QB Tyler Bray to start against Memphis

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray looks for an open receiver during the final seconds of the game against Alabama at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010. Bray was sacked twice and threw one interception during the Vols' 41-10 loss to the Crimson Tide.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray looks for an open receiver during the final seconds of the game against Alabama at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010. Bray was sacked twice and threw one interception during the Vols' 41-10 loss to the Crimson Tide.

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The change under center is official.

That doesn't mean it's permanent.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley made the switch to Tyler Bray at quarterback on Monday after the true freshman's second-half breakout at South Carolina, naming him as the starter for Saturday's trip to Memphis (TV: CBS College, 8 p.m.). But the Vols still might need Matt Simms despite his demotion, so a two-quarterback rotation could continue against the Tigers -- with a new order.

"We're going to start Tyler Bray this week, and I just feel like that's the best thing for our team right now," Dooley said during his weekly press conference. "I had a real good conversation with Matt, and Matt is a team guy. He's a high-character guy, Matt's a competitor and Matt's emotional. He was very apologetic for what happened after the game, and I really respect the fact that he came to me and said that.

"The decision, just as aside, has nothing to do with comments (from Simms after being benched). It's strictly a business evaluation of our team and where we need to go."

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 175

TommyJack writes:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

SIMSVOL writes:

Good move by Coach Dooley and earned by Bray. Simms isn't helping himself by publicly dissing the decision to go with Bray at SC.

Let's face it, Bray has far more upside potential and he needs some serious experience going into next season.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

Actually I'll scream for Nance but Bray want fail us.

thevoice writes:

Probably a good move considering the bigger, long-term picture. Favorable schedule too.

scottfree writes:

That's what I'm talking about! Get that kid some experience so that he'll be prepared next year! We've seen what Matt Simms can do and we want better than 6-5.

BigBadVol writes:

I'm disappointed in Sims for running his mouth. Bray has earned the right to start based on his performance. Bray is our future, not Sims.

SummittsCourt writes:

Look forward to seeing him light up Memphis this weekend. Go Vols, the winning starts now.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

You know TJ. This year can not be blamed on Simms. He has really done a pretty good job for the Vols and he sure as H... has taken a lick-en. We just are not a good or hot team. Simply that and nothing more. Don't really care what KNS said about our report card against SC. WE looked like a team that needed better coaching. Better Tackling, better field vision, breaking tackles etc. I know it takes time but Gee. Ohhh well

CoverOrange writes:

Makes you wonder why Nick Stephens didn't think he could beat out Simms.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

Hahaha.

Naw...Nick Stephens.

You're probably right....although I think it's time to give Tyler a shot.

volsnationalchamps writes:

I think it is the right move. Simms and Bray are basically even right now. Bray being a true freshman obviously has more upside. Simms mouth definitly didn't help. Go Vols!!!

SummittsCourt writes:

Simms is the victim of bad timing just like Arien Foster, it was the amount of fumbles that cursed Foster, it's when they happened.

Oregon: trailing 20-13, moving the ball into Oregon territory, threw a momentum killing pick 6 that started the downward spiral.

Florida: Interception in the endzone, then another that led to a FU touchdown.

Alabama: Interception at the goal line while trailing 27-10 that killed any chance of staying in the game.

Not one to nickpick, but his timing is awful and the Vols just don't have the talent to make up for them right now. Bray has had his mistakes too, but at 2-6 why not make a change. Simms played hard, but the mistakes are killer.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Hahaha.

Naw...Nick Stephens.

You're probably right....although I think it's time to give Tyler a shot.

Yea Bray is a good looking Kid. Don't think he is really ready and I don't think that QB is the trouble with the Vols. No matter how you look at things things will look better for a QB this last part of the year.

WhitePineVol77 writes:

Coach D...we see encouraging things despite your record at UT this season. You are our coach, and I will not second guess you this year. Your team needs much conditioning in the off season, so they can finish a game. This group of young players have had to grow alot this year, with all they have been through. Good luck the rest of this season...

TommyJack writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

You know TJ. This year can not be blamed on Simms. He has really done a pretty good job for the Vols and he sure as H... has taken a lick-en. We just are not a good or hot team. Simply that and nothing more. Don't really care what KNS said about our report card against SC. WE looked like a team that needed better coaching. Better Tackling, better field vision, breaking tackles etc. I know it takes time but Gee. Ohhh well

Not blaming Simms, Calivol. Not blaming staff either. Roster is depleted. Better years ahead.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Not blaming Simms, Calivol. Not blaming staff either. Roster is depleted. Better years ahead.

I understand and I agree.

kabulvol writes:

A friend of a friend told me (FWIW) that the tipping point was Simms' mouthing to the media.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Get a center for him and he'll be great. Mack Crowder should play as a freshman. He's got the smarts and size to be a great center.

MikeTheTiger writes:

in response to Euro_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Maybe 1-3. memphis = win
ole miss, VANDY and KY = Losses

RoadTrip writes:

This move is the right move at the right time for the present and future of Vol football. We need a QB that can see the whole field and make quick decisions that can generate more points with his arm due to the inexperience in the OL. That's Bray.

Again, there are good reasons that Simms is playing for his 3rd team in 3 years. He will be a good back-up QB that gets playing time if he will shut his yap and be a team player.

VOL75ga writes:

My only concern with Bray is he is under weight and he doesn't seem to have put any on this season.

justincredible369#357762 writes:

Although Bray is still growing into his frame, hes looking to be the better option, hes not taking the big hits like Simms because he gets rid of the rock quicker and I'm pretty sure he even threw it away a couple times when no one was open (didn't hold on to the ball and get sacked). I like Simms heart, and believe he tries hard but after this many games something should have given already. Flip flopping Qb's doesn't work in the SEC unless its for a change of pace(ex. Tebow/Leak, Greene/Shockley) We have to pick 1 and go with him. IMO right now our best bet to win out this year is Tyler Bray. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
...

GR82BaTennesseeVOL writes:

It's about time!!!

I've been saying it since April...because Bray has been the better QB since then. It was obvious to anyone who was at the spring game.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to VOL75ga:

My only concern with Bray is he is under weight and he doesn't seem to have put any on this season.

He's going to have to dump the girl friend and eat a ton of pizza this winter.

kyvol98 writes:

I believe this is about finding out if Tyler can be a leader. We all know that even Peyton Manning was not a leader when he was on the bench (for a short time) but had to become one and earn the teams respect. I see the same situation for Tyler and now is his chance.
This in no way is a slam on Simms, but will agree that his comments probably didn't endear him to his team mates

AHoffman writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

I wish Dooley would reactivate Jim Bob Cooter.

tdvol1989 writes:

I just think the whole situation is unfortunate. I do not think Matt has played bad enough to lose the starter role. A guy in his position as a JUCO is looking for a place to play and he took a chance on us knowing that it would not be a cakewalk. He is a gamer and I do not think his play cost us any games, though his turnovers did seem to come right before the avalanche. It seems rotten to me to let Matt take the beating through the tough part of the schedule only to let Tyler come in against the weaker teams on our late schedule.

But, Tyler deserves a shot. Coach Dooley is correct that neither player has separated himself, but Matt has had the lion's share of the play. Tyler needs more PT to see if that will create separation. And, even though I think it blows for Matt to get pulled before what should be the 2nd easiest game this year, Memphis is the right time to try Tyler. You do not want to do that in an SEC game.

I am willing to bet this was not an easy decision for Dooley, but it really is the right thing to do. Unless Tyler crashes and burns and Matt comes in to save the day (and I am not hoping for nor expecting that), I think we have lost Matt as far as his commitment. I wouldn't be surprised if he pulls a Nick Stephens if Tyler stays the starter through the end of the year.

jimr07 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

Ain't that the truth.

Major_Magilicutty writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

Good day or bad day, I don't think our reaction to the game will affect who Dooley decides to sit and who to start.

justincredible369#357762 writes:

Hey quick question, With the way Nick Reveiz is playing, What do you think the chances of him being drafted are? I would think that a guy with his football IQ would be such a good asset for an NFL squad. Is it me or does it seem like he is always in the right place at the right time and usually makes the play (the stop against Ingram on 3rd down). Kind of a Zach Taylor type player. What do ya think guys?

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

This move is the right move at the right time for the present and future of Vol football. We need a QB that can see the whole field and make quick decisions that can generate more points with his arm due to the inexperience in the OL. That's Bray.

Again, there are good reasons that Simms is playing for his 3rd team in 3 years. He will be a good back-up QB that gets playing time if he will shut his yap and be a team player.

Simm's is not a team player and Nance needs to move to clean up and that's all that's going to be needed with Bray at QB the next 4 games.

volsfannsc writes:

in response to WhitePineVol77:

Coach D...we see encouraging things despite your record at UT this season. You are our coach, and I will not second guess you this year. Your team needs much conditioning in the off season, so they can finish a game. This group of young players have had to grow alot this year, with all they have been through. Good luck the rest of this season...

Agree with most of your post with the exception of the conditioning. Being student-athletes, the NCAA has rules as to how many hours players can practice, play, etc per week. Learning new offensive and defensive schemes takes quite a while with younger players. Adjusting to different teams each week takes even more time. I'd say if their not in shape by early September, its too late. I don't think conditioning is the issue anyway. Most are involved in around 90+ plays per weekend. Being able to mentally sustain is the real issue. Take away the fumbles, picks, and penalites and we would have won Saturday. This is a young team that is going to make those kind of mistakes.

About the QB's...... Simms has had flashes of greatness and is tough as a box of nails. When it comes to pure talent and natural ability, I think Bray has him beat. I don't fault Simms at all; he's been running for his life most of the season. Let's just see what Bray can bring to the table without bashing Simms.

Biggie writes:

IMO Simms lost his job as much as Bray earned it. You could see coaches telling him not to hold the ball so long but it was like he couldn't grasp the fact that he had to get rid of it.
Simms will likely transfer to yet another school for his final year. If he could just make the mental decision to throw the ball, he'd be fine.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Yea Bray is a good looking Kid. Don't think he is really ready and I don't think that QB is the trouble with the Vols. No matter how you look at things things will look better for a QB this last part of the year.

Actually this works out perfect.He might not have been ready for bammers,lsu's,or the ducks defense's but I think he's ready for what we have left this season.

Might prove to be a brilliant move.It will boost his confidence,knowledge of our system,and overall speed of the game before next season.

Munsterlander writes:

Unfortunately, despite the poor ball protection and untimely poor decisions, I'm betting Simms blew it more with the comments and attitude than anything else, and that's a very tough situation for a young guy to handle. And he's handled himself quite well up 'til now, not unloading on the inexperienced line that has left him pounded into the turf way too many times. Hope he gets a grip and makes some ammends - we'll probably still need him. I think folks are being too hard on him - don't think he's an allstar or anything like that, but he's given his all in a very difficult environment - just doesn't have the deep, experienced supporting cast needed.

Vol_Doc writes:

in response to MikeTheTiger:

Maybe 1-3. memphis = win
ole miss, VANDY and KY = Losses

Meth kills. Stop, while you still can.

justincredible369#357762 writes:

in response to volsfannsc:

Agree with most of your post with the exception of the conditioning. Being student-athletes, the NCAA has rules as to how many hours players can practice, play, etc per week. Learning new offensive and defensive schemes takes quite a while with younger players. Adjusting to different teams each week takes even more time. I'd say if their not in shape by early September, its too late. I don't think conditioning is the issue anyway. Most are involved in around 90+ plays per weekend. Being able to mentally sustain is the real issue. Take away the fumbles, picks, and penalites and we would have won Saturday. This is a young team that is going to make those kind of mistakes.

About the QB's...... Simms has had flashes of greatness and is tough as a box of nails. When it comes to pure talent and natural ability, I think Bray has him beat. I don't fault Simms at all; he's been running for his life most of the season. Let's just see what Bray can bring to the table without bashing Simms.

Absolutely no question about SImms toughness, he has proven that he has the heart of a lion, but he HAS to learn to throw the ball away. Bray is the more physically suited, and with his height probably sees the field a little better. It seems like Simms has done well when he rolls out of the pocket on playaction and I'm alittle surprised we haven't seen the coaches call that a little bit more. Not 100% sure but I say we have a good chance to win out our schedule with either QB if all of our freshmen keep maturing. Bray leads the race with his upside. One more thing. What was up with Chaney's fetish for the end around with D. Rogers. We ran that play like 6 times. Our next few opponents will definately be looking for that one. Heck, if it works use it coach GO VOLS!

NashVol59 writes:

in response to justincredible369#357762:

Although Bray is still growing into his frame, hes looking to be the better option, hes not taking the big hits like Simms because he gets rid of the rock quicker and I'm pretty sure he even threw it away a couple times when no one was open (didn't hold on to the ball and get sacked). I like Simms heart, and believe he tries hard but after this many games something should have given already. Flip flopping Qb's doesn't work in the SEC unless its for a change of pace(ex. Tebow/Leak, Greene/Shockley) We have to pick 1 and go with him. IMO right now our best bet to win out this year is Tyler Bray. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
...

Bray may have heart and a good arm, however, if he has games similar to Simms there goes his confidence and we spend 3 more years trying to fix it...let Simms finish the year as the starter but allow Bray to get his experience as we go along.

LifetimeVolFan98 writes:

in response to NachoDaddy_76:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

While I agree with the move, I don't totally agree with your statement. Yes, Simms holds the ball too long. But, he's not staring his recievers down. He's only been given 1/3 of the field to work with. Maybe by now, it's 1/2 of the field. Either way, it appears to us fans that he's staring them down. I don't think he his. Is is decision making a little slow? Heck yeah, but to put ALL the blame for a 2-6 season on him is rediculous (sp?). At one point Sat., I counted 9 true Freshmen in the line-up. That will get you whipped up front any day of the week. I also do not believe that Bray could have won the game. Closer score or better chance to win it? Sure. But remember, it was the defense that turned a 15 yd pass into a 70 yd TD.

MOOREVOLS writes:

in response to VOL75ga:

My only concern with Bray is he is under weight and he doesn't seem to have put any on this season.

Most players don't ever put on weight during the season. It's maintain weight, stay in shape, get healthy. Its in the off season that putting on weight starts to play out.

Pompey writes:

in response to VolinCalif:

Yea Bray is a good looking Kid. Don't think he is really ready and I don't think that QB is the trouble with the Vols. No matter how you look at things things will look better for a QB this last part of the year.

......you think right, QB is not there there biggest problem.

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to VOL75ga:

My only concern with Bray is he is under weight and he doesn't seem to have put any on this season.

75, I saw him close up in game one and again Saturday, he is twice the size....doesn't mean he is big enough yet...just double and really filling out. Now the kid we are signing from Northwestern High in SC is a beast, he might run them all off.

TommyJack writes:

in response to Major_Magilicutty:

Good day or bad day, I don't think our reaction to the game will affect who Dooley decides to sit and who to start.

True, Major.

WinkeyVol writes:

in response to Dead_Head_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Lose a lot of starters? I thought we were playing a lot of freshmen?

Y10 writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Tyler had best have a good day, or you mopes will be screaming for Simms.

I agree with TJ. Few picks, few fumbles and he'll be regarded as an inexperienced freshman that was thrown in too quick!!! Memphis is actually a good one to see if he can manage a complete game. Not a big venue, no hostile crowd, no S.E.C. depth. Should be able to see if he has skills to be a starting qb at UT. Heck, I'll probably buy the pay-per-view just to help CDD evaluate, lol!!!

huntined#565710 writes:

I have mixed feelings about the move.. want to see what Bray can do but at the same time I feel for Simms as he has really taken a lot of hits while this O L grows up. But this change may be what we need for the rest of the year and build for next year,,

VOLliven2it writes:

justincredible: what do I think?
A. Tyler starting against Memphis:
1. Nance could win that one if he started. So it should be fine. Simms should get some time.
2. Not sure it will be wise for Bray to start against Miss. unless he burns Memphis. Time will tell. I'm guessing both play at Homecoming.
B. Nick Reveiz being drafted? I'd love it. He's a great guy. But in the NFL size matters and LB would likely be out for him. Any way I hope he gets a shot.
Finally on Bray taking hits, I am concerned that he does not go down which could lead to a big hit which would put him down and we are back to Simms. In any case, when Sat. comes, here we go.

iadvol writes:

We have 8 freshman starting on offense this week and it could be 9 by the end of the year. Unbelievable and unprecedented.

tnsportsman writes:

IMO, CDD is making the right call with Tyler Bray as starting QB. Matt has done OK, but has made costly mistakes in each lost with INTs and Turn-overs.

TURN-OVERS and Stupid mistakes (like counting) has got to be reduced and eliminated by OUR VOLS as a TEAM!

VOLS, PROTECT THE BALL!

OUR VOLS are young and dumb right now, but THEY ARE OUR VOLS!

No Excuses for not going 6 & 6, YOU CAN DO IT! All 4 teams we play, suck as bad as we do!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

VolAlum2003 (Inactive) writes:

I love it. Some of you are hilarious. Bray is our QB and the winning starts now. So, it's the QB that's been losing games for us? Well, I'm sure glad we got that solved.

I also love the excuses for the losses we've suffered. If only Florida hadn't shifted moementum...if only Oregon hadn't shifted momentum...if only Bama hadn't made that interception...

Ridiculous. We were blown out in each of those games in the second half. I wonder what the excuses will be like next year when we haven't improved. I never thought Dooley was going to blow the lid off, but I sure thought we'd be better than 2-6 at this point with no SEC wins. But, like every year after 1998, we have next year to look forward to. We'll always have next year to look forward to until this fan base DEMANDS excellence rather than settles for mediocrity.

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