Tennessee might need two quarterbacks to get through a season.
But it isn't making any plans to use that many when it kicks off this weekend.
Matt Simms is the official starter under center for the Vols, and though backup and true freshman Tyler Bray could take a few snaps against UT Martin on Saturday (TV: Pay-per-view; 6 p.m.), Derek Dooley won't go out of his way to make sure it happens.
"I'm going in (with) Matt as our quarterback," Dooley said. "I don't have any plan. We'll just let the game dictate what we do.
"(There's no urgency to get Bray in) if Matt's doing well. We'll make that determination on Saturday. You know, we've got to go out there and say, 'What do we have to do to win the football game?' That's all we need to worry about right now."
Assuming everything goes according to plan for the Vols and there's nothing to worry about in the second half against the Skyhawks, Bray almost certainly would have a chance to get some game experience. Considering how often Dooley has mentioned the likelihood of needing two quarterbacks to make it through the year, those plays could be invaluable for Bray as well.
But aside from a closer-than-expected score, the other factor that could influence UT's decision to plug in Bray or stick with Simms is that the latter isn't exactly flush with experience either. And while Simms expressed no concerns over sharing reps against UT Martin, the junior college transfer also wants as many as he can possibly get heading into more difficult tests with Oregon and Florida.
"I mean, the biggest thing for us right now, both me and Tyler, is we have to do whatever we have to do to help the team," Simms said. "If that's me stepping aside and getting him reps just in case, God forbid, anything happens, then that's fine.
"That's the situation that we know going into the season, and especially with me and him not really having many reps at the Division I level, we have to be prepared for those type of things."
Determining how much preparation and live work each needs is the trick, though UT certainly is placing a bigger emphasis on its starter.
A large part of the reason Simms was able to separate himself and win the job was his ability to understand the playbook, run the huddle and handle the speed of the game. That was mostly a product of experience, even if it didn't come in the SEC or with the Vols.
The best chance Bray might have of closing that gap and speeding up the learning process could be getting some action of his own - but there's no guarantee when it will happen or how much there will be.
"I tell you, Tyler Bray has done a good job," quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw said. "With his administration, he's got to keep coming along, he's got to keep coming along. Tyler has done a good job in being a true freshman and learning the offense and getting better from the first day of spring to where he is right now. He's done a good job, but he's got to continue to get in his playbook and continue to learn - and it's hard at that level.
"It's like riding a bike. You can go over it and over it on the board, and you can sit there and talk about it, but once you go ride the bike for the first time, you usually fall. That's just a normal aspect of learning."
The first test for the Vols is almost here. It remains to be seen if Bray will be taking it.