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When he left Vanderbilt Stadium after a 41-18 loss to the Commodores, Bray's job was in jeopardy and his coaches' confidence was shaken.
Bray was benched by head coach Derek Dooley in the second quarter Saturday, a stunning move that put the leader of one of the nation's most productive offenses on the sidelines in favor of scarcely used sophomore Justin Worley.
Bray said coaches told him that he was too "amped up" and he should go to the sidelines temporarily to settle down and collect his thoughts.
But Bray's struggles continued when he returned in the third quarter.
Bray finished the day 11-of-29 passing for 103 yards. He threw two interceptions and one touchdown.
Worley took over midway through the second quarter and promptly threw an interception to Andre Hal. (In Worley's defense, the error may have been on receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. And to his credit, Worley made a touchdown-saving tackle of Hal).
Worley settled down on the next possession and completed 8 of 11 passes for 51 yards on the evening.
"I was a little surprised (to get the call), but you just have to go out and play football," Worley said.
Bray's bad day started with a tipped interception in the second quarter that broke a streak of 117 passes without a pick, the sixth-longest streak in Tennessee history.
Bray watched from the sidelines, occasionally offering encouragement to Worley or the defense. After the game, Bray took his demotion in stride and declined to criticize Dooley or offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.
"I wasn't playing too good. Everyone could see that," Bray said. "I talked to coach Chaney. He said, 'We're going to give you a break and let you cool off.' I just couldn't get anything done on offense."
Senior receiver Zach Rogers said players were surprised when Bray was benched.
"It was a little weird, but at the same time I'm not going to question the coaches at all," Rogers said. "They felt that Worley gave us a better shot. We just have to go with whoever's out there and play with the 11 that are on the field."
Rogers said Bray handled the situation with maturity.
"He was still supporting Worley and the rest of the team," Rogers said.
Dooley said Bray's benching had nothing to do with any issues unrelated to his performance. Some reported seeing Bray staring down the Vandy bench or an official after the Vols' first touchdown.
"I didn't see that," Dooley said. "If I had seen it, I would have addressed it."
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.