Tyler Bray's injury compounds loss

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray leaves the field with his right hand bandaged following the Vols' 20-12 loss to Georgia on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2011

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray leaves the field with his right hand bandaged following the Vols' 20-12 loss to Georgia on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

Game recap: Georgia 20, Tennessee 12

Thumb wrapped, Tyler Bray slightly adjusted his course on the way to the locker room and headed for the family section behind the north end zone.

The Tennessee quarterback didn't appear to be delivering good news.

With little going right offensively as the Vols tried to establish themselves as a threat in the conference race, bad seemed to get worse late in the fourth quarter as Bray's throwing hand found the helmet of a Georgia defender and sent him to the sideline. UT added a score while he was receiving medical attention, but it wasn't enough to crawl back in a 20-12 loss on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium.

"He's not a doctor, so he doesn't know (if it's broken)," Vols coach Derek Dooley said. "He hurt his thumb, that's what we know.

"We'll find out when we X-ray it."

Even without a medical diagnosis, it was clear as soon as Bray winged a pass out to running back Marlin Lane and started favoring his right arm that something was wrong as the Vols (3-2, 0-2 SEC) tried to climb out of a hole it had created while managing just a pair of field goals over the first three quarters.

A simple test on the next snap for Bray provided an answer as to whether or not he could continue under center, and when an attempt fluttered out of his hand he went directly to the sideline and didn't return.

Former starter Matt Simms came in and completed a pair of crucial fourth-down passes and gave the Vols their only touchdown against the Bulldogs (4-1, 3-1 SEC) with a short sneak, but the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds and a last-gasp effort in the closing seconds didn't go anywhere.

But even before that the Vols had been struggling to generate much offense. Bray finished the game with 251 yards and completed 18 of his 33 attempts, but he had no help from a toothless rushing attack, faced consistent pressure from Georgia and also contributed to some of UT's issues with penalties with a delay of game and an intentional grounding.

Those problems weren't as glaring during the first half, with Bray leading a couple long drives that produced field goals and another that ended with a missed attempt from Michael Palardy. But it all compounded after intermission, with the Bulldogs putting up a pair of touchdowns to break a tie and never allowing the Vols do much else after that.

"We were doing some decent things, but we weren't generating some big plays," Dooley said. "Couldn't push it down the field the way we normally could, and that's a good defense so it requires a lot of patience. You know, they were playing good coverage, and I think we were getting impatient a little bit. I don't know.

"I think it was, we just could not get in rhythm out there. Give Georgia credit because they were controlling the ball, but it's frustrating."

To an offense already without one significant piece after losing wide receiver Justin Hunter for the season with torn ligaments in his knee, an injury of any sort could add to that feeling for Dooley.

Simms did some positive things in a limited sample size, but regardless of UT's confidence in the senior, it surely wasn't planning on dealing with the possibility of playing without Bray as the nation's top two teams await the next two weeks.

"I'm not exactly sure what happened to Tyler," Simms said. "I just knew that everyone was screaming my name and I just ran over there."

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Comments » 59

1986sugarbowl writes:

Yeah this is tough!! If it is broke, he could be out the rest of the year. I hate it for him and the team. Simms can be hit or miss as we have seen in the past, but we also have the young Mr. Worley that has impressed me with what I have seen and heard from him. With Brey out and Hunter out, we might get three more wins!! You got to expect it and don’t start yelling “Fire Dooley” He will be fine!!

I will say this though; Henshaw is going to have to drill it in these young kids head, to take the sack, instead of throwing stupid balls. We are lucky they were only grounding calls (In which one shouldn’t have been), and not pick sixes!! Two bad interference calls hurt us and could have changed the outcome. A bad spot of the ball on a third and long for Georgia gave them a better option to go for it on 4th, otherwise with the proper spot of the ball, Georgia punts. But we should have lost that fumble that was reviewed. Georgia’s players did recover no doubt. But what it boils down to is we lost!!! Bottom Line!!!! Get well Bray!!

ReVolver writes:

Bummed about the loss. As Bray would say, "next play."

Kudos to Simms for being ready to play, and executing really well in an extremely intense situation.

volsgirl23 writes:

This is the last thing we need, but this will prove that we can persevere. What better way to give a young team experience than everything going wrong before the toughest games of the season? I have faith they will make what talent they have work. They'll learn from this and become stronger.

slimster01 writes:

take away a couple of key injuries this season & alot of what even the announcers said were bad calls this season is totally different. Don't give up the faith get well Bray & hope for a complete recover to Hunter & GO VOLS!!!

1986sugarbowl writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well I actually meant the two calls called against Vareen!! But yes the interference that should have been called when Rivera was tripped up cost us six no doubt. No interference on Z Rod!! He tripped himself. Agree that one grounding call was bogus and the second with Brey was a close one also since Rivera was 2 yards away. If they would have caught the ball, would they have waived off the reception and called grounding? I didn’t see the Simms face mask. Yeah we lost, lets geux get the Tigers!!!

FWBVol writes:

The big question I have is, if Bray misses even one game or is out for several weeks, who is the backup to Simms? Do they go with Nash as the No. 2 guy? He certainly has a history with Da'Rick. Or do they take the redshirt of Worley and throw him into the fire the same way they had to with Bray last year?

JimmyJoe writes:

It's pretty much done at this point guys. This was the team to beat. No hope at all to beat LSU, Bama, Carolina, Arkansas. Absolutely no hope. Those games will be over by half time. It's just over. What in the world has happened to us? We won't see 100,000 at another game this year...it's like going to a funeral...when the guy is not completely dead... But you know he is gonna die...

DooleysOrangePants writes:

and so it continues. ho-hum

Tennfan4075 writes:

This was the Vols best chance for a win. The teams coming up only get better. This is a sinking ship, not enough quality players to compete in the SEC and if DD's recruiting continues it's current path the gap between the Vols and the big dogs in the SEC will only get wider, because I can't see AL and the others waiting around.

9886morris writes:

two questions for mr dooley.how long does he stay with this center-also late in game at midfield 4th and 3 he punts looked like a coaching mistake to me..

tennisvol writes:

The downward trend continues. Thanks to ole former AD Hamilton for taking it to a new low under his leadership.

TommyJack writes:

in response to tennisvol:

The downward trend continues. Thanks to ole former AD Hamilton for taking it to a new low under his leadership.

Don't be a putz.

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good question! I too was wondering why it is taking so long to release the medical evaluation! I'm no fan of Simms at all, but I have to admit, that under those circumstances he played pretty well. Wasn't easy to come in like that and start throwing!

volsince53 writes:

everyone here complains about why we are not competing on the same level as top teams. the recruiting from 2008 and on was terrible. we listened to ranking on classes who s top talent were either overrated or could not make it in school dooley may not be the man but our schedule this year in the sec is brutal. we play all the top teams from the west and all in a row. this recruiting class coming in looks to be just as solid as last year. it will take time gbo

SummittsCourt writes:

First, UT is already behind because of the previous 3 years of upheaval, compounded by the fact that the SEC is the most competitive conference in college sports, then add on some disciplinary problems and you wonder why UT isn't ready to compete at a high level yet.

Give it time. Right now UT's recruiting class for next year is rated #14, but there are 7 SEC teams ahead of them.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to 1986sugarbowl:

Yeah this is tough!! If it is broke, he could be out the rest of the year. I hate it for him and the team. Simms can be hit or miss as we have seen in the past, but we also have the young Mr. Worley that has impressed me with what I have seen and heard from him. With Brey out and Hunter out, we might get three more wins!! You got to expect it and don’t start yelling “Fire Dooley” He will be fine!!

I will say this though; Henshaw is going to have to drill it in these young kids head, to take the sack, instead of throwing stupid balls. We are lucky they were only grounding calls (In which one shouldn’t have been), and not pick sixes!! Two bad interference calls hurt us and could have changed the outcome. A bad spot of the ball on a third and long for Georgia gave them a better option to go for it on 4th, otherwise with the proper spot of the ball, Georgia punts. But we should have lost that fumble that was reviewed. Georgia’s players did recover no doubt. But what it boils down to is we lost!!! Bottom Line!!!! Get well Bray!!

With the current rules, you should teach the QB to ALWAYS try to toss it, regardless of the penalty - because there's no penalty. The ball is spotted where the QB was tackled with loss of down - the same thing that would happen if he held on to the ball. Granted there is a greater chance of an INT under those circumstances but short of that, toss it, they might not call it. I thought I remembered that the rule used to be a five-yard penalty from the spot and loss of down, a good reason to take the sack. Does anyone else remember that or is it my imagination? By the way, the ref that called those two phantom interference penalties is Al Matthews, former Vandy standout. Just sayin' every time the Dawgs needed a call, the old Commodore helped them out.

I disagree though that those calls were the problem. We just looked flat offensively, and it was more than Georgia's defense. If Bray is done for the year, Dooley actually benefits because all the talk about a "hot seat" will go away, what with Hunter and Bray both on the bench. And that's a good thing for the coach because he doesn't deserve that. It was very obvious last night (and will be even more so over the next 3 weeks) that our talent deficit against the top teams in our conference is substantial. Until (and if) that improves, last night will be the norm at our conference's current top-to-bottom strength. 2012 should improve but it may be a year or two after that before 9 or 10 wins becomes a realistic possibility. Next two weeks will be brutal. Six wins isn't a given without Bray so we will simply have to take our lumps the rest of the season and expectantly watch signing day with an eye towards 2012 and beyond. Go Vols!!!

TommyJack writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not sure exactly what agenda I have. Hamilton hired Dooley. If that's what you mean, yes to your first question. Hamilton fired FHCPF. But not soon enough. Time will tell on Dooley. Time told on FHCPF.

shoelessvol#236864 writes:

Obviously this was a game that we needed to win in the worse way! Bray's injury...and you have to believe that it is serious, will end any chances of having a real good season. Though is shouldn't come down to it the two phantom pass interference calls cost us the game!!

PANCHO writes:

LSU 40 TENN 0 ??????

OrangePride writes:

Well, from where I sat, Georgia was the better football team out there last night. They were more poised, more in control of the lines of scrimmage, and more able to make the big plays. That said, those atrocius interference calls and a couple of non-calls we should have had might well have made a significant difference!! I rarely carp about officiating, but in this case, they made such a dramatic difference in the game it's hard not to. To my mind, the real turning point in the game was the high snap followed by that disgraceful punt out of the end zone! THAT HAS TO BE FREAKING FIXED!!! With Bray out for who knows how long, these next weeks will be a real challenge. Tough game.

UT-Pride writes:

New stars and playmakers will emerge. We won't win the Championship this year. If you are "done with the Vols" this year (like some of the prior posts I've seen) then become a LSU or OK fan and good riddance. The rest of us wil support the Vols and hope we can play spoilers for a few teams. Time for Worley to show off some skills.

kd45music writes:

This is bad. No Hunter and now no Bray. We are overmatched now at every position on both sides of the ball. I'll be patient and give the coaching staff another year to put things on an upward path, but I'm beginning to waver in my commitment, as much as I like Dooley.

Slystone writes:

Dooley continues to see bad luck. Upsetting LSU appears to be slim. As Bill Paxton said in Aliens,"Games over Man, we're goners".

SouthDakotaBob writes:

in response to UT-Pride:

New stars and playmakers will emerge. We won't win the Championship this year. If you are "done with the Vols" this year (like some of the prior posts I've seen) then become a LSU or OK fan and good riddance. The rest of us wil support the Vols and hope we can play spoilers for a few teams. Time for Worley to show off some skills.

We are due to surprise someone and have the luck go our way for a change. True fans take the good with the bad. GBO!!!

brokendownoldvol writes:

Oh boy, now we get to lead the nation in sacks and have the longest streak without a 3rd down conversion again. At least now we will lead the nation in something again.

givehim6 writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

It's pretty much done at this point guys. This was the team to beat. No hope at all to beat LSU, Bama, Carolina, Arkansas. Absolutely no hope. Those games will be over by half time. It's just over. What in the world has happened to us? We won't see 100,000 at another game this year...it's like going to a funeral...when the guy is not completely dead... But you know he is gonna die...

Icame on go Vols this morning fully expecting doom and glom, but I read posts from sugerbowl 1986 and 10vol telling what really happened and I think wow there are some real fans left out there thanks guys, sorry if I did not get your screen names 100% right. Anyway there needs to be a investigation on the refes because one or two, but all game? But UT got called every time, and one grounding call Lane was right there but Bray was slung to the ground so of course the ball was not right on him. But there will be guys like billyjoe here that will chant no hope/skys falling that only see doom & gloom, let me ask this if the Vols just gave up, why was the score not GA 34 UT 6? The Vols didn't give up. When we lost to UF did thay give up after hunter went down? No. Well there calling time to go to church, then it will be Titan time. Just word to think on, ok

LADAWG writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whine whine whine. Boo hoo. Dawgs own Rocky top. Plenty of calls went your way too. Let's not forget 2 fumbles.....dawgs are just better. All I heard was how mighty Bray was gonna throw it around on the dawgs. The only pass he could complete were dump downs because our secondary is so good. Dapunk....got lit up and was useless the rest of the game.

knoxchatter writes:

in response to PANCHO:

LSU 40 TENN 0 ??????

And that's with LSU playing their 3rd-strings!!

Vol_From_Memphis writes:

We should pull out of the SEC and join the Big 10. We have Big 10 type players...no speed and little skill.

arkyvol writes:

in response to MerlOT_GoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

agree. dooley (that's the only reason he's here) is another one of hapless hammy's heirlooms. i give him another year, two at most (some people don't seem to catch on as quickly), before a majority admit the obvious and we move on.

volsgirl23 writes:

in response to Vol_From_Memphis:

We should pull out of the SEC and join the Big 10. We have Big 10 type players...no speed and little skill.

I think we have plenty of potential. We just don't have the experience to back it up. No reason to throw in the towel just yet. It's not like Tennessee to give up that quickly. Go Vols!!

BigOrangeSmoker writes:

If in fact it is broke were done Sims aint worth a chit as a QB,he done just fine on the sidelines holding that clipboard.We got 2 other QB's Woorley and Nance either one of them would beat Sims,this season just might get even longer...Go Vols

TommyJack writes:

in response to LADAWG:

Whine whine whine. Boo hoo. Dawgs own Rocky top. Plenty of calls went your way too. Let's not forget 2 fumbles.....dawgs are just better. All I heard was how mighty Bray was gonna throw it around on the dawgs. The only pass he could complete were dump downs because our secondary is so good. Dapunk....got lit up and was useless the rest of the game.

Maybe you SHOULD whine more. One of the most talent laden states in the US and you guys barely compete. Pitiful

UTByrd writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The two non-calls on PI were bad enough. The two PI's against Vereen were very "ticky-tack". I'm not making excuses, just looking at the facts. This has to be one of the worst cases of bad officiating I have ever seen.
It's hard enough to beat a mediocre team and the refs, let alone a team as talented as Georgia.
Hurry up and get well Tyler, we need you.
Also, I'm glad Simms decided to stay at UT.
Go VOLS!!!!!

gatorhator4eva writes:

isnt it crazy how karma works. they pulled simms for bray. now bray is hurt. matt simms chance is now to get his job back. this could be good by looking at the way he played for that brief amount of time.it will be interesting to watch. hopefully we can hang in there.

SGTSpurge writes:

LSU and Bama will not be fun games to watch. USCe and Arky? I don't know. Both looked really good yesterday, but both have looked beatable this year. Memphis, Vandy, and UK should get us bowl eligible. Granted, we'll go back to Nashville, but I'd rather do Nashville than sit home. Now, if we can sneak wins on USCe and Arky, that would put us 8 - 4 and possibly give us a trip to Florida for the Outback or one of those bowls, or perhaps even the Cotton Bowl. Yeh, I'm dreaming, but dreaming beats whining. Frankly, I'm having a hard time trying to swollow the pill of possibly going 2 - 6 in SEC play. I'm just not used to that. But, between injuries and bad calls, it looks like a reality. I still think CDD has a good thing going, but we need another year or two before we see that good thing start to come to fruition. Just my thoughts.

SGTSpurge writes:

Oh & BTW, to those Bama and LSU fans on here who are classy fans and don't come here to just troll the board: assuming that the Vols lose to you guys, that will keep both of you in the running for the BCSNCG. Frankly, I will be pulling for the winner of the game between you two to keep the SEC's streak alive. I will passionately hate both of your teams when the Vols meet you on the field, but once the games are over, family is family and I like keeping this national title thing in the family. Just saying.

FWBVol writes:

in response to Bryanbleedsorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Take a deep breath and take the caps lock off. Do you realize how stupid your post sounds to a sober person? You talk about being lucky if 90,000-95,000 fans show up, but there are only a few stadiums in the country that will hold a "small crowd" at Neyland.

As of now Rivals has our recruiting class ranked 13 in the country. That is fifth best in the SEC behind Florida, Alabama, LSU and Auburn. We have less commits than Alabama or LSU but the same number of 4 star recruits as both teams...none of the three have any 5 star commits at this time.

Lane Kiffin brought in what was supposed to be an all-world recruiting class. It was supposed to be the cornerstone of UT's future success in the game. Half of that class is gone.

We are still a very young football team with more than 70 percent of the players on the squad being either freshmen or sophomores.

Do we have problems? Yes, but they are problems CDD inherited. And it seems that Dooley took a job that, for whatever reasons, nobody seemed to want. Maybe Hamilton didn't offer enough money or wasn't give permission to offer enough money to a name coach, or maybe other coaches saw the mess our program was in after Fulmer was fired and Kiffin jumped ship in a 14-month period.

However people might feel as to whether it was time for Fulmer to go or not, I don't think it's a stretch to say, based on what happened with Kiffin, we wouldn't be in any worse shape if he had been given the 2009 season.

The problems facing Dooley and the football program were several years in the making. Contrary to the thinking of some people, it will take more than 21 months or two years to get the program turned around, but we will get there.

brokendownoldvol writes:

Simms did live up to his reputation. He took the ugliest sack I've seen all year.

ChrisUTvol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

The big question I have is, if Bray misses even one game or is out for several weeks, who is the backup to Simms? Do they go with Nash as the No. 2 guy? He certainly has a history with Da'Rick. Or do they take the redshirt of Worley and throw him into the fire the same way they had to with Bray last year?

Take the red shirt off Worley and go with him!!!!

ghawk writes:

in response to JimmyJoe:

It's pretty much done at this point guys. This was the team to beat. No hope at all to beat LSU, Bama, Carolina, Arkansas. Absolutely no hope. Those games will be over by half time. It's just over. What in the world has happened to us? We won't see 100,000 at another game this year...it's like going to a funeral...when the guy is not completely dead... But you know he is gonna die...

You are probably right Jimmy Joe, so what do you do? Fold the tent, or buck up and get behind your team, and support the young men out there trying as hard as they can? Goes back a lot to what kind of person you are. You'll have to decide. Fold and just whine, or buck up get behind the team in good times as well as bad. They started in a big hole from the last few years and these other teams are very good, so I say let's get behind them and don't whine.

bbfn writes:

in response to SGTSpurge:

LSU and Bama will not be fun games to watch. USCe and Arky? I don't know. Both looked really good yesterday, but both have looked beatable this year. Memphis, Vandy, and UK should get us bowl eligible. Granted, we'll go back to Nashville, but I'd rather do Nashville than sit home. Now, if we can sneak wins on USCe and Arky, that would put us 8 - 4 and possibly give us a trip to Florida for the Outback or one of those bowls, or perhaps even the Cotton Bowl. Yeh, I'm dreaming, but dreaming beats whining. Frankly, I'm having a hard time trying to swollow the pill of possibly going 2 - 6 in SEC play. I'm just not used to that. But, between injuries and bad calls, it looks like a reality. I still think CDD has a good thing going, but we need another year or two before we see that good thing start to come to fruition. Just my thoughts.

Don't count on beating Memphis and Vandy just yet.

Stanman08 writes:

tired of excuses. they can't play dead against a worthless georgia team.

Stanman08 writes:

hey dooley do little, great game plan.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to 9886morris:

two questions for mr dooley.how long does he stay with this center-also late in game at midfield 4th and 3 he punts looked like a coaching mistake to me..

The 4th and 3 punt proved to be the right call because the defense forced a 3 and out

deadheadvol writes:

in response to ghawk:

You are probably right Jimmy Joe, so what do you do? Fold the tent, or buck up and get behind your team, and support the young men out there trying as hard as they can? Goes back a lot to what kind of person you are. You'll have to decide. Fold and just whine, or buck up get behind the team in good times as well as bad. They started in a big hole from the last few years and these other teams are very good, so I say let's get behind them and don't whine.

Im with you hawk, and 3rd and 56? How often does that happen, go big orange.

asleep#212036 writes:

in response to TheBigE:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree with that completely. The biggest difference between Tennessee (and this year's Auburn) and the rest of the conference is the upper class talent. We simply don't have it so when we are playing freshmen and sophomores, it's not because we have the luxury of some 5-star future studs we can sprinkle in a game to get them some experience, hiding them among 9 all-SEC caliber players (Bama, LSU, and Florida). It's because the last two Fulmer classes and the now-vacated Kiffin class have created, to this point, an insurmountable deficit of experienced, physically matured talent relative to the better teams in our league, leaving us no choice but to put the young kids in and hold our breath. It shows every time we play a good team. We start OK but then our defense fades as the game progresses, our offensive line loses its punch and its poise, and when we really, really, really need someone to step up and make a play, it doesn't happen. The only guys we had that could consistently do that were Hunter and Bray and now they may both be gone for the year. IF Dooley can improve upon this recruiting class at all, the next couple of years should see a vast improvement, at least to get us within shouting distance of the top programs in the conference, and have us competing with and beating Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina, and Arkansas on a regular basis. Bama and LSU? Well, maybe a little longer on those two. Go Vols!!!

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to gatorhator4eva:

isnt it crazy how karma works. they pulled simms for bray. now bray is hurt. matt simms chance is now to get his job back. this could be good by looking at the way he played for that brief amount of time.it will be interesting to watch. hopefully we can hang in there.

I think some are under estimating Simms..He doesn't have the rifle arm Bray does but he knows the offense well;has his team mates respect;he's not afraid and can take a hit..He'll be okay if he can avoid throwing into traffic and can get decent pass protection

SGTSpurge writes:

in response to 10seVol85:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry...I mistook the Middle Tennessee for Memphis. Oops. Oh well, same difference.

brokendownoldvol writes:

I never thought I would be worried about losing to MTSU.

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