Coaches open up about challenges facing Bray

Scenes and outtakes from the Vols media day

Tyler Bray has the arm.

The Tennessee true freshman has enough ability.

He's also already piled up some impressive numbers through two scrimmages with the Vols.

But for all the positives Bray brings to the table in a race to take over the UT offense this fall, there appears to be one big difference between he and junior-college transfer Matt Simms as they near the midway point in camp. The adjustment to another level, the speed of the college game and its complex offenses takes time - and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw knows firsthand how challenging that can be from his playing days back at Central Florida.

"I can identify with Tyler in a lot of ways," Hinshaw said. "I know what Tyler's going through. Some things just come with reps, and that's what you need because when you first start off it just feels like you can't ever get the game to slow down. It feels like when someone blitzes there's 50 guys blitzing instead of just two.

"Then as you start to get it, you start understanding where everything is and where the blitz is coming from and how to handle it, where the (middle linebacker) is and all the different coverages, that kind of stuff. Tyler's getting better. From the first day of spring to where he is now, he's gotten better - it's a learning curve."

The rate of progression is different for everybody though, so there's no real way of knowing exactly when Bray might be completely ready for the Vols.

As a freshman, Bray was unavailable for comment during UT's media day at Neyland Stadium on Sunday, just hours after turning in another solid statistical performance in the second scrimmage of camp. Combined in those outings Bray is 27-for-50 for 399 yards and a touchdown according to numbers provided by the program, and perhaps more important, he hasn't been charged with a turnover.

Bray certainly appears to be keeping the heat on Simms, but there's still one critical area of evaluation where there seems to be a decided edge for the favorite to win the job.

"Matt, of course, the reason he's been ahead of him is because he's got two or three more years of that (administration)," Vols coach Derek Dooley said. "That's not necessarily (experience) in our system, but just that running the offense.

"It's hard, it's wordy, it's a lot of formations, a lot of moving and shifting, and what happens is the play comes in and you start thinking about what you've got to do. Then you forget about communicating with the other 10 guys and getting them right before you do your thing right. That slows him down a little bit, and it's going to come in time."

The Vols don't exactly have a lot of it to spare with the opener closing in and no real depth at the most important position on the field. Dooley has repeatedly stressed that he would need two quarterbacks to get through the season, and given his roster, he can't afford a redshirt season that Bray might have been able to put to good use.

So instead, Dooley and Hinshaw have a little less than three weeks to get Bray up to speed - and the game to slow down.

"Every kid is different, and for a true freshman, it's always hard," Hinshaw said. "But he had a spring in him. With Tyler, I have to continue to stay on him and test him, get him ready to play mentally.

"As far as the administration of the game, be able to tell the other 10 guys the play, be able to get them to the line of scrimmage, make sure he's looking at the play-clock, be able to identify the defense - all those things that he's doing, we've just got to speed it up with him."

The clock is ticking.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 57

wstalker writes:

Well, if Matt Simms plays anything like his brother did last night for the Titans we are going to put Bray in early. Keep your head up and GO VOLS!!

keepitreal4vols writes:

Dooley knows what QB is best fit to lead the offense. But I sure hope Matt Simms is nothing like his brother Chris. That guy was awful in the Titans preseason game last night, and it was against Seattles 2nd team D. Yikes!

rudy123 writes:

I am not a coach, but I truly feel that Bray can play now. Ainge and Shafer played against UNLV in the season opener as freshmen. Bray had the advantage of spring practice too so he is probably better prepared than Shafer or Ainge were during the season opener.

FolxyWhite writes:

"between he...."?????

Where did you study English?

realmenwearorange writes:

tyler will be good in time just let the coaches do the coaching and his ability will show through

RaineyVol writes:

I think Dooley is doing an awesome job with the players... they respect him and respect his decisions .. good years ahead!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

The important thing will be for the fans to be patient, and to not constantly be calling for Matt's head.

My take is that Bray will play every game, getting some reps and running some set packages that fit his ability and experience. He might do really well at it, which will make fans go 'he should start now'. What they won't realize is that he's not having to run the full offense, and if he where, he wouldn't be doing as well.

I don't see these coaches being like CPF. I think they will play who can get the job done.

totoiv writes:

While it is not the best situation, freshman QBs will be starting at a variety of teams across the country and some will be very successful. The VOLS over the years have been beaten a few times by freshman QBs. But, for some reason Dooley has been really playing up Simms. I only saw the Orange and White game and Simms did not look good. He looked nervous, threw into double coverage, and his passes were flat. I thought Bray looked a lot better. What makes me nevous is this smells a little like a Fulmer decision - to go with Simms for the first three games and then after the Florida blow out - switch to Bray. And then say I should be playing talent over experience. I hope I am wrong. But, I feel if we are going to take the lumps in rebuilding lets go with Bray and have him 4 years instead of a iffy Simms for 2 and Bray for 3.

alwaysVol writes:

the NFL is alot different than College, even the best College QB's fail in the NFL. so who cares what Chris did for the Titans on Saturday night. it has nothing to do with Matt. hey maybe he will be more like his dad than brother.

alwaysVol writes:

in response to totoiv:

While it is not the best situation, freshman QBs will be starting at a variety of teams across the country and some will be very successful. The VOLS over the years have been beaten a few times by freshman QBs. But, for some reason Dooley has been really playing up Simms. I only saw the Orange and White game and Simms did not look good. He looked nervous, threw into double coverage, and his passes were flat. I thought Bray looked a lot better. What makes me nevous is this smells a little like a Fulmer decision - to go with Simms for the first three games and then after the Florida blow out - switch to Bray. And then say I should be playing talent over experience. I hope I am wrong. But, I feel if we are going to take the lumps in rebuilding lets go with Bray and have him 4 years instead of a iffy Simms for 2 and Bray for 3.

not sure how much you follow this site, but a few weeks ago Dooley explained that Matt really had no idea what was going on in the spring game.Dooley feels that matt does have a good feel of the offense now.

nola_vol writes:

One perspective is missing in this discussion, so far.

As a coach, you know what's going on in the head of someone progressing up the learning curve. You're able to control aspects like speeding things up, adding complexity, mimicking game conditions, etc.

BUT... what if that freshman gets in over his head and FAILS, suffering a crisis of confidence? As a coach, you no longer know WHAT's going through his mind. You can't tell if he's double-thinking before acting, fighting off inner accusations, doubting if his teammates still have confidence in him, etc.

As long as a coach KNOWS what his student is thinking/feeling, he can bring him along to the next step in the learning progression with his confidence intact. But once doubt and self-questioning creep into the student's mind, the coach gets caught in a guessing game, with no idea whether what he's saying is helping the student or merely adding to his predicament.

The coach wants to KEEP the confidence-level of his QB high. When that confidence is high AND stable, the coach can focus on bringing him up the learning curve until his level of understanding MATCHES his level of confidence. Then you've got yourself a starting quarterback.

But once you find yourself trying to manipulate both levels at the same time, you're caught in a time-consuming guessing game with a "head case QB" of your own creation--AS IS the rest of your team. That's why coaches appear (to fans) to be too hesitant to put young players into games that count.

Hounddog writes:

I think we are going to see both play and play often. Both need game experience and to run the team. If Simms goes down Bray has to be ready and vice versa. Let's play some football. Hounddog

FatherVol writes:

Someone needs to send Mr. Ward back to English Grammar class. I couldn't read any further than the fourth paragraph and elementary school grammatical errors like "...between he and junior college transfer...." UGH!

jobrando#216494 writes:

I fully expect Bray in early this season. He and his family made a great decision coming to UT A fantastic opportunity is waiting for him this season.

whistlinwingman writes:

in response to always_vol:

The important thing will be for the fans to be patient, and to not constantly be calling for Matt's head.

My take is that Bray will play every game, getting some reps and running some set packages that fit his ability and experience. He might do really well at it, which will make fans go 'he should start now'. What they won't realize is that he's not having to run the full offense, and if he where, he wouldn't be doing as well.

I don't see these coaches being like CPF. I think they will play who can get the job done.

Agree totally

pdhuff#552644 writes:

I have faith in Dooley.

That faith includes Bray getting an opportunity to see what he can do under game duress.

Unlike some recent other youngsters.

The mountain of Oregon is not that far away.

Slurp!

quickslant writes:

in response to FolxyWhite:

"between he...."?????

Where did you study English?

Gee-whiz, this is a football chat board.
Get over yourself, grammar police officer...

quickslant writes:

in response to FatherVol:

Someone needs to send Mr. Ward back to English Grammar class. I couldn't read any further than the fourth paragraph and elementary school grammatical errors like "...between he and junior college transfer...." UGH!

Gee-whiz, this is a football chat board.
Get over yourself....

StuAberdeeneFan writes:

I've been following Bray before he committed to the Vols. Pro scouts were already saying they would put their money on Bray as having the most potential of any incoming freshman quarterback in the country. Lets see, he's @ 6'7", has an incredible arm, and is being put into a Tightend system. What a nightmare for defenses! Vol coaches talking about him having no turnovers. Looks like all he needs is someone to invest in him and an OL. GO VOLS!!!

Brillovol writes:

in response to always_vol:

The important thing will be for the fans to be patient, and to not constantly be calling for Matt's head.

My take is that Bray will play every game, getting some reps and running some set packages that fit his ability and experience. He might do really well at it, which will make fans go 'he should start now'. What they won't realize is that he's not having to run the full offense, and if he where, he wouldn't be doing as well.

I don't see these coaches being like CPF. I think they will play who can get the job done.

Agree to be patient. We've gotta remember this when Simms starts throwing incompletions against Oregon or Florida. I doubt we will see Bray in non-mop-up duty until the final few weeks of the season, though. Just the thought of all he's having to learn made MY palms sweat!

bloodrunsorange writes:

in response to rabidvolfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I totally agree and with his WOODSON promoting father too!

PHAT_VOL writes:

in response to nola_vol:

One perspective is missing in this discussion, so far.

As a coach, you know what's going on in the head of someone progressing up the learning curve. You're able to control aspects like speeding things up, adding complexity, mimicking game conditions, etc.

BUT... what if that freshman gets in over his head and FAILS, suffering a crisis of confidence? As a coach, you no longer know WHAT's going through his mind. You can't tell if he's double-thinking before acting, fighting off inner accusations, doubting if his teammates still have confidence in him, etc.

As long as a coach KNOWS what his student is thinking/feeling, he can bring him along to the next step in the learning progression with his confidence intact. But once doubt and self-questioning creep into the student's mind, the coach gets caught in a guessing game, with no idea whether what he's saying is helping the student or merely adding to his predicament.

The coach wants to KEEP the confidence-level of his QB high. When that confidence is high AND stable, the coach can focus on bringing him up the learning curve until his level of understanding MATCHES his level of confidence. Then you've got yourself a starting quarterback.

But once you find yourself trying to manipulate both levels at the same time, you're caught in a time-consuming guessing game with a "head case QB" of your own creation--AS IS the rest of your team. That's why coaches appear (to fans) to be too hesitant to put young players into games that count.

Very well put. Look at what happened to Crompton. When his confidence was shattered and then with proper coaching and his confidence restored how well he played. It was like two different players. Remember our offensive coordinator has brought more than one quarter back along. Also this is his second year as the O.C. A good decision by coach D. to retain him.
GO VOLS !

Hounddog writes:

in response to FatherVol:

Someone needs to send Mr. Ward back to English Grammar class. I couldn't read any further than the fourth paragraph and elementary school grammatical errors like "...between he and junior college transfer...." UGH!

Forgive him Father, he has sinned. Hounddog

Tennacious writes:

An effective running game will be essential no matter which QB plays. Early in the season, getting them in and out of the huddle and making the correct decisions and calls once over the ball trumps a stronger arm. Tennessee has won with good game managers who have limited QB skills (remember Rick Clausen) before.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

in response to FolxyWhite:

"between he...."?????

Where did you study English?

That's actually an acceptable sentence structure.

OrangePride writes:

Reading this board, I already see a potential issue. The moment Simms does not look like he's getting things done, the clamor to replace him with Bray will begin..........just as it did for Crompton and Stephans. But we saw what happened as Crompton improved and grew over the season. Let's hope we all have the patience and understanding to realize that there will be ups and downs regardless of which QB is under center. Let's give this staff and our QB some space and support as they get this team up and running. SO GO VOLS!!! IT'S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!

Ayres_Hall writes:

I see some of you are still dwelling on the decision of a 17 year old (Chris Simms) made many years ago. Amazing.

Matt is Matt and not anyone else. He's the guy who'll be leading the team on Saturdays. I suggest you get behind him and support him. Tyler Bray will get his turn when he earns it and we should all hope that doesn't happen until 2012.

Pompey writes:

in response to FolxyWhite:

"between he...."?????

Where did you study English?

....dude,do you have anything of substance to contribute?

willaustin writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

That's actually an acceptable sentence structure.

You're correct, just because they've never heard it around the water cooler, doesn't mean it's incorrect.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to nola_vol:

One perspective is missing in this discussion, so far.

As a coach, you know what's going on in the head of someone progressing up the learning curve. You're able to control aspects like speeding things up, adding complexity, mimicking game conditions, etc.

BUT... what if that freshman gets in over his head and FAILS, suffering a crisis of confidence? As a coach, you no longer know WHAT's going through his mind. You can't tell if he's double-thinking before acting, fighting off inner accusations, doubting if his teammates still have confidence in him, etc.

As long as a coach KNOWS what his student is thinking/feeling, he can bring him along to the next step in the learning progression with his confidence intact. But once doubt and self-questioning creep into the student's mind, the coach gets caught in a guessing game, with no idea whether what he's saying is helping the student or merely adding to his predicament.

The coach wants to KEEP the confidence-level of his QB high. When that confidence is high AND stable, the coach can focus on bringing him up the learning curve until his level of understanding MATCHES his level of confidence. Then you've got yourself a starting quarterback.

But once you find yourself trying to manipulate both levels at the same time, you're caught in a time-consuming guessing game with a "head case QB" of your own creation--AS IS the rest of your team. That's why coaches appear (to fans) to be too hesitant to put young players into games that count.

That is why I think Tyler will come in for a series or two to run set packages.

Ultimately, he may be the 'designated passer' for 3rd down and long, that sort of thing.

When you read CDD's comments, it seems like Tyler gets rattled about blitzes, getting the plays in and called, or anything 'on the fly'.

He just might be the starter by year's end, but it's up to him to calm down and learn the progressions (and manage the game).

If any QB could have learned ANYTHING from Jon Crompton, it was game management. Seems to me the guy was great at it.

gnm53108 writes:

Is anybody else feeling deja vu?

I'm getting the feeling this staff will go with exp/maturity over tallent.

We use to have a coach that won alot of games that way but received alot of criticism for taking that approach.

AllforTenn writes:

"between he and junior-college transfer..." What terrible grammar for a sportswriter. Try "between him and ..." instead, or maybe go back to junior high school.

givehim6 writes:

in response to wallandhiker:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He is our future after all Simms was just brought in to be a temporary fix that is what most JRCT are for anyway, just hope Bray turns out to be as smart of a QB as Manning was for UT.

FWBVol writes:

Some fans are saying Bray looked better than Simms in the spring game, and I agree. But what many fans are forgetting is the defense wasn't allowed to blitz and do some other stunts that Bray will see in a game.

From what I understand, the defense has opened things up in the scrimmages, but it's still not the same as seeing a package that Florida or Alabama might throw at him.

CDD has said all along we will need both quarterbacks this year so I'm sure we will see plenty of Tyler Bray.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Reading this board, I already see a potential issue. The moment Simms does not look like he's getting things done, the clamor to replace him with Bray will begin..........just as it did for Crompton and Stephans. But we saw what happened as Crompton improved and grew over the season. Let's hope we all have the patience and understanding to realize that there will be ups and downs regardless of which QB is under center. Let's give this staff and our QB some space and support as they get this team up and running. SO GO VOLS!!! IT'S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!

Totally agree OrangePride! CDD knows right now who will be the starting QB, but certainly is not telling the other teams. Tyler will get his chances in games. Matt will do a good job and be productive, if he's not CDD will put Tyler in.

IMO, both will see playing time in certain situations and CDD will let the 2 QB's win the job on the field.

If CDD starts Matt Simms then Matt is OUR QB until OUR COACH says different!

Put the women and children to bed and let's go hunting dinner VOLNATION! LET'S GET IT UP, GO, GO, GO!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

alwaysVol writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Is anybody else feeling deja vu?

I'm getting the feeling this staff will go with exp/maturity over tallent.

We use to have a coach that won alot of games that way but received alot of criticism for taking that approach.

nope, I don't get that feeling.

martintnvol writes:

in response to FatherVol:

Someone needs to send Mr. Ward back to English Grammar class. I couldn't read any further than the fourth paragraph and elementary school grammatical errors like "...between he and junior college transfer...." UGH!

Thought this was a free flowing football discussion, not a grammer lesson.

HtownVol writes:

I am so excited about Bray, but if you look at the videos of Justin Worley, Justin looks even better.
I sure hope we can keep Justin if so the next 3 years will be very exciting for UT fans. With both Justin and Tyler the 2 will only make each other better.

Couple the 2 of them with our outstanding young WRs and O-Line, UTs offene will be in great shape for a few years at least (we must go through this one year of learning, although it may surprise everyone if they turn out to be better than expected).

If CDD and staff continue to recruit top 10-15 classes UT will not be in this "down" period for very long. With 3 coaching staffs in 3 years it is to be expected. But all the other fans of the big boys act like their school would survive the same situation.

In 3 years we will be able to forget about this "down" time the same way Bama fans forget about Shula, and UF fans forget about Zook. Isnt it funny how they act like they were not in the same situation 5 years ago?

VOLliven2it writes:

If, If, If...If Sept. 4th doesn't arrive soon I am going to lose my mind with all the speculation, the this, the that. Man, let's gear up to watch some college football and give our best as excited fans for all of the VOLUNTEERS! I can hardly wait!

VolGrad writes:

Enough with the English grammar tutorials please.

Let's play some football!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to alwaysVol:

nope, I don't get that feeling.

So far he has done exactly that.

Db,lb,dt,de,wr,te,ol,rb,and qb.

He might change as the season progresses but he's gonna start the season with the player with the most exp.

hueypilot writes:

Who said the best thing about freshman was in a year they would be sophomores? Anybody remember a pup named Peyton with the game on the line on the goalline against Bama failing to see a wide-open James Stewart over the middle and throwing a hurried pass to a wideout who had no chance to score even if he caught the pass, which he did not?

The mental aspect of the game and intangibles is what separates the Montana's the Staubach's and the Tarkenton's from the guys who could throw it across the Tennessee River, guys like Bobby Douglas George Mira, and Ryan Leaf. We've got to trust the coaching staff to put the player in the position who gives the team the best chance to win and qb, more than any other position requires the largest mental skill set to go along with the physical talents.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Is anybody else feeling deja vu?

I'm getting the feeling this staff will go with exp/maturity over tallent.

We use to have a coach that won alot of games that way but received alot of criticism for taking that approach.

Man, don't even go there.

Hopefully, this new corch will do things his way and put his stamp on this reeling program.

Corch 'em up, Dooley!

Brillovol writes:

in response to Ayres_Hall:

I see some of you are still dwelling on the decision of a 17 year old (Chris Simms) made many years ago. Amazing.

Matt is Matt and not anyone else. He's the guy who'll be leading the team on Saturdays. I suggest you get behind him and support him. Tyler Bray will get his turn when he earns it and we should all hope that doesn't happen until 2012.

Not to be too critical, dude, but all I saw was one comment mentioning Chris, which unfairly mentioned one pro preseason game.

Fully agree that we hope not to see Tyler full-time until 2012.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Man, don't even go there.

Hopefully, this new corch will do things his way and put his stamp on this reeling program.

Corch 'em up, Dooley!

Haha

Not trying to rock the boat pd.Just from my perception thats what it looks like.

Get em coach Dooley!

volfan2002 writes:

No reason not to start Simms in the first game and let Bray play a few series. We'll learn about Simms really early with Oregon and Florida. If he does well he will stay and If not I think Bray will be the man for the rest of the season.

keepitreal4vols writes:

in response to FatherVol:

Someone needs to send Mr. Ward back to English Grammar class. I couldn't read any further than the fourth paragraph and elementary school grammatical errors like "...between he and junior college transfer...." UGH!

I agree, It was so confusing I thought I was reading an article about UT football and a QB battle. Shame on Mr. Ward for misleading me.

TennCup writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Enough with the English grammar tutorials please.

Let's play some football!

Yeah. Really. No need to berate the guy. Minus 5. Move along.

ghawk writes:

in response to totoiv:

While it is not the best situation, freshman QBs will be starting at a variety of teams across the country and some will be very successful. The VOLS over the years have been beaten a few times by freshman QBs. But, for some reason Dooley has been really playing up Simms. I only saw the Orange and White game and Simms did not look good. He looked nervous, threw into double coverage, and his passes were flat. I thought Bray looked a lot better. What makes me nevous is this smells a little like a Fulmer decision - to go with Simms for the first three games and then after the Florida blow out - switch to Bray. And then say I should be playing talent over experience. I hope I am wrong. But, I feel if we are going to take the lumps in rebuilding lets go with Bray and have him 4 years instead of a iffy Simms for 2 and Bray for 3.

You're right you are wrong....you don't see them everyday and know nothing abut the systems...Bray might have more talent although that is unproven...both have very good arms according to all reports...they both will play so we will see as we go along. Qback is so mental that Bray may not be ready and he needs to develop physically. I hope he turns out to be one of the all time greats, but we need to give him time. Funny how the second team qback is always the best player. Nobody making 2 mil is going to risk his job by not playing his best players except maybe CLK.

OrangePride writes:

in response to LaTechLegend:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Crompton may have been a fifth year senior and might well have been more developed.......but I seriously doubt that work ethic had as much to do with that as the coaching. Neither of us have that answer, but if this staff brings along this year's QB the same way Crompton developed last year, we will be thrilled. And, BTW, I'm not convinced that throwing a freshman in there early is a good idea if the coaches feel he's not game ready on speed and reads. That's how you get good young players banged up both physically and mentally. Let Dooley decide when and where to bring Bray into the rotation. I'm certain he will see game action and considerable playing time at some point.....but let the coaches make those decisions without our second guessing them every game..........as was done too often over the last two years.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features