Mike Strange: Can Tyler Bray make a pass at Tennessee's record book?

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray throws the ball during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray throws the ball during practice at Science Hill High School's Steve Spurrier Field in Kermit Tipton Stadium in Johnson City, Tenn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Tennessee's 2011 football season did not exactly produce an assault on the record book.

Statistics compiled by the Vols last fall were modest virtually across the board. The exceptional was in short supply.

Da'Rick Rogers didn't set any records but he did top the SEC with 67 pass receptions. He was the first Vol to lead an SEC stat category since Eric Berry's interception binge in 2008.

I wonder if 2012 will be much different.

There is, in fact, potential.

It won't be rushing. There's no Chuck Webb on this roster. No one has given hints that Travis Stephens' UT season record (1,464 yards) is in peril.

Assistant coach Jay Graham can at least show his guys videotape of his 1,438-yard season in 1995.

Kicking marks set by Fuad Reveiz, Jeff Hall, John Becksvoort and Alex Walls should survive another year.

Punting? All school records are locked in a vault in the basement of the McClung Museum until the next generation of Colquitts comes of age.

Defensive records don't get as much hype. Stats are for offense. Witness the history of Heisman Trophy voting.

Actually, there is a Vol defender who could claim a bit of history if the cards fall right.

Prentiss Waggner has three career interception returns for touchdowns. The SEC and NCAA record is five.

Tennessee's own Jackie Walker (1969-71) owns the SEC mark and shares the NCAA record.

Waggner could get his hands on a few balls this year. At least Derek Dooley and Sal Sunseri hope so.

But I've been saving the most intriguing possibility for last — Tyler Bray and the promise of an aerial circus.

When it comes to the passing game at Tennessee, school records don't come cheap. That goes for both throwing and catching.

Few UT receivers have had a more productive season than Rogers did last year: 67 catches, 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns. All that despite no bowl and a mysterious catatonic affliction at Kentucky.

The school season reccords are 76 catches (Marcus Nash), 1,298 yards (Robert Meachem) and 13 TDs (Nash).

Rogers will be every bit as talented in 2012. And he'll have a top-notch gunslinger throwing the ball for an entire season if Bray stays healthy. Bray missed five games last year.

However, Rogers won't be the singular target this year as he was in 2011 after Justin Hunter went down.

Hunter's back. Junior college star Cordarrelle Patterson is on board. Bray will have a lot of options and that, in turn, will make it hard for a receiver to blaze new ground.

Ultimately, Bray should be the most likely Vol to get his name on a record.

Actually, he already has if you read the fine print.

In 2010, his 308 passing yards in the first half against Memphis set a UT record for a half.

Last year, he was 34-of-41 against Cincinnati, an 82.9 completion percentage that set a school record for a game with a minimum of 30 attempts. (Tee Martin's 23-of-24 in 1998 is the overall standard.)

The guy is prolific. Despite playing only parts of two seasons, Bray is ninth on the career passing chart with 3,832 yards. A healthy season could see him leap all the way to fourth, passing Andy Kelly (6,397).

Could Bray approach Peyton Manning's 36 touchdown passes in a season? He's got 35 in 12 career starts, right at an average of three a game.

He's not likely to see a deluge of seven in one game, unless, like Erik Ainge in 2007, he gets four overtimes.

But if Bray tacks on some cheapies against, say, Georgia State and Troy and adds a couple in a bowl game, it's not an entirely ridiculous proposal.

Somebody ought to at least keep count.

Mike Strange may be reached at strangem@knoxnews.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/strangemike44 and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/strange.

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Comments » 47

dlobh writes:

If Bray and those receivers stay healthy (and out of trouble), this offense will put up big numbers. With a pro prospect QB throwing them the ball, this is probably the best set of receivers ever at UT, and for a school once known as "Wide Receiver U", that's saying something. This team could possible set scoring records as well.

JayTee writes:

In your question "Will this year be much better than 2011"?
The better question would be "When will you become a credible sports writer"?

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

Rajion Neal- 9 carries 134 yards 68 yd TD run in today's scrimmage. This guys been the best back all along and should have been second behind Poole last year. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

We don't have one super stud lottery pick RB, but collectively I personally think we are loaded between the three (Neal, Lane, Young). And they all bring their own unique skillset. All three have really good hands as well.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Rajion Neal- 9 carries 134 yards 68 yd TD run in today's scrimmage. This guys been the best back all along and should have been second behind Poole last year. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

We don't have one super stud lottery pick RB, but collectively I personally think we are loaded between the three (Neal, Lane, Young). And they all bring their own unique skillset. All three have really good hands as well.

I think you're forgetting our injuries at WR last season. Neal did a great job of filling in as the 2nd or 3rd receiving option. But, I completely agree he's our best option at RB (as long as he holds onto the fb) and should have a great year. I'm also wanting to see him catching the ball out of the backfield in open space, he, Lane & Young would be excellent in this capacity..GBO!!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

Stats from today's scrimmage. A solid day from the RBs. He might be small, but Devrin Young continues to be really consistent running and catching the ball. Really good to see Q. Watson with a 61yd scamper. However, he had 6 carries for 60 yds...ouch. THE BIGGEST THING........Palardy 4-4 on FGs, and Darr 43 yard average on punts. If Bray goes down or gets in trouble, I REALLY thing Worley is ready for the big show. Looks like a good productive day.

pingkr62 writes:

I hate to constantly beat a dead horse, But if our offensive line can grow up, and grow some clankers, Tennessee's offense will be VERY hard to stop. Twenty days and counting. G.B.O.!!!

chinarobert writes:

Maybe the record for most stupidity and subsequent arrests by a quarterback?

SevenT writes:

Is this the same guy who set UT records for:

1. The UT record for the Most "throat slash" gestures in one game.

2. The UT record for the Most beer bottles launched from an apartment balcany

3. The UT record for the Most water jet ski citations.

4. The UT record for the most gangster look alike black suit picture

orangecountyvols writes:

Strange,

You are harping on this record.......that record. IMO at least, it might be a better idea to put records aside and figure on the most important figure of all.......the win column. If the Vols can mange to do what they are capable of doing.........the records will follow.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

I think you're forgetting our injuries at WR last season. Neal did a great job of filling in as the 2nd or 3rd receiving option. But, I completely agree he's our best option at RB (as long as he holds onto the fb) and should have a great year. I'm also wanting to see him catching the ball out of the backfield in open space, he, Lane & Young would be excellent in this capacity..GBO!!

Personally, I think Lane was Dooley's man from the jump. Perhaps recruiting promises? Not that it's wrong, just what I think. Plus Lane had some fumbles too. Not to knock him, I think the lack of a RB coach contributed to both of them fumbling in the past. I think that had a lot to do with our struggles in the run game as a whole. Well that, a moving Fugate to defense. Dude was a stud FB in the making and misteriously disappeared. I like Bartholemew, he's got the heart of a lion...plus the family roots go way deep with UT. But I think Fugates skillset at FB was rare and incredible. Yet one day he just disappeared. I don't care who it is, I just want a 1,000yd rusher. Boy that would be nice.

CrankE writes:

"Waggner could get his hands on a few balls this year."

Indeed.

And KNS could get proofreaders that are more smarter.

pingkr62 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Is this the same guy who set UT records for:

1. The UT record for the Most "throat slash" gestures in one game.

2. The UT record for the Most beer bottles launched from an apartment balcany

3. The UT record for the Most water jet ski citations.

4. The UT record for the most gangster look alike black suit picture

Didn't your mama ever teach you if you can't find anything good to say, shut the h#ll up?

BolivrBob writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Rajion Neal- 9 carries 134 yards 68 yd TD run in today's scrimmage. This guys been the best back all along and should have been second behind Poole last year. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

We don't have one super stud lottery pick RB, but collectively I personally think we are loaded between the three (Neal, Lane, Young). And they all bring their own unique skillset. All three have really good hands as well.

I agree Rich except I would have put him ahead of Poole last year. I think Young has a chance to do some really special things. Reminds me of Dexter McCluster very much. I love what Graham said about him running between the tackles. "They can't see him". Most reports have him stronger and faster this year. We should be able to compete with everybody on the schedule and we will surprise some folks. Just hope nobody surprises us.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

Stats from today's scrimmage. A solid day from the RBs. He might be small, but Devrin Young continues to be really consistent running and catching the ball. Really good to see Q. Watson with a 61yd scamper. However, he had 6 carries for 60 yds...ouch. THE BIGGEST THING........Palardy 4-4 on FGs, and Darr 43 yard average on punts. If Bray goes down or gets in trouble, I REALLY thing Worley is ready for the big show. Looks like a good productive day.

Thanks for the link, RR..TB sounds like he's taking a leadership role on this team, but the biggest shocker was Palardy: 4 for 4? Are u kidding me..What a pleasant surprise that stat was..GBO!!

GONAVY writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

Stats from today's scrimmage. A solid day from the RBs. He might be small, but Devrin Young continues to be really consistent running and catching the ball. Really good to see Q. Watson with a 61yd scamper. However, he had 6 carries for 60 yds...ouch. THE BIGGEST THING........Palardy 4-4 on FGs, and Darr 43 yard average on punts. If Bray goes down or gets in trouble, I REALLY thing Worley is ready for the big show. Looks like a good productive day.

Seriously, you're that engrossed with UT football? Wow.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to BolivrBob:

I agree Rich except I would have put him ahead of Poole last year. I think Young has a chance to do some really special things. Reminds me of Dexter McCluster very much. I love what Graham said about him running between the tackles. "They can't see him". Most reports have him stronger and faster this year. We should be able to compete with everybody on the schedule and we will surprise some folks. Just hope nobody surprises us.

They're saying Young also busted a long punt return today. And he always seems to be at the 5ypc mark when playing RB even if he doesn't bust a long one. He's really consistent.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to GONAVY:

Seriously, you're that engrossed with UT football? Wow.

Uhhh, he's a real fan of UT, not some interloper troll like yourself..Believe it or not, real fans comment on this site also..NGAD!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to GONAVY:

Seriously, you're that engrossed with UT football? Wow.

No comprende'. Come again.

Olcrow writes:

in response to SevenT:

Is this the same guy who set UT records for:

1. The UT record for the Most "throat slash" gestures in one game.

2. The UT record for the Most beer bottles launched from an apartment balcany

3. The UT record for the Most water jet ski citations.

4. The UT record for the most gangster look alike black suit picture

5.The big dummy award for ignorant posts goes to 7T

pingkr62 writes:

in response to GONAVY:

Seriously, you're that engrossed with UT football? Wow.

Me too, along with another several hundred-thousand. That's what it's like to be a winner. But of course a loser wouldn't understand. G.B.O.!!!

SevenT writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes I forgot that one!

Only Roark was not a walk-on, he was a very good player for Kentucky and played QB in Georgia High School who stepped up when everyone else was injured.

I do not like Showboat / Showoffs like Bray. He has all the talent in the world but Dooley apparently has not found someone on his staff to bring him down to reality about who he is and who he is not.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to pingkr62:

Me too, along with another several hundred-thousand. That's what it's like to be a winner. But of course a loser wouldn't understand. G.B.O.!!!

BOOM!!!!!

Snapshot writes:

in response to JayTee:

In your question "Will this year be much better than 2011"?
The better question would be "When will you become a credible sports writer"?

What is your problem with Mike?

Don't be such a knucklehead, he is a fine sports writer. Better yet, if you don't like these articles, don't read them!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Thanks for the link, RR..TB sounds like he's taking a leadership role on this team, but the biggest shocker was Palardy: 4 for 4? Are u kidding me..What a pleasant surprise that stat was..GBO!!

Yeah, the 4-4 shocked me as well. But what's REALLY crazy is that his last one was a 48 yarder at the final buzzer!

Snapshot writes:

in response to SevenT:

Is this the same guy who set UT records for:

1. The UT record for the Most "throat slash" gestures in one game.

2. The UT record for the Most beer bottles launched from an apartment balcany

3. The UT record for the Most water jet ski citations.

4. The UT record for the most gangster look alike black suit picture

All this about a qb you would LOVE to have on your team!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Snapshot:

What is your problem with Mike?

Don't be such a knucklehead, he is a fine sports writer. Better yet, if you don't like these articles, don't read them!

Strange is the man. By far and away the best KNS has to offer. Dude could easily write for SI or ESPN IMO. We're lucky to have him, I wish we had more articles from him.

jobrando#216494 writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

The view of most and rightly so...Most of us are waiting for him to prove us very wrong. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm wrong. I'm sure Coach D is sweating this out.

Snapshot writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yeah, yeah you are another one that would love to have him at qb for your team, right peabody jim?

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

Nobody will ever approach SevenT's record for most stupidity in a single comment.

Unless, of course, MerlotGoFY or BonerdeaneVol do it. They're the only ones with any chance.

This is one of my favs for today: "Bray has proven to be brittle.." Yeah, right. Brittle like Michael Vick, I guess. It isn't hard to hit your thumb on somebody's helmet during your follow-through, and no matter how tough you are, in a battle of thumb vs helmet, thumb always loses.

Something tells me that at 6-6, 215, the guy could probably break you in half.

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to SevenT:

Is this the same guy who set UT records for:

1. The UT record for the Most "throat slash" gestures in one game.

2. The UT record for the Most beer bottles launched from an apartment balcany

3. The UT record for the Most water jet ski citations.

4. The UT record for the most gangster look alike black suit picture

BalcAny? WATER jet ski citations? Do you tucky boys ride'em on concrete or what?

crimsonviper writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

Stats from today's scrimmage. A solid day from the RBs. He might be small, but Devrin Young continues to be really consistent running and catching the ball. Really good to see Q. Watson with a 61yd scamper. However, he had 6 carries for 60 yds...ouch. THE BIGGEST THING........Palardy 4-4 on FGs, and Darr 43 yard average on punts. If Bray goes down or gets in trouble, I REALLY thing Worley is ready for the big show. Looks like a good productive day.

Good post,RR. Thanks

AtopTheHill06 writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

http://www.utsports.com/sports/m-foot...

Stats from today's scrimmage. A solid day from the RBs. He might be small, but Devrin Young continues to be really consistent running and catching the ball. Really good to see Q. Watson with a 61yd scamper. However, he had 6 carries for 60 yds...ouch. THE BIGGEST THING........Palardy 4-4 on FGs, and Darr 43 yard average on punts. If Bray goes down or gets in trouble, I REALLY thing Worley is ready for the big show. Looks like a good productive day.

Its good to see that Patterson was able to play in the scrimmage despite the shoulder sprain.

RR, I noticed that Lathers didn't have any stats in the scrimmage, was he held out for some reason?

murrayvol writes:

in response to SevenT:

Yes I forgot that one!

Only Roark was not a walk-on, he was a very good player for Kentucky and played QB in Georgia High School who stepped up when everyone else was injured.

I do not like Showboat / Showoffs like Bray. He has all the talent in the world but Dooley apparently has not found someone on his staff to bring him down to reality about who he is and who he is not.

Save time and energy. Talk over the cubicle.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to AtopTheHill06:

Its good to see that Patterson was able to play in the scrimmage despite the shoulder sprain.

RR, I noticed that Lathers didn't have any stats in the scrimmage, was he held out for some reason?

I'm not RR. But I believe that I read somewhere that Lathers didn't play today. Personal reasons I think.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to SevenT:

Is this the same guy who set UT records for:

1. The UT record for the Most "throat slash" gestures in one game.

2. The UT record for the Most beer bottles launched from an apartment balcany

3. The UT record for the Most water jet ski citations.

4. The UT record for the most gangster look alike black suit picture

Your fear is palpable.

tennrat writes:

what record? The most arrests in a UT career?

tovolny writes:

Posters, please resist the temptations to state the obvious. Most (about 75%) of you guys post interesting comments, but the rest are all from the Society of the Miss-informed.

And, don't mess with Mike Strange...he is a very positive writer and does a wonderful, truthful assessment of Vol sports. We, and KNS, are very lucky to have Mike Strange and his dedication to relate what we need to hear.

TheVolSnake writes:

in response to AtopTheHill06:

Its good to see that Patterson was able to play in the scrimmage despite the shoulder sprain.

RR, I noticed that Lathers didn't have any stats in the scrimmage, was he held out for some reason?

Lathers was held out because they didn’t want his knees and ankles to take a beating on the turf, was just precautionary. They did however miss his leadership today

TheVolSnake writes:

Bray's just 12 career starts and playing in only 16 games total, then despite having his sophomore season interrupted by a fractured right thumb, Bray ranks seventh at UT in career touchdown passes (35) and ninth in career passing yardage (3,832).

Bray has already taken several records. He was the first quarterback to throw for 300+ yards in each of his first two starts, the first to throw 5 TDs in a single half, the first to throw for 300+ yards in a single half, first UT player ever to earn SEC weekly awards 3 times in one season, first UT QB since Manning to have four 300+ yard games in a season or throw multiple TDs in six consecutive games.

murrayvol writes:

in response to HOW_BOUT_DEM_COWBOYS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I believe you....and that's why you're trollin' and not coachin'.

jhayes0926#638474 writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

are you aware of the definition of a possessive apostrophe? Do you really mean "patsies"? You really do have some grammatical problems, don't you.

do_it_Dooley writes:

in response to SevenT:

Is this the same guy who set UT records for:

1. The UT record for the Most "throat slash" gestures in one game.

2. The UT record for the Most beer bottles launched from an apartment balcany

3. The UT record for the Most water jet ski citations.

4. The UT record for the most gangster look alike black suit picture

man this is a good post...i bet after you posted it you read it over and over just as proud as you could be. That says a lot for your intelligence since you didnt catch the fact that you spelled BALCONY incorrectly. Now i am sure you could do things better than TB like read defenses check down receivers and run a d-1 football offense, but when it comes to difficult things like spelling a seven letter word that any 3rd grader should be able to spell we'll cut you some slack big guy

Navaloranges writes:

in response to HOW_BOUT_DEM_COWBOYS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

That's why you're here isn't it? It surely can't be to talk factually about college football.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Strange is the man. By far and away the best KNS has to offer. Dude could easily write for SI or ESPN IMO. We're lucky to have him, I wish we had more articles from him.

Strange is old school. He sticks to the facts, doesn't try to get too cute, keeps a good storyline going, and does his research. Always a good read.

jkleno#393970 writes:

PLEASE change the article to the following:
Mike Strange: Can Tyler Bray make a pass to win a game that counts?
Get real-beat ALA, UGA or FLA before you talk about record books!!!!!

ScottEmge writes:

in response to jkleno#393970:

PLEASE change the article to the following:
Mike Strange: Can Tyler Bray make a pass to win a game that counts?
Get real-beat ALA, UGA or FLA before you talk about record books!!!!!

AMEN!!!

48orangenation48 writes:

in response to JayTee:

In your question "Will this year be much better than 2011"?
The better question would be "When will you become a credible sports writer"?

well, its pretty hard to do worse than last year, so i dont see why we wouldnt do better haha

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