Jim Chaney is a matter-of-fact kind of a guy, one of the last Tennessee coaches to be prone to hyperbole.
That's why the offensive coordinator didn't feel the need to play up a well-documented meeting between Tyler Bray and himself. It occurred days before the quarterback had his best scrimmage of the preseason while also displaying leadership and command of the offense unseen in the previous two.
"We have conversations daily with these guys," Chaney said. "There's no secret wand we waved in front of Tyler."
Bray said he approached Chaney after one of the offense's worst practices of the preseason. The unit, which is loaded with talented wide receivers and a big, young offensive line, was looking its age. Problems that could be classified as "minor" and "fixable" in the first week of camp weren't going away.
Making matters more confounding and frustrating was that Bray and the offense were days removed from an improved performance at the second scrimmage of the preseason, yet the same issues that went as far back as spring practice were cropping up and as troublesome as ever.
The two walked around the practice field for an unknown amount of time talking about everything from specific plays to the lofty expectations that hover over Bray, who, among other preseason honors, is on the short watch list for the Manning Award.
"I've got all the trust in the world but I was just trying to overthink everything and rush through it," said Bray, who completed 10 of his 20 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown Saturday.
"Last year, expectations weren't that high, and this year they are. Just kind of trying to force things to do myself I normally wouldn't do."
Dealing with expectations can be tricky, especially for a sophomore as under the spotlight as Bray, coach Derek Dooley said.
It's a fine line of embracement and complete disregard.
"The first part was to try and get them to feel the pressure," Dooley said. "You want them to really appreciate the magnitude of it. I don't think they should ever not appreciate that.
"Then, once they do, you kind of have to tell them, 'it really doesn't matter, just go out and play.' "
Chaney said he would rather not dive into that phase of Bray's development because that's something only Bray can control internally. What Chaney can control is putting Bray in a better position to succeed.
That, just like Bray's internal approach to the game, remains a work in progress. Chaney also is trying to find a fine line between making UT's offense more complex and allowing Bray to feel comfortable.
"If young men think about performing well and doing their jobs to the best of their ability, all that other stuff takes care of itself," Chaney said. "So much of it's in the innate ability of leadership: they just have it or they don't have it, in my opinion, a lot of times. I just worry about him playing well.
"If they play well, a lot of good things happen."
Complete maturity won't happen overnight with Bray, Chaney said. And that's not because he's stubborn or purposely ignoring the advice his coaches bestow upon him.
It's because he's still a teenager.
"We're not talking about anything unique to Tennessee here," Chaney said. "We're talking about football and young men growing up. We're talking about behavior, not football."
That Bray approached Chaney for the meeting, and not the other way around, was taken as a sign that Bray has grown up just within the past three weeks.
This wasn't the same Bray who made a throat-slash gesture in the Music City Bowl, the Bray who saw a poor pre-game approach for the Orange and White game translate into a 5-for-30 effort or even the Bray who didn't have the best approach for the team's first scrimmage earlier this month.
"It means he cares," Dooley said. "If he didn't press, it means he doesn't care. If he didn't press, that would probably concern me a little bit more.
"I don't think there's a quarterback out there who doesn't go through phases of having some bad play and you're feeling bad, feeling like you're letting the team down. You don't know what to do."
Chaney said Bray is listening better, too. When he makes a mistake in practice and subsequently receives an earful from Chaney, Bray "internalizes it."
The knee-jerk head nods just to shut his coach up are a thing of the past, Chaney said.
"That's growth," Chaney said. "Now he sees the causal effects to his mistakes."