(CBSSPORTS) - Justin Worley's thumb injury has apparently opened the door for true freshman Josh Dobbs to receive his first career start as Tennessee's quarterback.
That comes via CBSSports.com's own Bruce Feldman ( @BFeldmanCBS):
#Vols will start true FR Josh Dobbs at QB vs #Missouri, per source ..was 1st reported by JimmyHyams.
Tennessee plays Missouri in Columbia this Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
After starting seven of Tennessee's first eight games, Worley appeared to aggravate a thumb injury first suffered in the Vols' upset of South Carolina during the first half of last week's 45-10 loss to Alabama. Butch Jones elected to pull the redshirt off of Dobbs at halftime, with the Alpharetta, Ga. native playing the entirety of the second half and finishing 5-of-12 for 75 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.
GoVols247.com's Wes Rucker reported Tuesday that Worley "won't be able to play" at Missouri, though how much longer the junior might be out is still up in the air. Jones told reporters Monday that any of his four scholarship quarterbacks -- Dobbs, Worley, Nathan Peterman, or second true freshman Riley Ferguson -- might see the field against the Tigers, though both Worley and Peterman are battling thumb issues.
As for Dobbs, while facing the No. 10 Tigers might not be quite as daunting a challenge as making his debut on the road against the nation's No. 1-ranked scoring defense, it won't be easy with Gary Pinkel's team now stinging from its late collapse against South Carolina and fighting to maintain its lead atop the SEC East standings. The good news is that as a four-star recruit ranked at No. 107 in the 2013 Top247 and a top-10 pro-style quarterback nationally, Dobbs has the physical talent to excel in Jones's offense.
The bad news, unfortunately, is that Dobbs is still a true freshman that started the season no better than third string behind Worley and Peterman -- and that a loss in Columbia would leave his team with five for the season, and in continued danger of missing the postseason for a third straight year.