Dooley: Vol QBs 'young,' 'new'

Simms, Bray, Nance have no experience

The only quarterback with starting experience at Tennessee left during spring practice.

Another who spent a year in the program soon followed.

So when Derek Dooley opens his first camp with the Vols next week, the new coach will go to work with a junior-college transfer and a pair of true freshmen at the top of the depth chart - naturally not a situation that generates much envy from his peers.

In the short term, that lack of snaps could be a big problem for UT. But at some point every quarterback has to take his first one, and Dooley will at least be able to oversee the whole process from start to finish.

"All I can say is it's a work in progress," Dooley said last week. "They're young, they're new, and we'll see where it all takes us."

The combination of young and new isn't ideal at the most important position on the field, though the Vols at least have some things to feel good about heading into their first practice on Wednesday.

Matt Simms will enter as the favorite after a productive spring and even better summer, growing into a leadership role and winning over his teammates with his command in the huddle. By his own admission he was learning on the fly during the 15 spring practices, though he's clearly become more comfortable with the offense and the program in the offseason.

Tyler Bray also has impressed with his strong arm, and though there's still room for more weight on his slight frame, the midterm enrollee also has been praised by veteran teammates for his maturity. How fellow freshman Nash Nance fits into the picture remains to be seen since he was a likely candidate for a redshirt until Nick Stephens and Nick Lamaison bolted from UT, but aside from maybe wanting more experience, nobody has had anything negative to offer about the guys that are around now.

"You know, there's a lot of contrast (between Simms and Bray), but they're both really good players," tight end Luke Stocker said. "They both can be special players, they have different personalities but they're both great leaders. We've been running seven-on-seven in our team work all summer, and both of them have been in there getting great reps, just working hard. It's been great.

"(Bray's) got a strong arm, especially for a young kid coming out of high school. You see a guy who's so skinny, you think he must have a lot of accuracy. I don't know about his velocity, but he can sling the ball, now. . . . And naturally, (Simms) is a very good leader, and when he speaks up, everyone kind of stops talking and looks at him. 'OK, what's the quarterback got to say?' Everyone kind of buys into what he's saying."

That influence in the locker room and on the field certainly helps give Simms an edge, and it gives him a great shot at winning the race to start the opener against UT-Martin.

Time will tell if he or Bray keep the job once they get it - but if they don't, Dooley will at least go from having zero quarterbacks with experience to two.

"Now, at the end of the day, neither of them have performed the way I know they're capable of performing because of the newness," Dooley said. "They were thrown right into the fire. They have to grow up quickly. They have to learn the offense quickly. They have to jell with the players on the team quickly.

"So it will be fun to watch both of their progress. I think both of them are extremely talented. They have a great future."

They won't have to wait long to start building for it, either.

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Comments » 86

TommyJack writes:

Ward = good.
Headline writer = bad.

VOLorado writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Ward = good.
Headline writer = bad.

i'd second that

1998_Retired_Army_Vol_Fan writes:

Question for you star counters out there.

Everybody talks about how many starts someone has. Does anybody know the number of 5 starts, 4 stars, 3 starts, and or 2 stars that were on the 1998 National Championship Team and if so of the 22 starters what was their stars? One last question for you, would you prefer a 5 star that does not win a National Champion Ship or a 3 star that does? Just asking what you know and think. By the way I don’t know the answer as to how many were 5 starts, 4 stars, 3 starts, and or 2 stars on that team and what was the stars of the starters. But I would like to know.

Go Vols

Bleed Orange always have and always will.

VolGrad writes:

All in favor of firing the copy/headline editor, say, "Aye!" All opposed...(shhhh). Motion carries.

GreerVol22 writes:

young? new? Crompton had a little bit of game exp but did anyone really expect what happened last year from him? Time will tell, cream will rise, players make plays, and good coaching fills in the gaps. nite all....

nocleats writes:

I see 8,9,10 in the box against Tenn and the QBs will have to make plays to stop it. It can be done.

lincolncovol writes:

Hope both of them have grown and improved, we will need both before the season is over.

RaineyVol writes:

in response to jrod:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

AHAHAHAHAH!

OrangePsyched writes:

I will be happy with Simms, Bray, or Nance. I hope teams stack the box as I think we have the receivers to burn them. I expect Stocker to be a busy man. He is really taking a leadership role also.

DaddyVol writes:

Sort of reminds me of Peyton coming in the game for the first time after our starter got hurt.

That seems to have turned out alright.

2-0 heading into the Florida game!!!

DannyVol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Ward = good.
Headline writer = bad.

The headlines are written by the editor, which in this case is a total hack named Adams.

DannyVol writes:

Leave, retire the words for KNS' sports editor.

Some of you scold me for criticizing Adams, but this is a prime example of why I do it. My first degree is in journalism and these editorial gaffes drive me insane -- especially coming from a guy who mocks UT football in some manner or another in every column he writes.

This was an especially good story by Ward that deserved some effort by the editor to create a good headline -- or at least an intelligible one. I suspect that if this story was about an arrest or about how we were picked 5th in the East, the headline would have been much snappier.

Thank you, Austin Ward. You always write informative and entertaining stories for your readers. Please keep up the good work.

Observer43 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Ward = good.
Headline writer = bad.

Agreed.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

We've been in this situation before;It's pretty much Simms job to lose or lead..Bray will have probably have a great career at UT similar to Ainge but Simms wasn't brought in to ride the pine..Dooley wants experience and Simms has it..It will be interesting to see how Chaney calls plays..We might see a lot of bootleg and roll outs like last year..Also personal summer workouts with new receivers is an important step to get a leg up.Simms is probably taking a leadership roll in that..From what little Ive seen of Nance he is a non factor because he tends to throw rainbow looking passes without the velocity Bray has and SEC cornerbacks will eat that up..Like I said before much will depend on Chaneys play calling..Oregon and FLA are looking at our new QB's and OL and licking their chops; thats for sure.

hangingtree writes:

Adams used to be bad, but now he is pretty good. He never was one to cover up bad news. He sometimes writes stuff to stir us up - which is a good thing from his position. The GVX was a learn on the job situation modeled after the Buckeye Extra in Columbus. Adams' relationship with the team and coaching staff appear much better in the last couple of years. Once he gets his BOSSES trained at KNS, I expect some sky rocketing improvements that will establish GVX as the premier "football school internet news" service. Service being the essential word.

GO VOLS!!!!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to OrangePsyched:

I will be happy with Simms, Bray, or Nance. I hope teams stack the box as I think we have the receivers to burn them. I expect Stocker to be a busy man. He is really taking a leadership role also.

If Chaney is smart Stocker could be big factor on those tough 3rd and 7yard situations..Bad part is opponents are well aware of the damage Stocker can do..I liked the way we used the FB running uncovered in the middle of the field last year

HsvAVol writes:

Sure looking forward to the videos from the practice field that I assume will be on this site beginning next week

gnm53108 writes:

in response to licknpromise777#651578:

If Chaney is smart Stocker could be big factor on those tough 3rd and 7yard situations..Bad part is opponents are well aware of the damage Stocker can do..I liked the way we used the FB running uncovered in the middle of the field last year

Expect Stocker to be our leading receiver this year.

Coach Dooley loves TE's.

gnm53108 writes:

Advice to our young qb's.

1.Throw only to those players that have a big orange T on their helmet.

2.Dont drop the ball.

3.No bounce passes.

Ironcity writes:

in response to OrangePsyched:

I will be happy with Simms, Bray, or Nance. I hope teams stack the box as I think we have the receivers to burn them. I expect Stocker to be a busy man. He is really taking a leadership role also.

Why will teams stack the box with our O line? 6 will probably do the trick to stop the run. For us to have an average year a lot of players are going to have to mature well beyond where they have been in the past. I want to be optimistic but in my 50's I have chosen to be realistic.

wsmows writes:

Have to agree whats up with the headline.

PlaidinOrangeandWhite writes:

These QB's need to study! Study the playbook; study in the film room; and then study some more. Eat, Breath, Sleep football! That's what Manning did!

scvols writes:

I hope our OL will give them some time.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to PlaidinOrangeandWhite:

These QB's need to study! Study the playbook; study in the film room; and then study some more. Eat, Breath, Sleep football! That's what Manning did!

And in Tyler's case do it all while carrying around a bucket of biscuits n gravy.

Orangeatang writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Orangeatang:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope you're not serious.

TennesseeTater writes:

When my daddy read this to me I thought we had a quarterback named Young, who was new.

Orangeatang writes:

in response to gnm53108:

I hope you're not serious.

I'm kidding, of course. But it's getting pretty desperate in big Orange country these days. Not pretty.

TennesseeTater writes:

in response to Orangeatang:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My daddy says that any of our boys who want to play like that should transfer to So. Cal.

Orangeatang writes:

in response to TennesseeTater:

My daddy says that any of our boys who want to play like that should transfer to So. Cal.

True, but most championship teams have at least one or two future felons on their teams, not to mention plenty of drunks and wife-beaters. Gotta have that element of aggression and hate on your team otherwise you're never going to truly compete. At least that's what my daddy always taught me.

Apkvol writes:

At least we have QB's to work with, we could be Ole Miss.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Orangeatang:

I'm kidding, of course. But it's getting pretty desperate in big Orange country these days. Not pretty.

Good.

It's not near as bad as some believe.

We're at the beginning of the Dooley era and I am excited as H#LL.

LiveFaith writes:

in response to Orangeatang:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Bag of Popcorn in the microwave right now.

Orangeatang writes:

in response to LiveFaith:

Bag of Popcorn in the microwave right now.

Come on guys!! Where is your sense of humor? Jeeeezzz. Just trying to get a few laughs!!

nola_vol writes:

in response to jrod:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Since everyone's already covered the football and editorial aspects, I'll take this one.

As a noun or verb, "gel" is the original, technically correct spelling for the coagulation of a colloidal liquid. The English word jelly seems to be merely an Anglicized re-spelling of the French word gelee. The trademark name "Jell-O" has dominated that product market for over a century. The resulting "genericized trademark" name "jello" has been a colloquialism for nearly as long.

American dictionaries have accepted "jel" as an acceptable, colloquial substitute for "gel" for well over 50 years.

...I'd been wondering when someone would finally ask.

TommyJack writes:

in response to Orangeatang:

Come on guys!! Where is your sense of humor? Jeeeezzz. Just trying to get a few laughs!!

and failing.

Orangeatang writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Good.

It's not near as bad as some believe.

We're at the beginning of the Dooley era and I am excited as H#LL.

I'm with you on Dooley. I just hope he isn't too much of a "do-gooder." There's a fine line these coaches have to walk. On the one hand, you have to preach morals and ethics, and on the other hand, you have to find ways to recruit and keep some unsavory yet talented players on your team. Saban has mastered this. Fulmer was actually good at this too (not that I'm a Fulmer fan). You have to basically fool the public into thinking you are all about character and morals while finding ways to keep these idiots out of trouble and on your roster. We can already see that Dooley is saying all the right things. I just hope he is still able to pull in some four and five star players with questionable character at times. Hopefully he's two-faced like Saban and Meyer and doesn't practice what he preaches.

Orangeatang writes:

in response to TommyJack:

and failing.

Lighten up dude. Life is too short. Of course, your posts are usually dull anyway.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to nola_vol:

Since everyone's already covered the football and editorial aspects, I'll take this one.

As a noun or verb, "gel" is the original, technically correct spelling for the coagulation of a colloidal liquid. The English word jelly seems to be merely an Anglicized re-spelling of the French word gelee. The trademark name "Jell-O" has dominated that product market for over a century. The resulting "genericized trademark" name "jello" has been a colloquialism for nearly as long.

American dictionaries have accepted "jel" as an acceptable, colloquial substitute for "gel" for well over 50 years.

...I'd been wondering when someone would finally ask.

Thank you, nola, I nearly spit coffee all over my monitor after reading that. Very nice, old chap! ;)

gnm53108 writes:

in response to Orangeatang:

I'm with you on Dooley. I just hope he isn't too much of a "do-gooder." There's a fine line these coaches have to walk. On the one hand, you have to preach morals and ethics, and on the other hand, you have to find ways to recruit and keep some unsavory yet talented players on your team. Saban has mastered this. Fulmer was actually good at this too (not that I'm a Fulmer fan). You have to basically fool the public into thinking you are all about character and morals while finding ways to keep these idiots out of trouble and on your roster. We can already see that Dooley is saying all the right things. I just hope he is still able to pull in some four and five star players with questionable character at times. Hopefully he's two-faced like Saban and Meyer and doesn't practice what he preaches.

Nope....dont agree.

I beleive that you can have tallent and character.We've had some with questionable character,but I dont see the conection with tallent.

Two-faced like saban and meyer?
Absolutley dont want or expect that.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to DaddyVol:

Sort of reminds me of Peyton coming in the game for the first time after our starter got hurt.

That seems to have turned out alright.

2-0 heading into the Florida game!!!

DaddyVol, You got that right dude!

Let's see by my Google Count, last year there were 11 starting freshman QB's in the FBS. Before the collapse of USC and Carroll, I think their freshman QB did OK.

The Big Orange will be OK with Simms or Bray. This Team and Staff is better than most people think, they will surprise people this year!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

Volchief writes:

in response to PlaidinOrangeandWhite:

These QB's need to study! Study the playbook; study in the film room; and then study some more. Eat, Breath, Sleep football! That's what Manning did!

That's what Manning does to this day! He, my friend, is an entirely different breed, but I'm sure you are well aware of this already. If Simms & Bray can emulate even 60 percent of Manning's work ethic on and off the field, then we will all be thoroughly satisfied.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

VandyGrad what would someone from Vaaanderbilt know about football, LOL?

Peyton and Tyler were working out side by side last month at UT, their size, arm strength, speed and delivery was like a mirror. Bray was an elite 11 and at those trials won that competion last year hands down, just saying.

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

TennesseeTater writes:

in response to Orangeatang:

I'm with you on Dooley. I just hope he isn't too much of a "do-gooder." There's a fine line these coaches have to walk. On the one hand, you have to preach morals and ethics, and on the other hand, you have to find ways to recruit and keep some unsavory yet talented players on your team. Saban has mastered this. Fulmer was actually good at this too (not that I'm a Fulmer fan). You have to basically fool the public into thinking you are all about character and morals while finding ways to keep these idiots out of trouble and on your roster. We can already see that Dooley is saying all the right things. I just hope he is still able to pull in some four and five star players with questionable character at times. Hopefully he's two-faced like Saban and Meyer and doesn't practice what he preaches.

My daddy says you were probably the guy that spit on him in a game once.

madmaxvol writes:

in response to DaddyVol:

Sort of reminds me of Peyton coming in the game for the first time after our starter got hurt.

That seems to have turned out alright.

2-0 heading into the Florida game!!!

Hmmmm. I remember rotating between Helton, Manning and Stewart when Colquitt was hurt against UCLA. Stewart actually gave us the best spark, but we lost that game. Manning's first start was against Mississippi State (after Helton was hurt against Georgia). We lost that one too. The following week we won a game over Washington state because of a blown goal line call by the refs. Probably should have been an 8-5 season (actually finished 9-4). That being said, if these qb's could pull off 8-5 season, I would be very pleased.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to madmaxvol:

Hmmmm. I remember rotating between Helton, Manning and Stewart when Colquitt was hurt against UCLA. Stewart actually gave us the best spark, but we lost that game. Manning's first start was against Mississippi State (after Helton was hurt against Georgia). We lost that one too. The following week we won a game over Washington state because of a blown goal line call by the refs. Probably should have been an 8-5 season (actually finished 9-4). That being said, if these qb's could pull off 8-5 season, I would be very pleased.

In 1994 Peyton won his 'First 2 Starts' against WSU and AR, he lost only to AL and was 6 & 1 that year as a starter! He did not start the MS State Game.

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

nola_vol writes:

Here's a thought that might even be true:

In the big picture of establishing a successful program, the most important thing Bray (aka Young) and Simms (aka New) can do this year is set a high standard for the QBs who follow them--in preparation, work ethic, film study, leadership, etc.

HOW they practice and prepare (even more than how they perform at game time) carries more importance for the long-run because their standards become the de facto benchmark. That will be absorbed by Nance, and then passed on to subsequent Vol quarterbacks.

VolGrad writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

...and Vandy is still a bottom feeder in the SEC. (nothing personal, just a couter-punch between rivals)

BTW, I really like your new coach, Robbie Caldwell. He is an absolute riot. (no sarcasm at all) He cracked me up at the SEC Media Days. I hope he and Vandy do well enough that they sign him to a good long contract.

Mobbdeep4life writes:

This will be a year of ups and downs. With so much inexperience on offense we'll see some great plays and some bonehead mistakes. I expect a few times I may want to throw my cup (most likely filled with cognac) on the ground but I'll still cheer for my team.
Go Vols!!! 36 days and counting!!!!

tnsportsman writes:

in response to VandyGrad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

IMO, Tyler Bray will be our starting QB by the 2nd game against OR and he is very similar in talent, smarts and size wise to Peyton. Come back see me after we beat OR at home in 90 degree/90 percent humidity weather! Against OR, Two Words: Justin Wilcox!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

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