Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray (8) hands the ball off to tailback Tauren Poole (28) during the Orange and White spring NCAA college football game at Neyland Stadium Saturday, April 16, 2011 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, Adam Brimer)
KNOXVILLE - Regardless of the external circumstances, Tyler Bray's stat line wasn't pretty.
Tennessee's sophomore quarterback completed a measly five of his 30 pass attempts in Saturday's spring game, but his coach is looking at the bigger picture in terms of his quarterback's growth and improvement over the course of four weeks of spring practice.
"We’re really going to evaluate Tyler on how he did those other 14 practices and hopefully discount what happened in the spring game," Volunteers coach Derek Dooley said on a teleconference on Wednesday.
"It’s certainly an evaluation tool - it’s one of 15 practices. It’s really part of a continuing evaluation, it’s a body of work and that was what the spring game gives you. What you have to do is discount some of the issues that arose. Certainly Tyler’s performance on paper was horrible, and there were a lot of reasons for it. Some were his fault, but most of it had to do with a lot of extenuating circumstances."
The Vols split their squad up via a draft, meaning Bray wasn't working with the entire the first-team and the offensive linemen and receivers he had grown comfortable with over the course of spring. Given the lack of depth on UT's roster, that created some mismatches in certain areas.
After struggling in the spring's first scrimmage, Bray had a strong second scrimmage, throwing for 258 yards, four touchdowns and an interception on 17-for-30 passing. That scrimmage is the most recent and most game-like simulation with which the Vols will head into the summer months.
"I thought the last two weeks of spring practice he really performed the way we expected him to perform," Dooley said, "from a command standpoint, from an accuracy standpoint, from a judgment and decision-making standpoint.
"So that was encouraging, but certainly Tyler has a lot of work ahead of him. He’s still in the infant stages of quarterbacking. He’s young, he’s in the early stages of his career and probably ultimately how good is he is just going to be based on how much commit he has to being good."
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...