September 11, 2012
Bray ignores hype, focuses on team
Tyler Bray insists he isn't biting on the hype. Even if it does emanate from the teammates Bray trusts to snare his spiral tosses each gameday.
Even if it's the players who own the 45 receptions Bray boasts on just 61 pass attempts through two double-digit victories.
"No, I'm just worried about us being the best team in the SEC," said Bray, the junior signal-caller who leads the No. 23 Vols against 18th-ranked Florida Saturday at 6 inside Neyland Stadium. "I could care less. We're 2-0, our team's going good right now and we're 23rd. So, can't complain."
Even when Bray's head coach, the sometimes compliment-stingy Derek Dooley, says there's no quarterback in college football for whom he's willing to trade Bray.
"Do I think he's
I wouldn't trade him. I wouldn't trade him," Dooley said following Tuesday morning's practice. "He's playing good. He's got a good demeanor. There are going to be some games where he struggles. Every quarterback goes through it. What I'm interested in is that when he hits that little piece, how does he handle that."
Tennessee's wide receivers insist Bray is seeing the field better than ever and that Bray handles everything in the same manner; unflappable, if not monotone.
"It helps a lot because Tyler, like I said, he's a good man. I just like him. He's himself every day, day in and day out," said junior college newcomer Cordarrelle Patterson. "No, he doesn't pay that [hype] any attention. We think he's the best quarterback, and I guess because he's our quarterback, that's what we think."
Added senior Zach Rogers, "He does spread the ball around. I think in the first game, he had 10 different receivers or something like that. You've always got to be on your toes because he's going to hit the third reads, like I said. You can't take a play off, thinking 'I'm not going to get the ball' because Tyler's progressing in his reads now. It's great to see."
Bray likely will need to distribute the ball to a variety of sources against the Gators. Bray expects plenty of blitzes, but Dooley believes his quarterback is equipped to handle such looks.
"He's got good pocket awareness. He knows when the blitzes are coming and moves away from them pretty good," Dooley said. "There was one in the (Georgia State) game where they brought the corner and we didn't block him and he kind of moved away and hit the check down. Hit the guy that was supposed to block him. So he's got good feel back there."
Bray, however, shrugs off his teammates' praises, again joking his receivers simply are seeking to secure more opportunities.
"They're just sucking up trying to get more passes," Bray said. "It was probably Justin (Hunter) after the first game because he didn't get enough. It was probably C.P. after the second game. (Tight end Mychal) Rivera's good. Me and him, West Coast Connection, we're good."
If that quartet is good on Saturday, Bray likely will be fending off more discussion of his placement among the nation's top quarterbacks.
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