Tyler Bray keeps his emotions in check

'I just try to stay flat-lined'

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and Derek Dooley talks to referees during the second half Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 in Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville. Tennessee beat Vanderbilt 24-10.

Photo by Michael Patrick

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and Derek Dooley talks to referees during the second half Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010 in Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville. Tennessee beat Vanderbilt 24-10.

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The pressure may be higher, but Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray's pulse rate hasn't followed suit.

Though he's now solidified himself not only as UT's quarterback of the future, but the present, Bray hasn't changed - even after hitting the anticipated bumps in the road that he'd evaded in his first two starts.

"I just try to stay flat-lined," Bray said in normal deadpanned fashion after Tuesday's practice. "Never show emotion unless we're doing good."

Despite UT (5-6, 2-5 SEC) picking up its third straight win this season against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Bray wasn't tempted to show much emotion throughout the game, especially during the second half.

After completing nine of 10 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, Bray hit just seven of his final 17 for 117 yards. He recorded his first two interceptions since the interception for a touchdown he threw on his first pass attempt against South Carolina last month.

Both of Bray's interceptions came on plays where he tried to hit a receiver deep down the field but read the coverage wrong, allowing the Commodores to make two seemingly effortless picks.

When he watched the film Sunday, his emotions - in a negative sense - were tested.

"Actually," Bray said, "I wanted to throw up.

"I had a couple opportunities where just a little dump-down would have gotten 20 yards. They were playing so far back . . . I tried to force it and ended up with two interceptions."

Coach Derek Dooley laughed Tuesday when a reporter informed him that Bray said he had never seen a team play as deep in its Cover 3 and Cover 2 defense as Vanderbilt did Saturday.

"That's when you get good as a quarterback," Dooley said. "You're not really recognizing the coverages as much as how they're playing the coverages.

"It was different than what he had seen in the previous two games. Like any quarterback, there's going to be a game, 'This is different, this is different.' And when it's different, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

Bray, though, has been no different in his demeanor, both during the action Saturday and at subsequent practices Monday and Tuesday as he prepares for the game Saturday (TV: WVLT, 12:21 p.m.) against Kentucky (6-5, 2-5).

"He kept his head up even when he threw a bad pass," wide receiver Justin Hunter said. "That proved a lot to me that he's mature as a rookie, too. I have confidence in him a lot. I give him respect for that."

Too Early To Tell: Dooley said he's yet to see any overconfidence or bowl prognosticating from his players after two days of practice this week.

"The most important thing they do right now is what they do when they leave this building," Dooley said after Tuesday's practice, which was held indoors because early-afternoon rains caused sloppy conditions at Haslam Field.

"When they get up, the most important thing is putting together another good day's work. I hope they're keeping their focus on that."

After the Vanderbilt win, Dooley said he had a "sick feeling" in his stomach throughout the week leading up to the game because of poor practices, particularly by the offense.

Dooley said his stomach is currently settled, but he assured it's too early to tell.

"Those sick feelings can come at any minute prior to kickoff and during kickoff and even after kickoff," Dooley said. "You're never out of the blue from the sick feelings."

What Hurts?: Cornerback Prentiss Waggner has been in a red, non-contact jersey more often than not the past two months.

Banging his neck after an awkward tackle attempt against Vanderbilt is the latest incident to land him in red, but there's also been a cumulative effect.

"It's been everything: my neck, my back, my hip," Waggner said. "My mom tells me all the time that I'm beginning to become an old man."

The lingering bumps and bruises certainly haven't slowed him down. Waggner, who started the season at safety before switching to cornerback, leads the nation with three interception returns for touchdowns and also is tied for the most fumble recoveries in the FBS.

Playing in every game this season has taken a toll on him, though. Sometimes, Waggner said, he'll get out of his bed and do push-ups just to "get his muscles going."

"At the beginning of the season, I thought I was ready for it," he said. "But it's been a grind."

Not A Sellout Yet: Tickets are still available in the G, I, J and K sections, which stretch behind the South end zone in the lower level of Neyland Stadium, for Saturday's game, UT officials said.

Individual tickets cost $50 and can be purchased online at utsports.com or at the Thompson-Boling Arena ticket office.

Andrew Gribble covers Tennessee football and recruiting. He may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble/

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Comments » 35

BreweryVol writes:

We believe. Go Tennessee.

PUL4VOLS writes:

I hope we all have high emotions following the game Sat. Give it your all guys. Keep it in perspective Bray. We want to keep the Cats guessing all the way to the end zone. GO BIG ORANGE!

CabanX writes:

Agent Orange... with all due respect, does that really matter? Besides, it is technically correct... albeit little used.

chrisw2967 writes:

Just win the game and everybody is happy

tennvolsman19651965 writes:

Kentucky has not won a road game all year. Bray and the defense will be ready. We are going bowling!!!! Go Vols!!!!

gnm53108 writes:

"Those sick feelings can come at any minute prior to kickoff"

I get that feeling every time the other team punts.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

"Those sick feelings can come at any minute prior to kickoff"

I get that feeling every time the other team punts.

The last solid return game was Bobby Major's. At least the kickoff coverage has greatly improved.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

The last solid return game was Bobby Major's. At least the kickoff coverage has greatly improved.

Actually all phases of special teams has improved except punt returns.

You're right about Bobby.He was awsome.

iowavol writes:

There is no other game to discuss besides the one this saturday. Focus, focus, focus - and then do some push-ups when you get out of bed.

TXVol76 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Actually all phases of special teams has improved except punt returns.

You're right about Bobby.He was awsome.

Bobby Majors was one if not the best punt returners I've seen at Neyland. His performance against UCLA in 70 or 71 was one for the ages.

maciste54 writes:

I say again ! Kentucky fans are GUARANTEEING a win. I'm tired of hearing it !

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

The last solid return game was Bobby Major's. At least the kickoff coverage has greatly improved.

From around 1970 to 1991 we were tops. Included in that list are Bobby Majors, Eddie Brown, Stanley Morgan, Willie Gault, Carl Pickens and Dale Carter. Seems like we had someone in the mid 80's but it slips my mind.

tnsportsman writes:

in response to iowavol:

There is no other game to discuss besides the one this saturday. Focus, focus, focus - and then do some push-ups when you get out of bed.

Got that right iowavol!

Focus and Protect The Damn Ball VOLS! Sat at Neyland is all that matters right now! Play All Out and Hard for 60 minutes and WE will WIN!

GO VOLS, BEAT ky!

tnsportsman writes:

in response to maciste54:

I say again ! Kentucky fans are GUARANTEEING a win. I'm tired of hearing it !

LOL, ky fans have guaranteed a win for 25 years and was WRONG all 25 years! Last time at Neyland in 2008 they were going to send CPF packing ky style they said. 2008 28 to 10 VOLS!

GO VOLS, WE ARE UT!

UkJarhead writes:

We aren't guaranteeing a win. The only thing in life that is certain is UT impending probation in 3 sports, the nausea I will feel seeing all the orange this weekend, and a weekly arrest of a UT athlete....

OrangePride writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

We aren't guaranteeing a win. The only thing in life that is certain is UT impending probation in 3 sports, the nausea I will feel seeing all the orange this weekend, and a weekly arrest of a UT athlete....

You don't like orange? Then welcome to Knoxville where it's ALL orange. And BTW.....hope you like listening to Rocky Top a few dozen times...we got that for you as well. GO VOLS!

MusicCityVol writes:

The Streak Has to End Sometime

www.checkerboardchatter.blogspot.com

UTVOLSRROCKN writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

We aren't guaranteeing a win. The only thing in life that is certain is UT impending probation in 3 sports, the nausea I will feel seeing all the orange this weekend, and a weekly arrest of a UT athlete....

You WILL see a lot of ORANGE. If you don't like it, stay home and don't watch it. As for the rest of your comments, no need to start talking smack and being a smartarse! KY boards need you, we DON'T!

Pompey writes:

in response to MusicCityVol:

The Streak Has to End Sometime

www.checkerboardchatter.blogspot.com

......wrong......!

Mobbdeep4life writes:

Senior Day at Neyland Stadium. The streak is on the line and a chance to go to a bowl game with a win. Can't ask for much more of a storyline than that.
This senior class has shown so much character through three tumultuous seasons. I have nothing but respect for them after what they've been through. GBO!!!!

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to maciste54:

I say again ! Kentucky fans are GUARANTEEING a win. I'm tired of hearing it !

They are in NO PLACE to be guaranteeing anything..Losing to the same team for 25 years should keep them humble before the game, but I guess not.

UkJarhead writes:

in response to OrangePride:

You don't like orange? Then welcome to Knoxville where it's ALL orange. And BTW.....hope you like listening to Rocky Top a few dozen times...we got that for you as well. GO VOLS!

Your welcome for that stupid song BTW.... Written by two good ole boys from Kentucky...

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

Your welcome for that stupid song BTW.... Written by two good ole boys from Kentucky...

Gomer,

The song was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. Felice was born in Milwaukee, WI, the daugher of Italian immigrants. Boudleaux was born in Georgia. They also wrote the song "Love Hurts" made popular by the Everly Brothers and Nazareth.

Point Shaving, Fed Ex Packages and 26 in a Row.

Semper Fi,

Digger

TommyJack writes:

in response to NO_DIGGITY:

Gomer,

The song was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. Felice was born in Milwaukee, WI, the daugher of Italian immigrants. Boudleaux was born in Georgia. They also wrote the song "Love Hurts" made popular by the Everly Brothers and Nazareth.

Point Shaving, Fed Ex Packages and 26 in a Row.

Semper Fi,

Digger

AND the late, great, Graham Parsons.

UkJarhead writes:

in response to NO_DIGGITY:

Gomer,

The song was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. Felice was born in Milwaukee, WI, the daugher of Italian immigrants. Boudleaux was born in Georgia. They also wrote the song "Love Hurts" made popular by the Everly Brothers and Nazareth.

Point Shaving, Fed Ex Packages and 26 in a Row.

Semper Fi,

Digger

Ok, Ok...You got me. It was first performed by the Osborne Brothers from Kentucky. I can admit when I'm wrong. You just had to get some Ky boys to sing it.

Semper Fi to you my brother in arms....

gnm53108 writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

Ok, Ok...You got me. It was first performed by the Osborne Brothers from Kentucky. I can admit when I'm wrong. You just had to get some Ky boys to sing it.

Semper Fi to you my brother in arms....

There have been many artists who have performed Rocky Top....and theres been mullions who have sung it...albeit with different levels of sobriety.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

There have been many artists who have performed Rocky Top....and theres been mullions who have sung it...albeit with different levels of sobriety.

"millions"

Sorry...too close to happy hour.

Brillovol writes:

in response to NO_DIGGITY:

From around 1970 to 1991 we were tops. Included in that list are Bobby Majors, Eddie Brown, Stanley Morgan, Willie Gault, Carl Pickens and Dale Carter. Seems like we had someone in the mid 80's but it slips my mind.

Interesting topic. I'll add Terry Fair to your list. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe he led the nation in punt return average.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to TXVol76:

Bobby Majors was one if not the best punt returners I've seen at Neyland. His performance against UCLA in 70 or 71 was one for the ages.

I seem to remember that Bobby had another monster game against Penn State around that time. He had something like 200 yards in returns with a touchdown or two, though one of the TDs might have been on an interception return. Even though I'm hazy on the details from so long ago, it was clearly one of the most impressive return games I ever saw from a Vol player.

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I seem to remember that Bobby had another monster game against Penn State around that time. He had something like 200 yards in returns with a touchdown or two, though one of the TDs might have been on an interception return. Even though I'm hazy on the details from so long ago, it was clearly one of the most impressive return games I ever saw from a Vol player.

I remember that PA State game from '71 well. I was stationed on a small island named Shemya on the western end of the Aleutian chain. I listened to that game on Armed Forces Radio. The thing I remember best was the outstanding performance of Bobby Majors. He was spectacular. He was even the punter. Great versatility. I thought his play in '71 was Heisman worthy. That may have been the year Pat Sullivan, Auburn QB, won. Sullivan was good, but he was no Bobby Majors. That PA State game was a bright spot in a mostly gloomy year.

Go Vols!

mlynn1 writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

We aren't guaranteeing a win. The only thing in life that is certain is UT impending probation in 3 sports, the nausea I will feel seeing all the orange this weekend, and a weekly arrest of a UT athlete....

Here we go again, another remark from a fan of the cheatingest program in the history of college basketball.

tnfanincali writes:

can't believe nobody has mentioned eric parker. that dude had some moves, always seemed to get at least 5-10 yards, had a great first step, and was always one step from breaking it big. can't remember if he ever took one to the house though...

Voluvr writes:

FSU beats UF. UT beats FSU in the Music City Bowl (Fiesta '98 repeat). Good recruiting month. It's on.

gatorhator4eva writes:

in response to maciste54:

I say again ! Kentucky fans are GUARANTEEING a win. I'm tired of hearing it !

nothing is guaranteed in the SEC.

OLEVOLFAN writes:

in response to UkJarhead:

We aren't guaranteeing a win. The only thing in life that is certain is UT impending probation in 3 sports, the nausea I will feel seeing all the orange this weekend, and a weekly arrest of a UT athlete....

If you don't like orange and it makes you sick then get your sorry Blue azz off our site you stupid Troll!!!!!!!!!!

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