With just about two weeks to go before college football season gets underway, teams are selecting their starting quarterbacks and ending other position battles this week. Tennessee became the latest to name a starting signal-caller.
"Justin Worley will be our quarterback moving forward," Butch Jones, the Vols' head coach, told the media on Thursday. "He's earned the right to be the starting quarterback at the University of Tennessee.
"He's earned (the job) all the way through the course of training camp. So this hasn't been one or two practices he's put together."
Worley, a senior, was expected to be selected as the starter after he put together a solid season last year, making seven starts and throwing for 1,239 yards with 12 touchdowns. However, he broke his thumb against Alabama in late October and didn't return to the lineup.
Joshua Dobbs ended up taking over for Worley as a true freshman last season and appears to still be battling Nathan Peterman for the No. 2 quarterback job.
"I thought Nate Peterman and Josh Dobbs have taken great strides in moving forward," Jones said. "They'll continue to compete. As you know, you're one snap away, and we found that out last year."
The Vols certainly did find that out. And with the team replacing all five of its starting offensive linemen from last season, the backup signal-caller better be well-prepared to step in.
Here are nine other things you need to know from Thursday's (and late Wednesday's) college football training camps:
- USC experienced a scary moment during a scrimmage late Wednesday when a defensive end reportedly rolled into quarterback Cody Kessler's leg as he was trying to recover a fumbled snap. Kessler did go to the sideline after the play, but returned just a few snaps later, and the Trojans were able to exhale. Leonard Williams, Antwuan Woods, Su'a Cravens and a few other starters also sat out the Trojans' scrimmage.
- Staying out West, what happens if a Washington coach faces a bit of traffic before heading to practice in the morning? Apparently defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake makes sure he doesn't have to deal with that issue. According to the school's website, Lake jumps in his boat and takes it to work.
- Losing perhaps your most talented offensive lineman is not a good thing for any team, much less an Army program that went 3-9 last season. But the Black Knights will play without right tackle Justin Gilbert (6-foot-7, 271 pounds) this season, as he has been lost to a knee injury. He was one of two returning offensive linemen who started all 12 games last season. And guys his size are rare at Army. Todd McDonald (6-0, 260), who had been the backup center, seems likely to take over for Gilbert.
- Not that depth charts released in mid-August mean all that much, but true freshman Trevor Darling is listed as the starting right tackle for Miami. Darling (6-5, 310) is from powerhouse Miami Central High and is in line to be one of three new starters up front for the Hurricanes. It was also surprising that true freshman Trent Harris (6-3, 238) is one of the listed starters at defensive end. Finally, it's worth noting that junior Dallas Crawford (5-10, 196), who started six games at tailback last season when Duke Johnson was hurt, was listed as a starting safety on the new depth chart. There has been no decision as to the starting quarterback, with well-traveled senior Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya in the hunt for the job.
- Virginia Tech fifth-year senior offensive tackle Mark Shuman (6-7, 315) is giving up football because of continued problems with his right knee. He was a potential starter at right tackle for the Hokies, but decided to give up football after a third injury in as many years to his knee. Shuman, who had played in just 10 games in his career, already has a sociology degree and is working toward earning a history degree, too.
- TCU is widely expected to trot out Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel at quarterback when it opens the season, but head coach Gary Patterson is saying not so fast on that one. Speaking after the team's scrimmage, Patterson said junior Trevone Boykin holds a slight edge in the race.
- Alabama coach Nick Saban mentioned in his press conference on Thursday that Cyrus Jones, Landon Collins, D.J. Pettway and Reggie Ragland are the Crimson Tide players that have had a good camp. Also of note for Alabama: the program hosted the Obic Seagulls -- Japan's semi-pro national champion football team -- during practice on Wednesday.
- There was tough news from Georgia on Thursday, as the school announced that fullback Merritt Hall was medically disqualified for recurrent concussions. Hall played in 25 games the past two seasons, including seven starts.
- Cal's defense was among the worst in the FBS last season, and while the team should be better on that side of the ball, the Bears took a hit on the injury front. According to head coach Sonny Dykes, potential starting middle linebacker Nathan Broussard suffered a second ACL tear in as many years. That comes on the heels of backup safety Quentin Tartabull also suffering an ACL tear this week. Rough times in Berkeley.