Mike Strange: Bray's body language under the microscope

Mike Strange
ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray hangs his head as Florida closes out a 37-20 victory at Neyland Stadium on Saturday night.

Photo by Adam Brimer, Knoxville News Sentinel

ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray hangs his head as Florida closes out a 37-20 victory at Neyland Stadium on Saturday night.

Tennessee's Mychal Rivera on executing

If Dave Hart really wants to get Tennessee football well, he needs to bite the bullet and fund a new position on the staff.

In addition to the fleet of coaches, trainers, managers and tutors at the beck and call of the athletes, the staff also is fitted with a Vol For Life director, a nutritionist, a chaplain, a sports psychologist, an NFL coordinator and a director of rehabilitation,

What Hart, the athletic director, might want to add to the arsenal is a director of body language.

Quarterbacks are usually the face of a football team and Tennessee's quarterback, being 6-foot-6, is hard to miss, even from the upper deck at Neyland Stadium or a 46-inch TV screen in Wartburg.

It's not just Tyler Bray's performance in the second half of the Florida game two weeks ago that caused squirming among the message-board poets and media pundits. His demeanor and body language were also called into question.

When the Gators turned it up a notch late, the Vols had no answer. Bray, a junior, didn't respond well to adversity.

As to how that rubbed off on his team that night and, more importantly, going forward into games like the one Saturday at Georgia, is where it gets murky.

"He acknowledges it,'' coach Derek Dooley said Monday. "Tyler wants to be a good quarterback and he's on a journey of being one.

"I think his level of want-to, of wanting to win and wanting to a be a good quarterback is a lot greater than what might be the perception of many.''

The perception of his teammates, ultimately, is the one that matters most.

Right tackle Ju'Wuan James has been protecting Bray since the two were early arrivals in January 2010.

"I know Tyler's ups and downs,'' James said Tuesday, "but Tyler's been very consistent, with his personality, with everything.

"He's an even-keeled guy during the game. He keeps us going, too, if something bad happens.''

Tailback Marlin Lane confirmed that the Bray we see on Saturday night is the Bray they see on Wednesday morning.

"Everybody says (things about) his body language,'' said Lane, "that he looks down or depressed. But that's just him every day.

"We're around him every day so we know his personality. He's a laid-back person.''

Bray admits the final 20 minutes against Florida was neither his, nor the team's, finest hour.

"I won't say we got scared,'' he said Tuesday, "but we just disappeared. We weren't ourselves.

"The whole team kind of met up and talked about how we let down and kind of crawled in a shell.''

When Akron presented surprising adversity last Saturday, the Vols didn't crawl in a shell. They won the second half and dominated the fourth quarter.

"Tyler made some bad throws early,'' Dooley said, "some bad decisions. And he was frustrated, wanting to get something happening. But he had a nice calm about him and worked his way through the game.

"That was a good step for him.''

A good step against Akron is one thing. Georgia, and what comes after, is another.

Bray's stats reflect the difference.

For his career as a starter, in non-conference games he has 30 TD passes and only four interceptions. In SEC play, he has thrown 15 TD passes and 12 picks.

Starting Saturday, the potential adversity factor escalates.

Tennessee fans will be analyzing Bray's every move. Not just the right arm zipping passes, but the rest of his body language too.

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 » 70

TWhite11 writes:

When does basketball season start? They're able to beat Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

signalcorps writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

laraccoon writes:

"message board poets" eloquent way to put it . gubmint assistance no lives .

Rumblefish writes:

What he needs is a slap in the face, a kick in the arse, and a verbal reminder of how many many other QB's are waiting to show him up and do him one better.

FFS...who in the heck gets their own name tattooed on their own back? Oh wait...Tyler Bray does.

Get over yourself young man. You have yet to beat a quality opponent.

75VOLinga writes:

"For his career as a starter, in non-conference games he has 30 TD passes and only four interceptions. In SEC play, he has thrown 15 TD passes and 12 picks."

If I mess up a query at work I don't get down. I figure out what is needed to fix the sequel so it runs correctly and gets the job done. The company I work for has that one requirement (I have fun and enjoy what I’m doing). I keep my job. Bray is great when it doesn't count but life isn't that way. You've got to be able to compete in the tough as well as the easy jobs.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yep...he's the best of the worst. Worley can only stare down one reciever. Bray, at least, has learned to check down.

rabidvol1998 writes:

I don't particularly like Tim Tebow the player, but this is how I want my QB to respond to a loss;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4VxVo...

SummittsCourt writes:

To all you "non fans" who can only complain about the team, players and coaches why don't you suit up and do better.

Tyler Bray will be an NFl QB soon and you whiners will be left with inexperienced backups and missing him next season.

Is Bray perfect? No, but how many of you are perfect?

Since none of you made mistakes at the age of 21 you have every right to ridicule him.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He's good...that's why TN recruited him. But his development has not been too obvious (outside of learning to check down). Yeah...he can sling it around, but he has NO mobility, and NO strength to get 1/2 a yard when you need it.

Yes, he's the best we got right now...and might even have a surprise or two in the future, but that's the best outlook I can give, given his history.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

To all you "non fans" who can only complain about the team, players and coaches why don't you suit up and do better.

Tyler Bray will be an NFl QB soon and you whiners will be left with inexperienced backups and missing him next season.

Is Bray perfect? No, but how many of you are perfect?

Since none of you made mistakes at the age of 21 you have every right to ridicule him.

Do you think if Bray goes 0-October...he sticks around for another season? (his draft stock will definitely drop if he does) Or, do you think he is gone to the NFL no matter what?

Personally, I think he is gone no matter what. Hunter will definitely go. I thought CP had a good chance of going after the NC St game...but hasn't had many touches since---if this continues, he will be on nobody's draft board.

Hypothetically...Hunter is gone, and CP and Pig Howard will be the main targets left. Think Bray stays? (again...assuming he goes 0-October)

Purple_at_Heart writes:

Personally, I hope Bray leaves as soon as possible. His body language encourages the other team. He looks the part of a loser.

Rumblefish writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You do know that "title town" is Green Bay, and not Gainesville, right?

usnavyvolfan_on_duty writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow...The Gators have won at least 14 National Championships?

Rumblefish writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Well, New York is the city with the most championships ever (55). And since the Jets play (and live) in New Jersey....I know you weren't talking about them.

What a failure you are. I'm sorry man.

6972 writes:

I've been a fan since 69. What does "we just disappeared" and "we weren't ourselves" mean? Is that a political spin which means "we quit"
I am ready for 4 quarters of headhunting and let the score take care of itself....win or lose.

Ironcity writes:

in response to Rumblefish:

What he needs is a slap in the face, a kick in the arse, and a verbal reminder of how many many other QB's are waiting to show him up and do him one better.

FFS...who in the heck gets their own name tattooed on their own back? Oh wait...Tyler Bray does.

Get over yourself young man. You have yet to beat a quality opponent.

If he shows no emotion we fans say he doesn't care (Kentucky). IF he gets down then he has to pick himself up. Which is it? Give the kid a break. He struggled he let it get to him. IF he didn't care he wouldn't have been so despondent. I have never read so many comments that attempt to determine every look, word or feeling a player or coach has. Lets quit trying to phycho analyze these guys. The problem UT has is not its maturity its the talent level. We are not at the level of the teams that are kicking our butts. Lets hope that changes soon but for now I am not optimistic and its not because our best player looks down when we are getting the snot kicked out of us.

WoodshedVol writes:

I truly want Bray to do well and beat a good SEC team. I hope it's Saturday in Athens. It doesn't matter how well he plays, if we don't stop the dawgs run game, Bray and the rest of our offense will be on the sidelines, watching GA. gain 7-8 yds per snap.

thevoice writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agreed. Bray's best bet to get to the NFL is to get hurt soon and miss the October games. But still, Go Vols.

99gator writes:

it's not bray's fault his team is always overmatched.

just wait until tennessee plays kentucky.

oh, wait.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Wow. A lot of Bray bashing going on in this thread. Consensus seems to be that he is very talented, but needs to step up his leadership and resolve to help this team finally pass the SEC gut check and win a big one.

It's not just on Bray. Our defense will also need to show up in a huge way on Saturday.

If we get the leadership on offense and the stops on defense, Georgia goes down.

Fingers crossed. GO VOLS!!

orange_eVOLution writes:

in response to thevoice:

Agreed. Bray's best bet to get to the NFL is to get hurt soon and miss the October games. But still, Go Vols.

Come on, voice...

You follow an already weak post with a stupid post that suggests it's in Bray's best interest to get hurt for a month to help his NFL chances?

Why don't you think for yourself and try to come up with a positive twist for Bray and the Vols? You can do it.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Apparently the virus has jumped over georgia from alabama to florida. alabama had 92 national championships and florida had 67. What a maroon

Richmonds_Wannabe_Brother writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

When has he ever played a Div II or Div III team?

Two things you don't understand:
1. Football is a team sport. Bray has never beaten or lost to another team -- the Vols have.
2. You don't know how NCAA football divisions work.

Why should anybody take anything you say seriously? You're an idiot.

Richmonds_Wannabe_Brother writes:

in response to rabidvol1998:

I don't particularly like Tim Tebow the player, but this is how I want my QB to respond to a loss;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4VxVo...

Which part, the crying?

claiborneh writes:

Bray, "We weren't ourselves."
Great. So what is yourselves. Selves that win a quality game?
I think you were exactly yourselves

Davolz11 writes:

Bray reminds me of Ainge. Lot's of potential but doesn't have it to be a top notch QB in CFB or NFL. He's a good QB... not a great QB. In the long run, he's not the messiah for UT to return to greatness... although I wish he was.

Sir_Spanky writes:

Tyler Bray: "The whole team kind of met up and talked about how we let down and kind of crawled in a shell.''

Against Florida? Really? Maybe it's time to go find some other players that "kind of" wanna play football.

usafvol writes:

in response to thevoice:

Agreed. Bray's best bet to get to the NFL is to get hurt soon and miss the October games. But still, Go Vols.

Even with the troll comments, yours is the most ignorant comment I've ever read..

usafvol writes:

in response to orange_eVOLution:

Wow. A lot of Bray bashing going on in this thread. Consensus seems to be that he is very talented, but needs to step up his leadership and resolve to help this team finally pass the SEC gut check and win a big one.

It's not just on Bray. Our defense will also need to show up in a huge way on Saturday.

If we get the leadership on offense and the stops on defense, Georgia goes down.

Fingers crossed. GO VOLS!!

Most people bashing Bray have never set foot on a football field. All they know is what they see on t.v. or read in a magazine. Until you've went thru "two a day practices", endured long months in the weight room during the off-season, or suited up in front of 100,000 screaming fans, it would be best to keep your mouth shut for you have no idea of what you're talking about. You people talking about "Body language" or how "he quit"; it's laughable the way people think they have a clue..

underthehill writes:

in response to usafvol:

Most people bashing Bray have never set foot on a football field. All they know is what they see on t.v. or read in a magazine. Until you've went thru "two a day practices", endured long months in the weight room during the off-season, or suited up in front of 100,000 screaming fans, it would be best to keep your mouth shut for you have no idea of what you're talking about. You people talking about "Body language" or how "he quit"; it's laughable the way people think they have a clue..

Does this mean you know more than Bray..WE kinda let down includes Bray..

usafvol writes:

in response to underthehill:

Does this mean you know more than Bray..WE kinda let down includes Bray..

No, it means that I comprehend what he said..

Jakevol writes:

Don't be a Cam Newton type guy with the Panthners. Steve Smith (Panthers wide-out), busted Cam this week for sitting on the bench with his head down. Bray, show leadership. Bob Neyland would not permit a QB guy to sit with his head down. Hold you head high when wearing the orange.

TooDlems writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It doesn't matter if the kid can stand flat-footed on the fifty and throw it in the river, he won't make it past the interview process to be an NFL QB.

ModelMaker writes:

I think that if Bray can get his mind set straight and play the game to win rather than play the game not to lose he will do very well against Georgia. He also needs to run the ball in certain situations rather than just throw it away all the time. When you get a team down like we did against Florida (20-13) and your defense makes a really big stop on fourth down, you have to have the attitude when you go out there that your going to take your team down the field and score the knockout blow. If it means that you will have to run the ball yourself sometimes then so be it. I think Bray was more worried that he was going to do something to lose the game rather than do something to win the game. I think Bray is a very good Quarterback and I think that if he can get himself straightened out we will have a very good chance to bet Georgia.

Jakevol writes:

Did you see P. Manning the other night? He was 3 TD's down with only about 8 minutes to go in the game. Was he sitting on the side lines with his head down? Heck NO! He was trying to find a process for coming back. He almost did, scoring 2 TD's and almost the third in the final seconds. His fellow members responded to his actions.

Scottallen6691#1412403 writes:

I lived in California, its the way they carry themselves out there chilled and laid back people, surfing, skateboarding, and health food, everybody even the hollywod stars are laid back. You would figure people from the south could relate but I guess not

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to titletownz:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Let's not forget the 90 years of no SEC Championships. Tulane, Georgia Tech and Kentucky all won the SEC Championship in football before the "mighty" ga_tors....90 years....

jobrando#216494 writes:

Best qb in VOL history. Pay attention NFL scouts. He is ready for the big show. ASAP

Ironcity writes:

in response to TooDlems:

It doesn't matter if the kid can stand flat-footed on the fifty and throw it in the river, he won't make it past the interview process to be an NFL QB.

Do you speak to Tyler on a regular basis or are you making this assumption by quotes you have read or how he looks after a bad play? I would bet a weeks salary that you said the same thing about Arian Foster. Trying to figure out what works int eh NFL and what works in college needs top be left to the professionals. One last thing it wasn't Bray who gave up close to 600 yards to a team that got shut down by Bowling Green. Lets quit blaming him for our ineptness against UF.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

in response to 6972:

I've been a fan since 69. What does "we just disappeared" and "we weren't ourselves" mean? Is that a political spin which means "we quit"
I am ready for 4 quarters of headhunting and let the score take care of itself....win or lose.

"I am ready for 4 quarters of headhunting...."

Of course you sre, you're not gettin' hit.

sameolvolalum writes:

Run the ball better and the defense can rest and they will be have more time to compose themselves and make (and understand) the necessary adjustments to be installed. Run the ball better and safeties and linebackers will have to key more on the line of scrimmage and have to think before reacting. Run the ball better and UG's offense will have to break from their power game (at least some). When does the ball need to be run better the most? How'bout 3rd down and short? Good qb's became great with good running games.

gglardon50#417841 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

1st or 2nd QB to be taken in next years draft....not even close

jroc81#443281 writes:

I say we need to start recruiting more dual threat quarterbacks. At least someone who can extend plays and make things happen. Remember we won with Tee Martin not Peyton even though Peyton was a far better quarterback. I think in college you need a mobile quarterback.

TooDlems writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My comment contains no material concerning wins and losses. The guy isn't smart enough to be a low round pick. His inability to compete at a high level in big games is also an indicator that he can't lead his team.

Cousin_Eddie writes:

He's a future NFL bust for sure if he's taken early. His attitude is lacking and he's clearly not a leader. I certainly wouldn't want to build a team around him.

VolnTex writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

To all you "non fans" who can only complain about the team, players and coaches why don't you suit up and do better.

Tyler Bray will be an NFl QB soon and you whiners will be left with inexperienced backups and missing him next season.

Is Bray perfect? No, but how many of you are perfect?

Since none of you made mistakes at the age of 21 you have every right to ridicule him.

Then let's just all stop commenting. Let's tell the KNS to stop publishing anything offering commentary. Since none of us are perfect and can't play in the NFL, we have nothing worth saying.

Could you also take a moment to tell us the difference between a fan and a non-fan?

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to KremsersWaywardWallop:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Jeffy, on the other hand, belongs in the Wit-less Protection Program.

SCVFL writes:

I agree with Rabid about the Tebow thing.
I would love to hear coaches and players both say something like:
"We messed up but we are going to fix it this week. I promise you that the VOLS will not lose another game because of me. We are going to clean house through the month of October. [Ga, MissST, Al, SC] is going to get everything and more than they want."
Instead of:
"We are going to try and hopefully it want happen. We want to be better."

Get a POSITIVE ATTITUDE!!!
GO BIG RNG...VFL

RealisticVol writes:

Even if you discount the effect on our own team, the negative effect of his body language takes the fans out of the game. I would guess that it fires up the opponent too. The persians have a saying," When the meat cries, it only makes the fire grow hotter."

bigjvol22 writes:

Just gotta play like we know we can and we may have a slight chance against Ga but we haven't been able 2 do that against SEC lately so it might b tough.

GBO......VFL!!!!!!!

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