On Aug. 26, Butch Jones explained to the media his reasoning for naming Justin Worley the UT starting quarterback.
While doing so, Jones recalled a conversation with Worley that took place the day before.
"The mark of a great quarterback is leading your team to victory in the one-minute drill on the road and having that poise and that confidence that it takes to manage an entire offense," Jones told the junior signal caller.
In Saturday's 23-21 win over No. 11 South Carolina, Worley embodied that criteria by directing the Vols on a late, game-clinching drive.But on Tuesday, Jones reiterated what the next step is for his squad as they prepare for a trip to No. 1 Alabama on Saturday, drawing from what he told Worley before the season.
"The next evolution for this football team," Jones said, "is learning how to win on the road."
By comparison, former UT quarterback Tyler Bray threw three interceptions against UGA in UT's 2012 loss and fumbled late in the fourth quarter with the Vols trailing by seven. The Bulldogs hung on for a 51-44 win.
Against South Carolina, a late turnover again got the best of Bray when the Gamecocks' Jadeveon Clowney stripped him on a potential game-winning drive in the waning moments of the game.Those kind of crucial miscues were vacant on Saturday for Worley and the Vols.
"Anytime you don't turn the football over, you have an opportunity to win a football game," Jones said Monday. "We talk about playing disciplined football, and that was a very talented and physical defense that we played Saturday and we didn't turn the football over."
Talented and physical may be understatements in describing the Crimson Tide defense the Vols will face Saturday.
Alabama opponents are averaging less than 10 points a game in 2013, which ranks first in the nation.
"They do not make many mistakes," Worley said. "They are a very fundamentally sound team. They have a lot of depth and experience. They are a well put-together team."
Worley spoke openly of an improved confidence within the offense, attributing it partly to the success he had against Georgia and South Carolina.
"Those were great strides," Jones said of avoiding turnovers. "Again, that is part of the formula to winning football games and playing winning football."