Tennessee QB Tyler Bray confident on brink of critical season

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, standing, talks with tailback Marlin Lane (15) before posing for a team photo during media day at Neyland Stadium on Aug. 18.

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Adam Brimer/News Sentinel Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, standing, talks with tailback Marlin Lane (15) before posing for a team photo during media day at Neyland Stadium on Aug. 18.

Predict the outcome of the Tennessee/N.C. State game

See the results »

View previous polls »

On Monday afternoon after practice, Tyler Bray was eager to get back to the weight room from which he had been plucked by team officials to endure a round of obligatory media interviews.

Days away from the opening game of perhaps the biggest season in his career, he seemed more bored than nervous.

Asked if he ever got pre-game jitters, he replied in true Bray form.

"No, never," he said.

Bray's humor is so dry that it's difficult to tell when he's being serious, when he's being sarcastic, and when even he's not sure.

But the part about him never getting nervous is easy to believe.

He weathered a tumultuous 2011 season, shouldered enormous expectations this summer and then suffered the public embarrassment of two run-ins with police. Through it all, he's appeared cool, unflappable and — depending on your perspective — either poised or aloof.

Bray is on the brink of a season in which he could solidify himself as one of the game's top quarterbacks and a bona fide pro prospect, putting any questions about his durability, his maturity or his leadership to rest.

The first test is Friday night at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, where the Vols open the season against North Carolina State.

"We have a team, an offense, that's been together for three years now," Bray said. "We're going to be good...This team does not lack for confidence."

Neither does Bray.

He's won eight games in 12 starts over two years, averaging nearly 300 yards passing per game. He's done so playing behind a sometimes-suspect offensive line and in front of a backfield that has been among the nation's least productive.

A talented athlete who stands 6-foot-6, he has all the numbers to make NFL scouts drool.

"Expectations are through the roof with that young man," said Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.

But he has yet to make it through an entire season, which he said is his top personal goal.

"I haven't done that since I've been here, so if I just make it through the season I think I'll be good," Bray said.

Not all injuries are preventable, of course, but Bray has tried to bulk up to handle a season of hits. His year was cut short last year when he suffered a broken thumb against Georgia on Oct. 8.

His hand didn't stand a chance when it collided with a helmet at full speed.

"I'll try not to hit the guy's helmet next time, I guess," Bray said with a smile. "Some of the things you can't really do anything about. But (I can) get in the weight room, get strong and take the hits."

Even when praising N.C. State's defense, Bray's confidence shines through.

"They've got some guys who are very good. They've also got some guys who can be exploited," he said. "It's just like every defense. There are strengths and weaknesses. They've got size and the speed. I wouldn't say they're LSU or Alabama, but they can compare to some of the teams in the SEC."

More than anything, N.C. State represents the end of a long August. For a veteran like Bray, the doldrums of practice can't give way to real football soon eough.

"It's been a long last two weeks," Bray said. "Just repetition, repetition."

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 45

BMSvol writes:

good luck friday night

vol98champ writes:

I would feel much better if he had said yes to the pre game jitters.

Millisa writes:

Bench Bray Start Worley

LibertyVolance writes:

in response to Millisa:

Bench Bray Start Worley

Now Millisa, Worley will get his chance someday. Show some patience please. It's going to be fun.

LibertyVolance writes:

I have a feeling that some of us will take those pregame jitters off Bray's shoulders and place them squarely on ours. The first time he drops back to pass.

KevDVol writes:

OMG! It's FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE! Friday Night is GO time! Who else can feel it! All you haters can hopefully just shut it for a bit and allow the Big Orange hemoglobin to flow free throughout your body. It's time for everyone to start showing some true LOVE for the VOLS or I'm sending AL WILSON to your door to help get you right.

Go O! Go D! Go Special Teams! Go Vols!!

VOLHolla writes:

in response to LibertyVolance:

I have a feeling that some of us will take those pregame jitters off Bray's shoulders and place them squarely on ours. The first time he drops back to pass.

yeah, probably true....until that first completion. I want to see an all-out
'Air Orange" aerial assault.
I'm with mdvol, I hope they hang 50.... just for starters.

mdvol writes:

Can't wait to watch Bray, Hunter and Patterson play a game of "keep away" for the DB's. If the ball gets lower than 9 feet off the ground I'll be disappointed. Except when they hand it to the ref in the endzone.

Bray sets UT records for completions and TD's.

VOLS hang 100 in the first 2 games. Start 4-0.

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to Millisa:

Bench Bray Start Worley

You have got to be a KNS plant. Nobody can be so stupid without trying. You post the same **** each time.

How about this idea? Lets kick Bray and Worley off the team completely and let Peterman run the offense. Maybe Jim Bob Cooter has some eligibility left and he could be back-up. You are a pure genius

givehim6 writes:

One thing about it, Bray no longer looks like a scarcrow like he did as a freshman.

VFL_Troll_Patrol writes:

in response to KevDVol:

OMG! It's FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE! Friday Night is GO time! Who else can feel it! All you haters can hopefully just shut it for a bit and allow the Big Orange hemoglobin to flow free throughout your body. It's time for everyone to start showing some true LOVE for the VOLS or I'm sending AL WILSON to your door to help get you right.

Go O! Go D! Go Special Teams! Go Vols!!

NOW THATS THE SPIRIT IM LOOKING FOR!
Booyah! We gona Shock da World son! haha
Go Vols!

Im also ready for the 3rd Saturday in October!

*Im always watching*
*Shock the World*

The War Begins 10/20
http://triplethreat123.wix.com/tt

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to givehim6:

One thing about it, Bray no longer looks like a scarcrow like he did as a freshman.

The current roster lists him at 215, which means he's put on a good 30 pounds since he got on campus. Nobody should think of him as some stick man who won't be able to take a hit.

AllVol1 writes:

Yes, I want to see Bray exploit the weaknesses, and I HOPE that includes knowing when to check down to a run.

I am saying it. Neal tallies up a buck fifty on the ground. The wolfpack will get very tired of chasing him, Young, and Lane. At that point, Hunter and CP will be off to the races.

Bray IS the man, and running has got to be in the plan. Go Vols!!!

PUL4VOLS writes:

This is the time for him to shine. I hope he does it and the whole team rises up to quell some continued negativity against what they have been lacking the past two years. Bray looks stronger. I hope he acts like the field leader I believe he can be. I am on the edge of my seat at 4:19 AM on Tuesday, awaiting with anticipation the kickoff in Atlanta on Friday. GO BIG ORANGE!

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

How many SEC games has Bray actually played in and comepleted for four quarters? And what's his record in those games? I know he lost to Kentucky and Florida. Has he played an entire game in the SEC in which he has won?

Vandy and Ole Miss, maybe?

usafvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

How many SEC games has Bray actually played in and comepleted for four quarters? And what's his record in those games? I know he lost to Kentucky and Florida. Has he played an entire game in the SEC in which he has won?

Vandy and Ole Miss, maybe?

What's that have to do with this year troll hole?

jfuston writes:

I say they go 10-2. 2-2 against the big boys (Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina). They play in the Capital One bowl against Nebraska, and get long overdue revenge.

Vo2Vol writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Merlot, stop showing your ignorance. You know that Monte Kiffin was no football geezer and it was obvious that when Lane Kiffin came here that Monte was a package deal. Of course, while Coach Chavis was here, you probably ripped him as well. Do not sell our new position coach short.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vo2Vol,

Friend, ease up on poor AA-Merlot. Cheap wine has this effect on him.

Plus, whatever his brother Walter posts Mer-lose always wants to duplicate it.

crappieking writes:

in response to BigOrangeFever76:

You have got to be a KNS plant. Nobody can be so stupid without trying. You post the same **** each time.

How about this idea? Lets kick Bray and Worley off the team completely and let Peterman run the offense. Maybe Jim Bob Cooter has some eligibility left and he could be back-up. You are a pure genius

It worked for KY last year when they used a wide out as QB to beat Dooleys quiters.

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

How many SEC games has Bray actually played in and comepleted for four quarters? And what's his record in those games? I know he lost to Kentucky and Florida. Has he played an entire game in the SEC in which he has won?

Vandy and Ole Miss, maybe?

Urkel,

They have this new thing called the internet now where you can look up things without asking questions. In games Bray starts and finishes he is 7 and 3 with 35 TD and 16 Ints. He also has 3550 passing yards and a 143 QB rating.

I saw where Galen Muschamp was going to play 2 QB's and rotate them by Quarters. That is the genius that I like about ole Galen. There may be some quarters where Lizards inept offense may not even have the ball. What will the Coach in waiting decide when that happens? I hope he can go 7 and 6 the next 3 or 4 years because he is has that Woody Hayes persona on the sidelines that makes him embarassingly funny to watch. If he is not the first coach fired during a game because of that Yosemite Sam temper he will be close. Tell him to please not go Postal on an assistant, ref or opposing player so we can get some entertaiment watching that Pitiful Offense this year.

What is Bodeanes Gomer's ZZ's new screen name since he got banned?

BigOrangeFever76 (Inactive) writes:

in response to crappieking:

It worked for KY last year when they used a wide out as QB to beat Dooleys quiters.

Hey C_R_A_P * P_I_E * K_I_N_G I want to mail you a new 2012 calendar. Please send me your mailing address. I bet you did not even realize we are now is 2012, did you? Have you always lived in the past? I bet you think gas is still $0.49 per gallon? Bread still $0.79 loaf? Do you still try to pay $2.00 for a haircut?

Live in the past, clown. Last November is gone and there is NOTHING we can do about it. Either get on the Big Orange train or go jump in the lake. Personally, I hope you choose the latter.

NO_DIGGITY writes:

in response to MerlotGoVols:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Flip Flop Merlot,

When Fulmer was recruiting good players (94 to 99), Chavis was a good Coach. When Fulmer started recruiting bad players, Chavis was a bad Coach. For example our last decent team in 2007, Cal scored 45 on Chief, Lizards Scored 59, 7 and 6 Bama scored 41, Vandy scored 24 and KY scored 50. He sucked as a coach that year. Now he has 4 and 5 star players at every position like he did at UT in the 90's and he is a good coach. Fairly easy to Figure Out why Fulmer was fired and Chief turned into a Bad Coach in the Mid to Late 2000's at UT.

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to vol98champ:

I would feel much better if he had said yes to the pre game jitters.

My jitters will start when Palardy attempts a kick or Darr drops back to punt. I truly hope I'm still not feeling those jitters by the Florida game.

jobrando#216494 writes:

Will the trig become a nail. If he doesnt Worley will take over soon

mdvol writes:

Off topic.....
Did you guys see Casey Kelly pitch last night? He's a former VOL QB signee who chose baseball instead. Major League debut last night for the Padres. 6 shutout innings against the Braves. Looks like baseball was a good decision.

Bark_at_the_Moon writes:

in response to KevDVol:

OMG! It's FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE! Friday Night is GO time! Who else can feel it! All you haters can hopefully just shut it for a bit and allow the Big Orange hemoglobin to flow free throughout your body. It's time for everyone to start showing some true LOVE for the VOLS or I'm sending AL WILSON to your door to help get you right.

Go O! Go D! Go Special Teams! Go Vols!!

KEEP THAT PSYCHO AWAY FROM MY HOUSE!
GO VOLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to mdvol:

Off topic.....
Did you guys see Casey Kelly pitch last night? He's a former VOL QB signee who chose baseball instead. Major League debut last night for the Padres. 6 shutout innings against the Braves. Looks like baseball was a good decision.

Good for him but bad for the Braves. It will be interesting to see how his career develops. They need every win they can get right now. If they can keep healthy and the pitching holds up, they could make some noise in the playoffs.

born2ride writes:

Bray is very accurate throwing beer bottles.

ValleyVol writes:

Ok TB,let your example on the field do your talking!Just get it done this time!

rampsneggs writes:

in response to born2ride:

Bray is very accurate throwing beer bottles.

Edgy. You should write for Leno.

clvolfan writes:

in response to givehim6:

One thing about it, Bray no longer looks like a scarcrow like he did as a freshman.

I dare say that none of us would have survived that first entrance to a major college FB game,was not the perfect time to put a nervous freshman in.I remember that Peyton's mom said,to paraphrase,"he looked like a scared little boy out there".

Navaloranges writes:

Wow, crapding, born2whine, and merleho already checked in. How do you keep them all straight "brett"? Also, how can you be so wrong about one subject woth so many different names. You have to TRY to be that dim.

Oh well, you'll be slowly fading away as the season goes on. And since all of your screen names have predicted a loss to the Pack, don't worry, I'll be here to remind you of how "simple" you are.

Navaloranges writes:

"But he has yet to make it through an entire season..."

Hasn't he been injured just once? Didn't he start the second half of his first year? Why are some of these writers talking about his durability? He broke his finger in a freak hit to a helmet. One of the most durable QB's in the history of the game, Brett Favre, did the exact same thing on an almost identical play. How does one freak injury in two years make somebody "not durable"?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Dang . I hope we win this week. Big but not so big to get noticed. If you know what I mean.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to Navaloranges:

"But he has yet to make it through an entire season..."

Hasn't he been injured just once? Didn't he start the second half of his first year? Why are some of these writers talking about his durability? He broke his finger in a freak hit to a helmet. One of the most durable QB's in the history of the game, Brett Favre, did the exact same thing on an almost identical play. How does one freak injury in two years make somebody "not durable"?

I don't get that either. He could weigh in at 260, with 3% body fat, and bench 500, and his thumb would still have broken when it hit that helmet.

Some people are just tards.

Miamimindedvolheart writes:

Why in the world would TB be confident?! I mean...doesn't he know that he lost Da'Rick Rogers?! I don't know how in the world the Vols will be able to be as productive this year as they were last year without him. All one has to do is listen to the "all-knowing" Jason Sehorn, who discusses the vols with almost no knowledge of their team or their recruitment of Patterson, and they'll see that playing the rest of this season is futile. Silly Vols! Save yourself the embarrassment and cancel the rest of the season.

djohnnyg writes:

Jon Wilner of Bay Area news group had an AP ballot.

Here's where he put the Vols:

22. Tennessee
AP rank: NR
Comment: QB Tyler Bray leads 19 returning starters in what should be a turnaround year for the Vols.

djohnnyg writes:

IMO, if Kiffin would have stayed on at UT, the Vols would be top 5 in the nation right now. I don't know where to weigh in on him. He's a scumbag for leaving after one yr.?; or...it was his one chance to take his dream job and go back home to Cali. and who can blame him?

I wonder if more blame should be put on Hamilton?; for not knowing if Kiffin had a shot at USC he would take it.

The idea was bold. It was the right decision...to bring in a young, sharp coach with a ready made recruiting machine...with modern ideas needed to compete in the new world of college football. THE GUY he chose was the WRONG one. Although Kiffin embodies all those things, at the end of the day he IS a lying, self-serving son of a you know what.

Heck, Kiffin made Al Davis look like Mother Theresa in hindsight.

I blame Hamilton. Just like people blame Al Davis for not knowing what Jamarcus was all about, despite Mel Kiper saying he was gonna be the next John Elway, so too Hamilton should have seen through Kiffin's b.s.

djohnnyg writes:

In the above mentioned Jon Wilner ballot, he ranked Florida at # 25. Vols at #22.

So...is he saying Vols beat Fla. this year?

1st things first. Beat NC State.

Wolfpackjim writes:

I think the key word is delusion.
100 pts in first two games? Neal 150 on the ground? Play keep away from the DB's?
First, if the Vols score 20, I will be shocked. I am thinking a 17-14, or 20-17 type of game. The NC State defensive line is completely intact that held #6 at the time Clemson to under 100 yards rushing, not to mention that UT's Oline coach came up with a plan that netted an average of 44 yds per game against NC State in 5 matchups while at Ewe N C. The secondary has a first team All American in David Amerson who had 13 interceptions. Three of the safeties and corners are over 6'3, and nearly the entire secondary is returning that led the nation in interceptions last year. I guess we will all know Friday night, but I hope Bray continues with the diarrhea of the mouth. It only helps the NC State focus.

VOLFAN4LIFEgovols writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

How many SEC games has Bray actually played in and comepleted for four quarters? And what's his record in those games? I know he lost to Kentucky and Florida. Has he played an entire game in the SEC in which he has won?

Vandy and Ole Miss, maybe?

Wins and losses cant go all on 1 player. His 1st year he had a roster of 68,this is teh 1st year UT has had a full 85 since Bray has been here. With the Oline he has had to work with I think its AMAZING he's still alive and walking.

Oh ya he beat Kentucky-Miss-Vandy

VOLFAN4LIFEgovols writes:

in response to djohnnyg:

IMO, if Kiffin would have stayed on at UT, the Vols would be top 5 in the nation right now. I don't know where to weigh in on him. He's a scumbag for leaving after one yr.?; or...it was his one chance to take his dream job and go back home to Cali. and who can blame him?

I wonder if more blame should be put on Hamilton?; for not knowing if Kiffin had a shot at USC he would take it.

The idea was bold. It was the right decision...to bring in a young, sharp coach with a ready made recruiting machine...with modern ideas needed to compete in the new world of college football. THE GUY he chose was the WRONG one. Although Kiffin embodies all those things, at the end of the day he IS a lying, self-serving son of a you know what.

Heck, Kiffin made Al Davis look like Mother Theresa in hindsight.

I blame Hamilton. Just like people blame Al Davis for not knowing what Jamarcus was all about, despite Mel Kiper saying he was gonna be the next John Elway, so too Hamilton should have seen through Kiffin's b.s.

If Kiffon was here Vols would not be top five they wouldve been on a sch and bowl ban due to his cheating in recruiting. If Dooley had Kiffons team he couldve done better than he has as well,Eric Berry makes any coach look good.
I dont think CDD is a great coach but he is a good one.
My pick for a coach at UT that Hamilton shouldve tryed to get is Gruden,he used to coach here at UT if I remember correctly and obviously the NFL is done with him,but I know he wouldnt have took it.

VOLFAN4LIFEgovols writes:

in response to Wolfpackjim:

I think the key word is delusion.
100 pts in first two games? Neal 150 on the ground? Play keep away from the DB's?
First, if the Vols score 20, I will be shocked. I am thinking a 17-14, or 20-17 type of game. The NC State defensive line is completely intact that held #6 at the time Clemson to under 100 yards rushing, not to mention that UT's Oline coach came up with a plan that netted an average of 44 yds per game against NC State in 5 matchups while at Ewe N C. The secondary has a first team All American in David Amerson who had 13 interceptions. Three of the safeties and corners are over 6'3, and nearly the entire secondary is returning that led the nation in interceptions last year. I guess we will all know Friday night, but I hope Bray continues with the diarrhea of the mouth. It only helps the NC State focus.

The 100 points thing wont happen but you will be shocked I can tell you that. The Vols will hang more than 20 on NC STATE, im thinking UT 31 NC 14. Itll be a good game though and can easily go the other way in NC States favor "cause they have a good defense" ,but not good enough. It will be a keep away type deal cause Bray is gonna air it out all over the field all night long.
GBO

VOLFAN4LIFEgovols writes:

in response to Miamimindedvolheart:

Why in the world would TB be confident?! I mean...doesn't he know that he lost Da'Rick Rogers?! I don't know how in the world the Vols will be able to be as productive this year as they were last year without him. All one has to do is listen to the "all-knowing" Jason Sehorn, who discusses the vols with almost no knowledge of their team or their recruitment of Patterson, and they'll see that playing the rest of this season is futile. Silly Vols! Save yourself the embarrassment and cancel the rest of the season.

Why wouldnt he be,he has his favorite reciever back. Whats sad is Da Rick wasnt even the best reciever on the the team. Hunter outplayed DR every game til he got hurt. So troll on about how bad the Vols are when Tru Vol Fans realize Vols must have a lot of teams worried cause there fans come to VOL sites to read VOL stories so that tells me your worried about the Vols beating whoever your favorite team is.
Oh ya when have you ever heard a QB not being confident saying well we're gonna suck this year I been to lazy to workout,I dont even know how im a QB cause I cant throw the ball 10 yards.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features