Vols rolling the dice with Justin Worley

Even before last week's Alabama game, Tennessee coach Derek Dooley said the thought entered his mind that true freshman quarterback Justin Worley might have to play this season.

As it turns out, he's not just playing. He's starting Saturday against South Carolina and has never thrown a collegiate pass.

Worley takes over for senior Matt Simms, who was ineffective the last two games while filling in for the injured Tyler Bray.

And who could blame Dooley at this point for looking for any spark, even if it does mean burning Worley's redshirt season?

"We feel good about Justin no matter how he plays on Saturday," Dooley said. "He has a real bright future. We have a lot of confidence in him going into this game. But as we all know, when it’s your first game as a true freshman, anything can happen."

Dooley said he went into both the LSU and Alabama games knowing it was a possibility Worley could play. But throwing him in there now would seem to suggest he's probably going to be the Vols' quarterback the rest of the way, although there's a chance Bray could be back for the last game or two of the regular season.

"There’s never a time you don’t go into a game making sure your No. 2 is prepared no matter what happens in a game," Dooley said. "It’s certainly something at the beginning of the year that we didn’t want to do, but I know it’s a great opportunity for him and something I feel like we need to do to try and generate some wins down the stretch."