Dooley mum for now on QB situation

Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms leaves the field after being sacked, failing to get a first down against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. UT lost the game 38-24, giving them a 2-6 record.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms leaves the field after being sacked, failing to get a first down against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. UT lost the game 38-24, giving them a 2-6 record.

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray throws a pass against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. UT lost the game 38-24, giving them a 2-6 record.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess // Buy this photo

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray throws a pass against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010. UT lost the game 38-24, giving them a 2-6 record.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley tabled any talk regarding his two quarterbacks Sunday for another time, but today's news conference at Neyland Stadium will likely provide the platform.

Dooley, who spent part of his Sunday afternoon acquiring details about the early morning arrest of freshman defensive end Jacques Smith, said he hadn't had time to sit down with junior Matt Simms or freshman Tyler Bray, but would later in the night.

"I'll probably address where we're headed on that (today) just because I feel like we need to sit down and talk to the players - like I do every week," Dooley said on his Sunday afternoon teleconference. "I just haven't had that chance."

One week after rotating time with Bray throughout the Alabama game, Simms, who has started every game this season, worked through the entire first half and was largely effective in Saturday's 38-24 loss at South Carolina. He completed 10 of his 13 passes for 153 yards and helped send the Vols into halftime tied when he connected with tight end Luke Stocker for a 12-yard touchdown pass.

Simms, though, had trouble holding onto the ball. Stationed at South Carolina's 12-yard line in the second quarter, he fumbled away a prime scoring opportunity after taking a sack from his blindside. He coughed up the ball again early in the third quarter, a play that quickly led to a South Carolina touchdown and prompted Dooley to go with Bray for the rest of the game.

After the game, Simms was outspoken regarding Dooley's decision.

"I was playing really well, extremely well," Simms said. "Probably the best game I've played all year. It's rough but hey, they made a decision and they stuck with it."

Bray's first pass resulted in a pick-six touchdown for the Gamecocks, but he rebounded with strong throws on back-to-back drives to ultimately help UT tie the game, 24-24, early in the fourth quarter. He finished 9-of-15 for 159 yards.

On the season, Simms is 110-of-189 for 1,406 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He's taken the vast majority of UT's SEC-worst 31 sacks allowed.

In spot duty, Bray is 25-of-47 for 303 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Asked specifically about Bray's progression throughout his freshman season, Dooley was brief Sunday, likely saving further detail for today's news conference.

"He's been getting a little bit better each week," Dooley said. "He's certainly not where we need him to be all the way."

Stonewalled: Freshman offensive lineman James Stone, who had been seeing regular action since JerQuari Schofield's foot injury Sept. 18 against Florida, did not play Saturday.

Stone started at left guard against UAB, LSU and Georgia, but was the odd man out of the rotation against Alabama when fellow freshman Zach Fulton took over at right guard. Senior Jarrod Shaw has started the previous two games at left guard.

Dooley said Stone is making the transition from guard to center, and, perhaps, needed some more seasoning.

"It wasn't really by design, but it was just one of those deals that you get a little nervous changing the center," Dooley said.

Lathers OK: Linebacker Herman Lathers "should be fine" after leaving Saturday's game with back spasms, Dooley said.

Hunting For An Answer: Wide receiver Justin Hunter was "OK" on Saturday, Dooley said, even though it appeared the freshman was hindered by a knee injury.

Since his four-catch, 110-yard performance against Georgia on Oct. 9, Hunter has rarely been targeted by either of UT's quarterbacks and has not caught a pass.

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 » 44

flatrock writes:

I am hoping Derek Dooley continues to play both QBs. Mr. Bryant in Tuscaloosa did it, saying
it was good for morale, good for depth and good
for recruiting. Not a bad model to follow!

DooleysOrangePants writes:

i wanted to see simms be the qb thinking he gave UT a better chance to win. even though he holds on to the ball to long, takes to many sacks and tries to force the ball at times. after the SC game i think simms may not see the field again.

bray has that "something" that good qbs have. even after throwing the pick six on his first pass he came right back and keep slinging it. the pass to moore was perfect and the pass to jones can only be made be a handful of college qbs.

his pocket presence is much better than simms and he is hard to take down. even on the sack the guy really never just "man handled" him just kind of drug him to the ground slowly with bray trying to escape the whole time.

dont know if it was a once in a while thing but that boy can sling the rock. put him in and let him learn. the season is over and we need to get him ready for next year.

i like simms toughness and will root for whomever the qb is but bray just seems to be the more gifted thrower.

my .02

crutch1966 writes:

start bray. if he gets bad bring in simms. GO VOLS! lets win out!

OrangePride writes:

Don't think Simms has helped himself with his off-field comments or the way he handled himself after being pulled from the game. The two of them are awfully close in terms of performance and, if Simms does not learn a faster release and how to avoid fumbles, then Bray is going to move in. My guess is that Simms will still be the starter on Saturday unless he handles himself badly with the sitdown and during this weeks practices. He needs to worry more about the team than himself and grow up a little on this....and fast!

rich182x writes:

Bray = The next Payton Manning. Let the boy play...

CoverOrange writes:

What became of Shaw at center? Did anyone besides Gooch take snaps on Saturday?

PUL4VOLS writes:

I am still cautious about Bray. He did good things. Whomever starts against Memphis SHOULD be the winning qb. There are still uncertainties with Bray. We know what Simms will do. Yes, they both should get playing time even though Coach Doo has said he does not want to use both. If it helps us win, he should at least consider it. Time will tell. I was glad to see Tyler come back after a sad throw to the other team. GO BIG ORANGE!

al2476 writes:

Simms does not step up in the pocket and that causes sacks and also would give him a little more time to throw. He is also slow on his release as well.

THEKIDWISCONSIN writes:

Phil's Kid is tough and I'll give him credit for that. And yes, the line is young. But he could help the line by not holding the ball so freak'n long each week.

That being said, after Phil's Kid went off to the media after the game cracking on both his line & fellow QB...under no circumstances do I want him leading this team.

His play (critical, critical turnovers each week) warrants Bray getting a shot alone, but after those comments this should be Bray's team moving forward.

Bray is our Major Applewhite, let's roll with him!

GO VOLS!

jobrando#216494 writes:

By the end of November and the team is 6-6 folks will think the NC is a done deal for next year. Same way CPF stayed employed for many years.

dgcarter43 writes:

Matt Sims needs to quit whining and make the most of the opportunities he gets. He has a tendency to hold the ball too long and doesn't feel the pressure from the outside. Tyler does step up in the pocket and avoids those outside rushers. The experience the freshmen are getting bodes well for next year. The one area I've observed about CD is that he does get on the players when they make a mistake, but I don't see him complimenting them when they do good things. That's important to building confidence.

Tennfan4075 writes:

The only reason Bray looks better is because he has not had as many opportunities to make mistakes. If he starts six games with that o-line he'll have as many sacks and turnovers. The biggest problem is the o-line and that will only be fixed with more and better players and with that said, I am not sure either QB is SEC caliber. Maybe somewhere in high school a star is waiting assuming Dooley and staff can get him to Knoxville.

vol88 writes:

in response to wakeupworld:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We're having a down year. I won't try to explain why because it's obvious you don't have the mental capacity to understand. Your team has down years, too, troll. So go to your team's board.

rootin4volz writes:

31 sacks allowed...and therein lies one of the biggest factors in those 6 losses. Glad it's November! Now let's kick some tail in these last 4 games!

punkin writes:

"I was playing well, extremely well". I must have been watching the wrong game.

BigOrangeRock writes:

I bet the coach is going tell them that Bray is tha man. I am so excited! It is going to feel so good to win one this week. We are going 4-0 and going to a bown game! Take that Orange haters!

Ayres_Hall writes:

We all knew we'd be in this scenario we find ourselves in today. 2-6. We need our OL to start playing like sophomores. We need our frosh QB to take over as he is more mobile and can roll-out and to throw.

It'll be nice to play unranked teams all within the state over the next four weeks.

VOLinATL writes:

in response to jobrando#216494:

By the end of November and the team is 6-6 folks will think the NC is a done deal for next year. Same way CPF stayed employed for many years.

So....you would rather us lose?? I don't think anyone will have us in the Top 25 next year, no matter how we finish this season.

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to DooleysOrangePants:

i wanted to see simms be the qb thinking he gave UT a better chance to win. even though he holds on to the ball to long, takes to many sacks and tries to force the ball at times. after the SC game i think simms may not see the field again.

bray has that "something" that good qbs have. even after throwing the pick six on his first pass he came right back and keep slinging it. the pass to moore was perfect and the pass to jones can only be made be a handful of college qbs.

his pocket presence is much better than simms and he is hard to take down. even on the sack the guy really never just "man handled" him just kind of drug him to the ground slowly with bray trying to escape the whole time.

dont know if it was a once in a while thing but that boy can sling the rock. put him in and let him learn. the season is over and we need to get him ready for next year.

i like simms toughness and will root for whomever the qb is but bray just seems to be the more gifted thrower.

my .02

The season is NOT over! UT still has a lot to play for! IMO CDD needs to pick a Quarterback and stop rotating them. If its Simms, then its Simms, or if its Bray then its Bray. I honestly didn't think Simms played that bad in the first half. I know he took some sacks and lost the football, but you also have to realize how young of a team we are up front. Bring Bray in later in the game in mop up duty. GBO!

dtennessee#235123 writes:

Simms opinion of his ability is not born out by his performance. He's dad may have been a great player, but both of his sons are journeymen at best. Every snap Simms takes is a snap that Bray could have gained experiece.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to wakeupworld:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"Can switching to Geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance?"

"..............is "wakeupworld" really another freakin' troll?"

Fulton_Vol writes:

in response to Tennfan4075:

The only reason Bray looks better is because he has not had as many opportunities to make mistakes. If he starts six games with that o-line he'll have as many sacks and turnovers. The biggest problem is the o-line and that will only be fixed with more and better players and with that said, I am not sure either QB is SEC caliber. Maybe somewhere in high school a star is waiting assuming Dooley and staff can get him to Knoxville.

Tyler Bray was the second MVP for the Elite 11 QB Camp in the summer of 2009. He won Gold Gun Accuracy award as well as the award for the most upside. The only QB head of him at that camp was Jake Heaps. Tyler has all the tools for job and can compete in the SEC. You have to give him and the rest of the team a chance to learn and grow as players and men. Tyler will do fine in the SEC.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

scum

OrangePride writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Hey shen.....just for the record....I for one (and there were numerous others) was on here right after the spring game and said, "6-6 would be a miracle season and the wins could be as low as 4 or 5 if we don't make some dramatic improvements." So don't even come on here with that garbage. Yes....Tennessee is very undermaned this year....we all know that. We've had 3 coaching changes in 3 years and only 60+ kids on scholarship. It will get better. You, on the other hand, will never get any smarter. GO VOLS!

volfan2002 writes:

We knew our offensive line was totally new and mostly freshmen when the season started. So both QB's have done a decent jog considering the pressure they have been getting. If Simms wants to play he can't hold the ball after the play starts breaking down. I think Bray is much more talented just a lot to learn as a freshman. We need to win this next game and then the next and next and next.

Millisa writes:

I believe Bray Simms and the rest of the team will get better with time. Why dont we run the G Gun with Gerald Jones?

DRORANGELOVE writes:

Does'nt matter who plays QB, if the O line does'nt start giving better pass protection we are Not going to win consistently. Saturdays game with SC showed how SLOW and Lazy # 71 was. He got his buttkicked and his QB either hurried or sacked time after time. If he can't block better than he did Saturday we need to replace his pink candy striped butt with someone who will block.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to VOLinATL:

So....you would rather us lose?? I don't think anyone will have us in the Top 25 next year, no matter how we finish this season.

No, 6-6 was what i said from day one. It still may not happened but if they start Bray it will happen. Next year 7-5 is resonable to keep me happy.

Mule_Days_King writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You raised the a**hole quotient by 100% as soon as you logged in this morning.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to dgcarter43:

Matt Sims needs to quit whining and make the most of the opportunities he gets. He has a tendency to hold the ball too long and doesn't feel the pressure from the outside. Tyler does step up in the pocket and avoids those outside rushers. The experience the freshmen are getting bodes well for next year. The one area I've observed about CD is that he does get on the players when they make a mistake, but I don't see him complimenting them when they do good things. That's important to building confidence.

I didn't see Simms whining while he was getting sacked about 27 times; many of those sacks came while he was leading a successful drive..He simply held his poise and went to the huddle knowing that he was facing another blitz on a 3rd and 18!!!Ive seen him stand in the pocket knowing the hit was coming and still make the throw..Brays TD passes to Moore and Jones were beautiful and he didn't hestitate a second..Simms would have not made those throws...

rbut5252#220065 writes:

The Vols could start Cody Pope at QB and beat hapless Tigerhigh.

VolsToTheWall writes:

in response to rbut5252#220065:

The Vols could start Cody Pope at QB and beat hapless Tigerhigh.

that would be a possibility if there were a word that could describe Cody Pope that would not be censored by this site.

RDW writes:

I wish we had a minimum IQ requirement on this site; that would cut out most of the interlopers.

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

The depth chart was just released with TYLER BRAY listed as the starter for this Saturday!! Be careful what you wish for!!

crappieking writes:

Sims is tough, but he has to start stepping up in the pocket, get rid of the ball quicker, and stop waiting so long to make a decision. RUN FORREST RUN! Also the o-line should be better by now. The left tackle #71 was dominated all day, and should have been replaced no matter who it was. Touch decision on who to start Sat. GBO!!!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OK,that was aimed at me and hit.I did not expect this.I did not expect the learning curve to be SO steep for our defense.I knew our o-line would be a work in progress but I thought our running game would help out some.

I like the future for our Vols on the offensive side.Dont see one area where improvement isnt being made and expect further improvement to be made before next season.Our defense...I just dont know.It might take another couple of seasons for coach Wilcox to get our defense in order.We just dont have the players for his style of defense.

But rest assured,cause I know it really worries you,we WILL be back and I am looking forward to it.

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

Sioms says he played the best game hes played all year,thats a joke,a real joke....A QB evulating himself.Keep a firm hold to that clip board and watch that freshman play his butt off,no wonder Simms hasnt stayed anywhere longer than ayear maybe he will keep the trend up

DooleysOrangePants writes:

in response to Fryinpansvols:

The season is NOT over! UT still has a lot to play for! IMO CDD needs to pick a Quarterback and stop rotating them. If its Simms, then its Simms, or if its Bray then its Bray. I honestly didn't think Simms played that bad in the first half. I know he took some sacks and lost the football, but you also have to realize how young of a team we are up front. Bring Bray in later in the game in mop up duty. GBO!

i meant over by UT standards
we didnt get in the top 10 in all time wins by winning 6 a year. i didnt mean that the team sould give up or anything. i know im gonna be there win or lose.
GBO!

RoadTrip writes:

in response to punkin:

"I was playing well, extremely well". I must have been watching the wrong game.

Me too. I guess his standards are lower than what we expect for a top tier SEC QB.

QB_10 (Inactive) writes:

Bray needs to go to Gus' Burgers everyday for the next year and get some meat on that 6-6 frame, but throws a better ball then Golden Boy Simms.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Bray now starter. Matt Backup

FlaVol2 writes:

in response to wakeupworld:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Go get your own space in the tiddle winks league, duded.

volsbandit writes:

"I was playing really well, extremely well," Simms said. "Probably the best game I've played all year."
Come on now Matt, you really think so? You should have been expecting all those rushes from that fast defense. Instead, you thought you would look comfortable in that pocket, and then get blasted and fumble twice.

TnScooby writes:

in response to back2z1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow, at least we ALL realize you are ignorant!!!

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