A different mindset didn't change the numbers all that much for Tyler Bray.
It certainly seemed to alter the way Tennessee felt about its quarterback, though.
Disappointed with a performance earlier in the week that prompted some critical comments from his coach, Bray took a much more serious approach into the second scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. It actually started much earlier in the day with a lunch with his receivers, some music and a little trash talk that got the blood flowing for the sophomore -- and a game-day approach paid some clear dividends for an offense counting on him to lead the way.
"I felt like we came out like it was an actual game," Bray said. "Tempo was up, I mean, I didn't really have to look at the play clock at all for the first couple of series because we were in and out of the huddle so fast.
"As an offense after the first scrimmage, we kind of talked. I hung out with (a few receivers) afterwards and we kind of talked and said that we have to come out next scrimmage and show them that we can actually play, that we're ready for this season. That last scrimmage wasn't us."
The Vols still might not have fully established an offensive identity, though they seemed to move a bit closer to realizing one after taking advantage of a chance to make up for a sluggish debut on Tuesday.
Bray didn't improve much statistically, completing 12 of 26 passes for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception, according to numbers provided by UT from the closed workout. That's not noticeably different than going 13-of-29 for 165 yards with a couple touchdowns, but some of the progress Derek Dooley was looking for in his second-year starter can't really be quantified.
The Vols coach was more worried about improved communication in the huddle and sustaining longer drives than the stats sheet. But if a couple of the shots the Vols took downfield hadn't narrowly missed, Dooley would have some substantive evidence to point to as well.
"I wish Tyler would get a little more consistent in his approach," Dooley said. "He shouldn't have to have a real bad day to get him to want to come in and take it more seriously. That comes with maturity.
"We were a little off in the throwing game — we missed a lot of big plays, and we're going to try to be a big-play, explosive pass game. The sync was a little bit off. I didn't think anybody was bad, it's just a matter of that chemistry that's going to come with a new receiving corps. I thought Tyler had a good demeanor. His stats don't look as good ... but we were close. I mean, three big plays and that whole stat line changes. Now, in a game, close isn't good enough."
That was about the only complaint Dooley had offensively, and it showed up with those longer drives stalling out and leading to five field goals instead of touchdowns.
Bray did finish off one series in the end zone, finding Da'Rick Rogers from four yards out to give the sophomore receiver his second touchdown of camp.
But the same combination producing a score might have been one of the only similarities between the first scrimmage and the second, and that appears to be a sign of progress.
"Most definitely, Bray came out, he grabbed the offense by the horns today and really helped the tempo," Rogers said. "The coaches put an emphasis on that, and I think he really worked hard on that today.
"When he comes out with his
mind right, really focuses in, as an offense we explode. That's the most important thing. He's the quarterback, he's the head of the dragon, so wherever he goes, most likely the whole offense is going to follow suit."
Da’Rick Rogers 4 pass from Tyler Bray. Palardy kick.
Chip Rhome 29 field goal.
Michael Palardy 33 field goal.
Michael Palardy 52 field goal.
Matt Milton 18 pass from Matt Simms. (No PAT)
Chip Rhome 35 field goal.
Michael Palardy 36 field goal.
Rushing (No.-Yds.-TD-Long) – Tom Smith 10-80-0-22; Marlin Lane 9-42-0-13; Jaron Toney 11-25-0-9; Deanthonie Summerhill 5-30-0-20; Reggie Juin 3-26-0-19; Matt Simms 3-8-0-18; Nash Nance 1-5-0-5; Justin Worley 1-2-0-2; Tyler Bray 5-(-1)-0-5.
Passing (Att.-Comp.-Int.-Yds.-TD-Long) – Tyler Bray 26-12-1-132-1-21; Matt Simms 13-6-0-62-1-20; Justin Worley 8-3-2-56-0-25; Nash Nance 2-0-0-0-0-0.
Receiving (No.-Yds.-TD-Long) – Justin Hunter 4-69-0-21; Matt Milton 4-63-1-20; Marlin Lane 3-15-0-12; DeAnthony Arnett 2-30-0-25; Da’Rick Rogers 2-19-1-15; Tom Smith 2-2-0-6; Vincent Dallas 1-22-0-22; Michael Rivera 1-9-0-9; Cory Eichholtz 1-9-0-9; Ben Bartholomew 1-2-0-2.
Defense – Brent Brewer 7 tackles; Curt Maggitt 6 tackles, 4.5 TFL (-17), 2 sacks (-12); Rod Wilks 5 tackles, 1 TFL (-2), 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU; A.J. Johnson 5 tackles, 0.5 TFL (0); Marsalis Teague 5 tackles; Izauea Lanier 4 tackles; Brian Randolph 4 tackles; John Propst 3 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 QB hurry; Greg King 2 tackles, 1 TFL (-4); Austin Johnson 3 tackles, 1 QB hurry; Eric Gordon 3 tackles; Robert Nelson 3 tackles; Shane Reveiz 3 tackles; Joseph Ayres 2 tackles, 1.5 TFL (-2); Naz Oliver 2 tackles, 1 interception (0 yards); Janzen Jackson 2 tackles; Willie Bohannon 1 tackle, 1 sack (-4), 1 QB hurry; Steven Fowlkes 1 tackle, 1 sack (-6), 1 QB hurry; Justin Coleman 1 tackle, 2 PBU; Prentiss Waggner 1 tackle, 1 PBU; Gregory Clark 1 tackle, 1 QB hurry; Jacques Smith 1 tackle, 1 QB hurry; Jordan Williams 1 tackle, 0.5 TFL (-1); Art Evans 1 interception (29 yards); Nigel Mitchell-Thornton 1 interception (0 yards); Nick Branum 1 tackle; Allan Carson 1 tackle; Maurice Couch 1 tackle; Vincent Dallas 1 tackle; Daniel Hood 1 tackle; Arthur Jeffery 1 tackle; Ben Martin 1 tackle; Byron Moore 1 tackle; Daryl Vereen 1 tackle; Marlon Walls 1 tackle.
Field Goals – Michael Palardy 3-of-3, long 52; Chip Rhome 2-of-2, long 35.
Punting (No.-Avg.-Long) – Matt Darr 5-37.2-43; Michael Palardy 3-36.0-45.