The progression and maturation of a quarterback is a big thing in college football. High school blue-chip prospects go to big universities and play in the SEC to develop their raw skills and gifts to prepare them for – hopefully one day – the NFL.
Tyler Bray has those raw gifts as a quarterback. He’s probably got the strongest arm in the entire country, but so did JaMarcus Russell. The knock on Bray is that he continues to think he knows it all and collapses in big games when any adversity strikes. That happened against Florida this weekend. The “quit” the offense showed in the second half is well documented. But what he said Tuesday was the most surprising…but is it really?
“I didn’t even get to [watch game film] late in the game,” Tennessee’s quarterback said after practice Tuesday morning. “I watched the first half, that was about it.
“That wasn’t our team,” Bray said of Tennessee’s play down the stretch.
“It wasn’t frustration, it was just they kept scoring and we weren’t,” Bray said. “That was it. I get kind of frustrated, get kind of down, feel like I’ve got to make that play.
“You’ve gotta make the plays. I think I went 1-for-10 passing in the fourth quarter … We weren’t making plays. No one was making plays. And we lost.”
So, Tyler Bray didn’t watch the Florida game film in the second half because it was so bad, and “that wasn’t his team”. Well, unfortunately, that is Tennessee’s team right now. The Vols fold in the second half, and they all feed off the quarterback. Quarterbacks watching game film are like doctors going to medical school. They have to do it to be prepared.
Bray also didn’t watch game film after the Kentucky loss last year, either. Maybe he would have seen the similarities between his body language in both games, the way he was moping around the field in the second half when things weren’t going his or the offense’s way.
But is it more alarming that Bray didn’t watch the film, or the coaching staff allowed that to happen? Have Derek Dooley and Jim Chaney created a type of culture where players can do what they want? We don’t know that Bray refused to watch the film, but the fact the coaching staff didn’t make him is questionable.
There seems to be no sense of urgency with #8 right now and the way he plays the game. The NFL loves big-armed quarterbacks, but they won’t draft quarterbacks who have a refusal to be the best they can be at their game. And continually developing as a quarterback means you watch every game film and learn from your mistakes, terrible or not.
This shouldn’t so surprising coming from Bray and the immaturity he’s showed throughout his career, but it is surprising to hear Derek Dooley tell everyone that he and his staff are devoted to turning the Vols’ program around. Part of Bray becoming a true leader and developing into the type of player we all think he can be is learning from his mistakes and shortcomings. Watching game film is a very easy and tangible way to hone your skills as a passer and showing devotion to being the best you can be.
I’m not sure why anyone shouldn’t expect more mediocrity from Tennessee this season.
Update: Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said he watch the game film with Tyler Bray and doesn’t know why he told the media he didn’t.
Vols OC Jim Chaney said he watched all four quarters of Florida game with Tyler Bray, who said yesterday he didn’t watch the 2nd half.
— Josh Ward (@Josh_Ward) September 19, 2012
And I’m not sure I believe this at all.