Tyler Bray is a big target, at least vertically.
The Tennessee quarterback is working behind an offensive line that's allowed more sacks than all but a small handful of teams, and the freshman isn't exactly the most mobile guy around, either.
Even with those factors working against him, though, Bray has shown an ability early in his career to shake off defenders or find an escape route from pressure in the pocket, which could come in handy on Saturday against Ole Miss (TV: WVLT, Noon).
But nobody is quite sure exactly why that is yet, even the guy pulling off the great escapes.
"I have no idea," Bray said. "I just try to avoid those big linemen because they're twice the size that I am.
"The more I avoid them, the less I'm on my back and that's better."
Any quarterback is going to be more effective when he's upright, and obviously that's true for Bray.
But the way he's gone about it, deflecting a handful of would-be sacks, stepping up in the pocket and extending plays outside of it has come as a bit of a surprise.
The Vols (3-6, 0-5 SEC) put their quarterbacks in green, non-contact jerseys at practice, so it's not likely a trait that's been learned through repetition. Bray is listed at 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds by UT, so it's surely not pure strength helping him hold off tacklers.
Even teammates and coaches who have seen him operate up close and personal struggle to come up with a concrete reason he's able to stay on his feet so well, though they're not really hung up on specifics.
"What you saw was his instincts," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "It's hard to put a better word on it. Pocket awareness -when things are moving he naturally moves away from it. He naturally steps up and you wonder how he sees that. Some quarterbacks just have that and you've got to have some of that to survive back there or you're going to take some shots.
"I think he's got more elusiveness in the pocket than you would think, being a tall, lanky-looking guy. That just comes from instinctively feeling where guys are and knowing them. Some quarterbacks can maneuver through the pocket, elude arms and some struggle to do it. He has shown the ability to do that."
The Rebels (4-5, 1-4 SEC) are more than capable of putting that to the test with a defense that has piled up 25 sacks this season, which is a potentially dangerous combination when paired with a UT offensive line that has allowed 31 through nine games - easily the highest total in the conference.
Bray did take three of them during his coming-out party two weeks ago against South Carolina. But that game also provided a glimpse of his potential elusiveness with his first completion coming off a scramble to his right that produced a first-down throw to Gerald Jones. And though Memphis didn't sack him at all last week, Bray was still under fire as an inexperienced line broke in a new center and dealt with another injury to a starter.
"It blows my mind, too, man," Jones said. "I mean, the guy's poise in the pocket is crazy, and even when he gets out of the pocket he makes something happen. He's got an incredible arm, his arm is what gets him out of trouble.
"(And it's) because he's 6-6 and he's skinny and a big target - a tall target, but it's not a wide target. He's just slim, and he's not moving fast but he's just slipping out of it and buying himself an extra two seconds to get the ball out."
Whether that's just instinctual or something else entirely, UT doesn't really care as long as Bray continues to buy himself that precious time.