KNOXVILLE - Already disappointed after another close loss, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray checked his Twitter after the Volunteers lost at Mississippi State on Saturday night.
What he saw didn't help him feel any better, and he responded with a tweet that called out Tennessee's "bandwagon" fans.
"It's hard," he said after practice Tuesday morning, "because you put your heart out there and then get on your Twitter and [see] hate mail. You kind of want to react, but you just can't."
After returning to Knoxville and seeing that the reaction to his tweet "kind of blew up," Bray deleted what he wrote and issued an apology via Twitter on Sunday.
"I was frustrated at the time," he said. "It's been two weeks in a row we could have won, and I was just frustrated."
Sentimore on Saban
Tennessee defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore will face a number of former teammates when top-ranked Alabama visits Neyland Stadium on Saturday night.
The junior college transfer spent two seasons with the Crimson Tide, but he didn't become enamored with Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide's successfully stern head coach, during those two seasons.
"I'm not the type that likes Saban," he said after regretting his choice to sign with Alabama out of high school in 2009. "I like him, but I wouldn't rather be under him. I just wouldn't rather be under him.
"Like some players, he'll see you in the hallway, and he'll just walk right past you like he don't see you. I don't like no stuff like that.
"I'm not going to lie, I want this game more than any other because I want to beat Saban."
The grumbling of the frustrated fan base may be increasing in volume and chatter about third-year coach Derek Dooley's future might be intensifying, but the Vols' demeanor continues to be good, according to Dooley and some players.
"It probably had a little more pep than normal," Dooley said. "It wasn't surprising to me because of the team makeup. I like our makeup, I've always liked it and they've never been a group that gets down or goes in the tank.
"I'm sure they're frustrated because they want results like we all do, but I think they believe in each other and I think they believe in what we're doing. It's like I told them, any time you approach your work with a good attitude and a lot of enthusiasm, you'll feed good about it. You'll feel good about yourself and what you do, and they did it today."
Starting tailback and leading rusher Rajion Neal (ankle) did not practice Tuesday and remains doubtful for Saturday's game.
Second tailback Marlin Lane (quadriceps) and starting cornerback Justin Coleman (head) practiced Tuesday and will play.
Linebacker Curt Maggitt (stinger, turf toe) said he'll play Saturday after doing more in practice than he has the last couple of weeks, though he won't be near 100 percent.
Dooley said freshman receiver Jason Croom and freshman defensive back Tino Thomas wil undergo in-season shoulder surgery so they can be return healthy for spring practice. Croom, the 232-pounder who is moving to tight end, had his procedure last week and is in a large sling. Both players will receive medical redshirts, Dooley said.
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 ...