Vols still trying to get a grip on when Tyler Bray could return

The cast was replaced by a brace on Tyler Bray's right hand.

Then, at least temporarily, the Tennessee quarterback got rid of that, too.

Bray still appeared unable to grip a football Tuesday morning, let alone throw one even after peeling off the softer protection for his surgically-repaired thumb a day after the harder version was removed. And while the sophomore isn't ready to put on pads or play against No. 8 Arkansas on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 6 p.m.), his recovery seems to be proceeding as planned.

"He doesn't have his range of motion, and it's about what we thought it would be," Vols coach Derek Dooley said. "So, he's right on track — sore, and he's got to get his range of motion back, get his strength back.

"That's what he's working on. Lot of rehab."

That effort included some time on the exercise bike during the open portion of practice, but it didn't feature any passes from Bray — at least not right-handed.

As he has been since getting injured last month against Georgia, Bray was once again out with the Vols during the workout, joking around and throwing some passes with his left hand. But even after he took off the brace, Bray didn't appear capable of doing much with his right, which really doesn't come as a surprise to the Vols (4-5, 0-5 SEC).

UT already was expecting Justin Worley to get a third consecutive start under center as the program looks for a road win over the Razorbacks (8-1, 4-1) in a push for a bowl bid. But if Bray's first appearance with the cast off didn't do anything to change his status for this week, it also didn't do much to clear up when he might be cleared for a return to contribute to another November run to the postseason.

"I think he can do whatever he's capable of doing," Dooley said. "Right now, he's not capable of doing much.

"I don't think (him wanting to rush back for a game) is as much the issue as just getting him out there where we could put him at risk. That's the biggest concern."

Party Foul: Collectively the offense had been in a big-play drought.

Individually, Da'Rick Rogers was dealing with a slump after going four games without a touchdown.

So when the sophomore wide receiver helped snap both strings at the same time with his 47-yard scoring grab last week against Middle Tennessee State, the relief for him was clear as he popped up for a celebration in the end zone. But he was reminded by officials that he had taken things too far with a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, and that message has been reinforced by his coaches since then, as well.

"Yeah, I got in trouble," Rogers said. "Really, I didn't really want to get a penalty. I just wanted to do something to get the team going. It's been a long time since we've been in the end zone. I thought I could get us going with a little something.

"It always feels good to score touchdowns. ... Really, I've just been working hard trying to get back in there, and this week we're going to really focus on getting in the end zone."

And if Rogers can provide an encore to the bomb from Worley, he seems unlikely to duplicate his dance moves.

Though the exact reasons why he might want to avoid them aren't going to be discussed publicly by the Vols.

"We handle it internally," Dooley said. "He wasn't the only one at fault. I mean, half the team is looking at the video board laughing and I'm going off on the sidelines. It's a different generation, man.

"Those kinds of acts are never tolerated or encouraged. It was disappointing. We won't have any more of those."

Bumps And Bruises: Tight end Mychal Rivera worked out in a green, non-contact jersey on Tuesday morning after suffering what is considered to be a minor injury to his right foot last weekend.

Linebacker Austin Johnson was wearing a protective brace on his right arm after "banging up" his elbow, but he pronounced himself fine to play against the Razorbacks.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached at 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 39

CoverOrange writes:

If Dooley had thought that Bray would be up and ready to go for the Vandy game, he wouldn't have put Worley in against Alabama. Reasonable chance we won't see Bray until next year.

wigmeister writes:

Just hope we don't rush it.

tree_em_smokey writes:

I think bray is finished for the year. He will start next year no matter how good Worley finishes the year. Glad Worley decided to come to UT. He is getting valuable "game time" that will be invaluable next year.

Many pieces are coming together. We wont see results until next year but having so many freshmen playing,the last two recruiting classes in top 15 and this years in that category also and a more experienced roster of upperclassmen that we haven't seen in a couple years. I'm optimistic and realistic. We won't win em all next year but we will compete with all on our schedule! GBO!!!

62vol writes:

We may still go to a bowl and TB should be well by then if not sooner.

milhaudmeto writes:

I'm guessing this site will wait (or make you pay) to announce we just picked up a new commit from FL...Daniel Gray a 3 Star recruit. he picked UT over Nebraska, Miss, Texas Tech, Kansas and FIU. GBO!

HooRay_Vol writes:

in response to milhaudmeto:

I'm guessing this site will wait (or make you pay) to announce we just picked up a new commit from FL...Daniel Gray a 3 Star recruit. he picked UT over Nebraska, Miss, Texas Tech, Kansas and FIU. GBO!

Got to love it when we beat out Kansas and Florida International for a recruit! Now that Houston Nutt has been canned, can we please go back and try to get I'Tavius Mathers. We really need some more RB's!

flatrock writes:

The I-Train is a huge Auburn fan and any commitment he makes will always be subject to change if Auburn suddenly offers. He is one heck of a HS back, but some are concerned he might not be thick enough to survive running between the tackles in the SEC. I hope Vols re-visit him- but his idiot HS coach and assistant principal are very anti-UT. The idiot HS coach suffers from Little Middle Syndrome and the AP is an Alabama arse-kisser. The kid, however, is reportedly a very nice young man.

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

"I think he can do whatever he's capable of doing," Dooley said.

WOW!

Keep Fooley!!!

Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free writes:

in response to milhaudmeto:

I'm guessing this site will wait (or make you pay) to announce we just picked up a new commit from FL...Daniel Gray a 3 Star recruit. he picked UT over Nebraska, Miss, Texas Tech, Kansas and FIU. GBO!

Actually ESPN has this kid listed as a TWO star. Rivals has him as a three but you will have to go to the fourth page of cornerbacks to find Daniel Gray. There are more than 60 other 3 star cornerbacks rated higher. Did you Notice the only other SEC school interested in Gray was Ole Miss? Average players with less than average coaches recruiting average talent means ut will continue sliding to the bottom of the East. Look up and you will see UGA, SC, FLA, now Vandy and soon to be Missouri.

History and hope. The Vawl way!

nicknack1 writes:

If Worley plays really well against Arkansas, I'd say he'll stay in for the rest of the season

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEAR:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Right. If JW calls the Hogs to slaughter this week, he succeeds where Bray and Simms have failed--win against a ranked opponent. Ar-Kansas is vulnerable and has squeaked by several "not-so-good" teams. If we loose, everyone awaits a Bray return. Notwithstanding Bray's previous success throwing the ball, if we win, it's a QB controversy. Let's first win the game, then let the cream rise to the proverbial top. Go Vols!

CCLC writes:

Bray won't be back unless it is to a bowl. Vols (4-5,0-5 SEC) will have to win 2 of their last 3 to become bowl eligible and will only be favored in one of those 3 --->(Kentucky 4-5,1-4 SEC). Worse case 5-7, best case 6-6 with bowl eligibility. (Music City would be my guess). Vandy is pretty hot right now and will compete for whatever instate talent there is. Dooley will have to hit the recruiting roads hard and hope to land a few blue chippers that can contribute early if he is going to "grow that bamboo." 2012 schedule is much easier with heavy weights Akron, Georgia State, Troy, NC State(4-5/2011). I'd say the bamboo gets a little taller for UT next season.
just sayin'

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

in response to HooRay_Vol:

Got to love it when we beat out Kansas and Florida International for a recruit! Now that Houston Nutt has been canned, can we please go back and try to get I'Tavius Mathers. We really need some more RB's!

You conveniently left out Nebraska and Texas Tech, but some people always look for the negative.

Smokey says but he agrees about the RB..

MemphisHog writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

Right. If JW calls the Hogs to slaughter this week, he succeeds where Bray and Simms have failed--win against a ranked opponent. Ar-Kansas is vulnerable and has squeaked by several "not-so-good" teams. If we loose, everyone awaits a Bray return. Notwithstanding Bray's previous success throwing the ball, if we win, it's a QB controversy. Let's first win the game, then let the cream rise to the proverbial top. Go Vols!

Guess you didn't watch the Ark/SC game Saturday night. Hogs are a different team at home than on the road. Should have scored 60 on Cocky.

linebam writes:

in response to CCLC:

Bray won't be back unless it is to a bowl. Vols (4-5,0-5 SEC) will have to win 2 of their last 3 to become bowl eligible and will only be favored in one of those 3 --->(Kentucky 4-5,1-4 SEC). Worse case 5-7, best case 6-6 with bowl eligibility. (Music City would be my guess). Vandy is pretty hot right now and will compete for whatever instate talent there is. Dooley will have to hit the recruiting roads hard and hope to land a few blue chippers that can contribute early if he is going to "grow that bamboo." 2012 schedule is much easier with heavy weights Akron, Georgia State, Troy, NC State(4-5/2011). I'd say the bamboo gets a little taller for UT next season.
just sayin'

One of those four you mentioned will be out with the additional of Mizzou to the SEC East. Which one is anyone's guess. That'll make it a bit harder as the Tigers will not be a pushover.

Volunatic writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

Right. If JW calls the Hogs to slaughter this week, he succeeds where Bray and Simms have failed--win against a ranked opponent. Ar-Kansas is vulnerable and has squeaked by several "not-so-good" teams. If we loose, everyone awaits a Bray return. Notwithstanding Bray's previous success throwing the ball, if we win, it's a QB controversy. Let's first win the game, then let the cream rise to the proverbial top. Go Vols!

Bray beat Cincinnati. They are ranked, and Tennessee is the only loss on their schedule so far.

Bubba_Knows writes:

Get a grip - catchy!

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

I think bray is finished for the year. He will start next year no matter how good Worley finishes the year. Glad Worley decided to come to UT. He is getting valuable "game time" that will be invaluable next year.

Many pieces are coming together. We wont see results until next year but having so many freshmen playing,the last two recruiting classes in top 15 and this years in that category also and a more experienced roster of upperclassmen that we haven't seen in a couple years. I'm optimistic and realistic. We won't win em all next year but we will compete with all on our schedule! GBO!!!

Agree - we will be much stronger next season with two quality QB's than this year with one super star with a broken finger, one great name who can't throw the ball, and a true Freshmen who can't find his way to class. My concern is more with the improvement of the OL or lack thereof in looking ahead to next year. Do we need a new line coach? Zone blocking to make it easier? What? I'll hang up and listen to your answer.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's right brett. If you'd been paying attention instead of just trying to discredit Dooley with about 9 screen names, you would KNOW that it's always been looked at as YEAR THREE as to when we should see results. Duhhhhh.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to SouthPaVol:

Right. If JW calls the Hogs to slaughter this week, he succeeds where Bray and Simms have failed--win against a ranked opponent. Ar-Kansas is vulnerable and has squeaked by several "not-so-good" teams. If we loose, everyone awaits a Bray return. Notwithstanding Bray's previous success throwing the ball, if we win, it's a QB controversy. Let's first win the game, then let the cream rise to the proverbial top. Go Vols!

Don't give up your day job. Bray is the best QB we have seen since Peyton Manning. He's got NFL all over him and the Freshmen can't carry his shoes.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

Don't give up your day job. Bray is the best QB we have seen since Peyton Manning. He's got NFL all over him and the Freshmen can't carry his shoes.

Is there actually somebody who doesn't get that?

CCLC writes:

in response to linebam:

One of those four you mentioned will be out with the additional of Mizzou to the SEC East. Which one is anyone's guess. That'll make it a bit harder as the Tigers will not be a pushover.

Missouri is 4-5 this year and pretty dead even with NC State as far as strength.

CCLC writes:

in response to Volunatic:

Bray beat Cincinnati. They are ranked, and Tennessee is the only loss on their schedule so far.

Bearcats have enjoyed a fairly pedestrian schedule with their biggest victory over 5-4 Louisville. They are ranked cause they have one loss. Not because of strength of schedule.
just sayin'

CCLC writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

Don't give up your day job. Bray is the best QB we have seen since Peyton Manning. He's got NFL all over him and the Freshmen can't carry his shoes.

That"s a bit premature. He has yet to play a whole season and the games he has played in came mostly against cupcakes.
just sayin'

volfanmo writes:

in response to CCLC:

Missouri is 4-5 this year and pretty dead even with NC State as far as strength.

Mizzou has the second hardest strength of schedule in the country. Check your facts. They will be top 15 preseason next year.

CCLC writes:

in response to volfanmo:

Mizzou has the second hardest strength of schedule in the country. Check your facts. They will be top 15 preseason next year.

I checked ... you're right. Don't know about the top 15 ranking- they will be in the SEC right?

cooper65#432178 writes:

in response to volfanmo:

Mizzou has the second hardest strength of schedule in the country. Check your facts. They will be top 15 preseason next year.

Maybe, but they will be unranked by mid-season and will remain unranked.

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to Orange_Pants_Buy_One_Get_One_Free:

Actually ESPN has this kid listed as a TWO star. Rivals has him as a three but you will have to go to the fourth page of cornerbacks to find Daniel Gray. There are more than 60 other 3 star cornerbacks rated higher. Did you Notice the only other SEC school interested in Gray was Ole Miss? Average players with less than average coaches recruiting average talent means ut will continue sliding to the bottom of the East. Look up and you will see UGA, SC, FLA, now Vandy and soon to be Missouri.

History and hope. The Vawl way!

Take a look at the Buffalo Bills roster.

RUstilltalking writes:

in response to Navaloranges:

Is there actually somebody who doesn't get that?

BellyButton, Bray is not the best QB since Peyton Manning. He hasn't played any teams good enough to even warrant that comparison. Bray "could be" good. But until he has played some good competition and won some big games he is not even in the Top Ten.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to CCLC:

That"s a bit premature. He has yet to play a whole season and the games he has played in came mostly against cupcakes.
just sayin'

His accuracy, his arm strength, his ability to pick out secondary receivers, his quick release are all way ahead of where a Soph are suppose to be. I'd bet money if he stays healthy this kid has NFL all over him.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to RUstilltalking:

BellyButton, Bray is not the best QB since Peyton Manning. He hasn't played any teams good enough to even warrant that comparison. Bray "could be" good. But until he has played some good competition and won some big games he is not even in the Top Ten.

Bull sheet.

Bubba_Knows writes:

Considering Bray does not even have a run game to support him, it is amazing that he has put up the kind of yards he has. I don't see any other QB other than the Stanford QB look as good as Bray throwing the ball (granted I have not seen evertyone of them). What QB doesn't get better after their Soph year? By his Senior year, he should be worshiped on the Hill if the rest of the team doesn't hold him back.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

Hopefully Bray will be healed up for the Vandy game but I get this feeling that ne probably won't be..Don't want to push it because no need to risk further injury that set back his career even further.

I have never had any broken bones,more specifically a broken thumb..Anyone know how much times it needs to heal completely??

Smokey says he wants what is best for Bray and if that means not returning until next year,then so be it..

Navaloranges writes:

in response to RUstilltalking:

BellyButton, Bray is not the best QB since Peyton Manning. He hasn't played any teams good enough to even warrant that comparison. Bray "could be" good. But until he has played some good competition and won some big games he is not even in the Top Ten.

I care what a florida troll thinks? Right.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

More drivel from a hopeless FULMERITE with MULTIPLE screen names. merlot, css, born2ride, professionalhandicapper, and "brett" just to name a few. Shame is, we ALL know it, yet you continue. I do believe that's called "insanity".

Theo writes:

in response to IB4UT:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Okay, I give up. How stupid are you? Go away.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to Navaloranges:

More drivel from a hopeless FULMERITE with MULTIPLE screen names. merlot, css, born2ride, professionalhandicapper, and "brett" just to name a few. Shame is, we ALL know it, yet you continue. I do believe that's called "insanity".

N/O

Fancy that. The Merlot-Troll, AKA the "drinker"
is actually using the word "drunken" in his as usual stupid post.

What a waste of space on GoVolsExtra to have trolls like this here. Especially a whiny one at that.

CCLC writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

N/O

Fancy that. The Merlot-Troll, AKA the "drinker"
is actually using the word "drunken" in his as usual stupid post.

What a waste of space on GoVolsExtra to have trolls like this here. Especially a whiny one at that.

Dont get a chance to exchange football with you very often...... so I jumped here.

Vandy was 2-10 last year. Doubling that total through 9 games with a chance to hit 7 wins qualifies as a pretty good job coaching.

Arky will win and you guys travel at the end of the season....... better spark it up.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to CCLC:

Dont get a chance to exchange football with you very often...... so I jumped here.

Vandy was 2-10 last year. Doubling that total through 9 games with a chance to hit 7 wins qualifies as a pretty good job coaching.

Arky will win and you guys travel at the end of the season....... better spark it up.

CC,

I am realistic here. Should Tennessee stumble from here on out, I won't like it but will not dwell on things. I hung with the Vols when things were just as bleak as we're seeing now.
1988 season began 0-6. The 4 games I did see in 1980 were all losses..........Georgia 16-15, Southern Cal 20-17, Pitt 30-6, and Virginia 16-13. I realized then as I do now, that things will return to what Vol fans expect to see.

Trolls and whiny birds are basking in our season now, loving it, and thinking this is Tennessee's future forever. That thinking is purely comical.

People like Johnlg, NavalOranges, ProwlinSmokey etc.........we all are realistic here and don't get doomy and gloomy as the trolls want us to be.
I've seen us win 75% of the games since 1967, wins numerous times over every team in the SEC, and against a lot of excellent teams such as Notre Dame, Penn State, Cal, Syracuse, UCLA, plus many more, too many to mention. Trolls overlook the big picture such as 793 all time wins, tied for 2nd with Texas in bowl appearances, behind Alabama. So I'm not too worried about the Vols getting back on track.........as so many are bent out of shape right now.

Georgia? Nice bounce back season after 0-2.
It helped not facing LSU and Alabama as Tennessee did back to back.

Anyway, Georgia should be in the SEC CG but then it will get.....................interesting.

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