Vol Quarterbacks Showing Moxie
"Matt and Tyler are kind of different in the things they do well." ...UT head Coach Derek Dooley
By: BE Coleman
Tennessee concluded their annual spring game on Saturday. The most visible trait surrounds the programs youth movement, that encompasses Derek Dooley.
It was an interesting spring for the Volunteers, marked to be a middle of the road program heading into the 2010 campaign. The bottom line, the quarterbacks are night and day further ahead than their former predecessors were.
The quick and early hullabaloo surrounded the big day that true freshman Tyler Bray displayed, only days out of prep school. The 6-6 quarterback* does tower over the O-Line, just as Dooley had noted during the previous fifteen workout days.
Bray was steady on his feet, showing mechanics that paralleled a former freshman named Manning. His composure, progressions are without question as he threw for 200 seemingly easy yards in his first game like setting.
The big freshman showed off his skill set early in the 2nd stanza when he drove his White Squad teammates 66 yards in the hurry up offense, for the days first score in a 1:27 timeframe.
The Vols 22nd head coach worked to quell the impulsive nature from the inquisitive after the game, but did not refrain from acknowledging Bray's potential. "He played how we expected him to play, and that's good. What didn't happen was regression, and that's good."
"I was really pleased with his presence out there," Dooley said. "He's really a high school senior. He wasn't nervous or jittery and he performed the way he has been performing all spring and that says a lot about him. He made some good throws and he missed some throws, he did a good job.
That's why you don't want to put too much on this game. You did see some different skills. A couple of the decisions were disappointing. We have to get better at that, and that doesn't have anything to do with the game plan."
Matt Simms had a rougher time, but continues showing moxie that is reminiscent of his father. The New Jersey quarterback has a swagger about him that is undeniable.
"I did some things well and I did some other things not so well," noted Simms. "I wanted to come out and put on a show for the fans and get ready to work for the summer. It was good to get a little game preparation."
Both signal callers are further ahead of where the previous program signal callers were after NFL bound Erik Ainge departed the program in 2007. It is that evident.
"This game is always kind of tough because, especially in our situation, Matt and Tyler are kind of different in the things they do well. It's hard to really shape a game plan to fit their (individual) strengths," noted Dooley.
Simms received the rougher end of the defense's sack department, being taken down five times to Bray's two whistle stopping plays. Simms faced more veteran defensive lineman already at the SEC Level, than did Bray.
"They can both make really good throws," added Dooley. "I have seen Tyler Bray grow up this whole spring. Just seeing the progress he has made and seeing some of the throws he made today—and he is a freshman who should be in high school going to his prom right now—was really encouraging. To see the progression of both of those guys was encouraging.
Don't hedge on Dooley and O-C Jim Chaney picking a true number one quarterback. The signal caller race may find the team's best chances lay within both players best trait offerings this fall.
* UT states that Bray's height and weight have been misstated by recruiting news publications. The freshman tipped the scales at 210 lbs. without pads and has a full summer of weight lifting ahead of him.
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