Butch Jones to name Tennessee’s starting QB next week

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Butch Jones plans to name a starting quarterback for the Aug. 31 season opener with Austin Peay early next week.

While speaking at the university’s annual Welcome Back Barbecue on Wednesday, Jones said he would name a winner of the four-man competition “the first of next week.”

Junior Justin Worley has been competing with redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman and freshmen Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson for the right to take over for the departed Tyler Bray, who threw for 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns last season.

Vanderbilt

Franklin SAYS Team has dealt with rape case: In Nashville, Tenn., Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said Wednesday he has tried to keep his football team busy and limit the distraction of the ongoing rape case.

Four former Commodores are charged with raping an unconscious woman in a campus dormitory, and Franklin’s second-best receiver, suspended from the team, has been indicted as an accessory after the fact for advising someone how to cover it all up.

Franklin said players and coaches haven’t ignored the situation, but after discussing it are trying to move forward.

Franklin used preseason camp to keep the Commodores busy, but camp ended Tuesday. Still, the players didn’t have time to dwell on the five men being arraigned Wednesday — classes started Wednesday at Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt’s season opener is Aug. 29 against Ole Miss.

Arkansas

TEAM LOSES ANOTHER RECEIVER: In Little Rock, Ark., Arkansas has lost his second wide receiver in as many weeks, coach Bret Bielema said Wednesday.

Bielema said Wednesday that sophomore D’Arthur Cowan broke a foot and would be out 6-8 weeks. Last week, senior Demetrius Wilson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and faces surgery that will keep him out all season.

Cowan caught three passes for 14 yards last year but was being counted on after Wilson’s injury.

Mississippi State

Secondary playing without stars: In Starkville, Miss., Mississippi State’s secondary is missing much of the star power that made it so good for three seasons. Safety Jay Hughes said that might not be such a bad thing.

Hughes said cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay — both now in the NFL — were terrific players, but the Bulldogs might have become too reliant on their playmaking abilities as the team lost five of six games to end last season.

The new secondary will get a difficult test in the opener against No. 13 Oklahoma State on Aug. 30 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

The Cowboys averaged about 45 points per game last season.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Hughes said Mississippi State has the ability to stop Oklahoma State, but must communicate against the up-tempo Cowboys.