KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Quinten Dormady has to go back to his middle school days in Texas to think of the last time the Tennessee junior played in a two-quarterback system. He may encounter that scenario once again this season.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Quinten Dormady has to go back to his middle school days in Texas to think of the last time the Tennessee junior played in a two-quarterback system.
He may encounter that scenario once again this season.
Dormady is competing for the starting job with redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano, and the Tennessee coaches are open to rotating quarterbacks.
"We are just here to win a championship, so whatever that looks like, whatever we have to do to get there, I think as an overall team and offensive unit, I think that people are definitely willing to do that," Dormady said Saturday after Tennessee's first preseason practice. "So whatever happens, we will go with it and do our best to try to get us back to the top."
Tennessee opens the season on Sept. 4 against Georgia Tech at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta as part of the Chick-fil-A-Kickoff.
For the first time since 2014, the Vols will have someone other than Joshua Dobbs, now a rookie with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, starting at quarterback.
No quarterback on Tennessee's roster has started in college, while Dormady is the only quarterback to play in a game, completing 24 of 39 passes for 357 yards in 10 games as Dobbs' backup.
During Tennessee's weather-shortened spring game, Dormady was 10 for 10 for 120 yards and two touchdowns while Guarantano finished 4 for 5 for 41 yards.
Although some give the 6-foot-4, 222-pound Dormady a slight edge to start, he doesn't consider himself the front-runner.
"I don't really look at it like that," said Dormady, who got engaged this summer. "Obviously, it's an open competition. Everybody here knows that. We know that. Like I have said all spring, it's just going out and competing every day. Like I've said, working on the little details and fundamentals and just trying to improve my game."
Both quarterbacks led the team through 7-on-7 sessions this summer to build chemistry with their teammates and demonstrate leadership.
Guarantano says that work has helped him process a bit quicker, figure out his footwork and work on his arm strength. Since signing with the Vols as a highly-ranked recruit out New Jersey, Guarantano has received a lot of hype for his potential.
He knows being a quarterback at Tennessee brings a massive spotlight.
"I am used to the pressure. Growing up my dad was always on me. Growing up I had a lot of cameras in my face, so I am kind of used to it," Guarantano told reporters. "I know it's not nearly as much as this right here, but I think that I can handle it and I think that I am ready for the big stage."
Tennessee coach Butch Jones was encouraged by the quarterbacks' first day with the Vols' new-look offense.
"You could tell they're progressing, they were quicker from spring. Their decision-making process was much better," Jones said. "But again, we don't have pads on. When all of a sudden you got a live rush coming at you, some things change."
The quarterbacks' leadership styles differ.
Dormady is "a little more stoic, a little more poised," according to new quarterbacks coach Mike Canales with Guarantano more outgoing with a "personality that glows."
But Dormady isn't afraid to show a more fiery side only when needed.
"I am not just going to yell to yell at people," Dormady said..
Picking a starter may not happen until opening week. Until then, Dormady and Guarantano hope to bring out the best in each other to make the coaches' decision even harder.
"Everybody comes here to start. That's the goal," Dormady said.