Bray looks to make QB battle interesting

Who will be the starting quarterback when the Vols open the 2010 football season in the fall against Tennessee Martin? Many expected it to be junior college transfer Matt Simms, who appeared to take the lead for the position after a fifth year senior left the program. Not so fast. Can true freshman Tyler Bray be the guy. Go "Inside" to get our thoughts after Saturday's Orange and White game.

After the departure of the most experienced quarterback on the roster a couple of weeks ago, most figured and expected the quarterback race to have already been decided.

Not so fast.

After Saturday's Orange and White game the one thing that was apparent was that nothing is settled yet in the race for the starting position at the signal caller position.

Everyone expected this to be Matt Simms' team after Nick Stephens decided to transfer with two weeks left in spring football. Not many expected true freshman Tyler Bray to compete for the starting role, even though Derek Dooley named the California gunslinger as the number two guy.

For the second straight scrimmage or game Simms has faltered. After one scrimmage Stephens was demoted to third string. So where does Bray stand in the competition?

Bray completed 18 passes out 40 attempts for 200 yards and one touchdown, and he didn't throw any interceptions.

Simms, on the other hand, only completed 12 passes out of 28 attempts for 125 yards and one touchdown, but threw three interceptions.

Simms was also sacked five times compared to just two sacks on Bray.

Dooley had this to say about his youngest signal caller.

"I was really pleased with his presence out there," Dooley said. "He's really a high school senior. He wasn't nervous or jittery. He performed the way he has been performing all spring, and that says a lot about him. He made some good throws and he missed some throws. He did a good job."

While Dooley hasn't acknowledged much concern over the play of Simms, it appears that the quarterback race will be much closer than many expected after the news was first announced about the fifth-year senior leaving the program.

Simms took his second straight disappointing performance in stride.

"I did some things well. I did some other things not so well," Simms said. " I wanted to come out and put on a show for the fans and get ready to work for the summer. It was good to get a little game preparation. The good thing is Montori (Hughes) is on my team in the fall. But it was fun to get out here and play. I am not going to dwell on any mistakes, I am just going to move forward and try to get better."

One thing that was apparent during Saturday's Orange and White game is the fact that the starting role is far from being decided. Expect this battle to go through fall camp before a starter is decided.

And true freshman Bray could be under center against Tennessee Martin.

By policy, true freshmen aren't allowed to be interviewed by the media.


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