterman will be an excellent candidate in 2014 and 2015, along with Josh Dobbs and Riley Ferguson, but for the 2013 Volunteers, it’s Worley’s turn.