Father knows best

Tennessee's top quarterback struggled with his passing in Spring Scrimmage No. 1. Sign in or subscribe now to read his thoughts on upcoming Scrimmge No. 2.

Despite what you may have heard, Tyler Bray is not his own worst critic. That distinction goes to his father.

Tennessee's No. 1 quarterback was disappointed after completing just 13 of 32 pass attempts last Friday in the Vols' initial spring scrimmage. He didn't fully appreciate how bad his numbers were, however, until he got a call from his hometown of Kingsburg, Calif.

"I didn't know it until my dad called me," Bray said following Friday's practice. "He said, 'What's going on? Your numbers were terrible.' I said, 'Aw, it was the first scrimmage and we were trying to run the ball.'"

Asked how he handled the criticism, Bray flashed a smug grin.

"It's your dad," he said, "so it's kind of in one ear and out the other."

Realizing his remarks were being recorded for posting on assorted websites, Bray sheepishly added: "He's probably going to watch this, and I'm going to get a call about this."

Tennessee holds its second scrimmage of the spring Saturday afternoon. Bray knows he can look forward to being critiqued by head coach Derek Dooley, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and dear old dad.

"He does it all the time," Bray said. "I normally hear more about the negative stuff than the positive."

Asked if he'll launch a pre-emptive strike should he perform well in Scrimmage No. 2 and immediately call his dad to gloat, Bray shook his head.

"He normally beats me to it," the player said. "He normally calls during the scrimmage."

Actually, Tyler has been almost as critical as his first-scrimmage performance as his dad. Going 13 of 32 for 142 yards with a touchdown and an interception is not satisfactory. Basically, sloppy footwork was to blame.

"I was dropping back, being lazy," Bray said. "I need to pick up my tempo, and the team tempo will pick up, too."

Tempo has been a recurring theme since the 6-foot-6, 210-pounder arrived on campus two years ago. He's a little slow dropping back and setting up to pass. He also struggles with his foot placement as he throws, sometimes stepping to the left or right instead of directly toward his target line.

"It takes a little time," he said. "I've been doing the same things since I was little, so it creates a habit you've got to break."

Fortunately, Saturday's scrimmage offers the ideal setting to work on correcting mechanical mistakes.

"It's going to help," Bray said. "It's just like the games. If I get my footwork down for the practices, it should carry over into the games."

His Scrimmage 1 passing stats might have been better if star receiver Justin Hunter had been available instead of rehabilitating a surgically repaired ACL. Bray won't use that as an excuse, however.

"We've got a stable of receivers ... like they say, Wide Receiver U," he said. "We've got a bunch of receivers that can all run great routes and get open, so we're never hurting for that."

When asked what he hopes to improve most from Scrimmage 1 to Scrimmage 2, Bray answered without hesitation.

"Completion percentage," he said. "Forty percent isn't very good. If I get that up the team should follow."

So, what would he consider an acceptable completion percentage?

"Anything over 70 is fine."

Hear more from Bray following Friday morning's workout in the video below:


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