KNOXVILLE - Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray entered in the fourth quarter of last year's blowout loss at Georgia and promptly led a drive down the field.
The sophomore has led many scoring drives since, and he leads the Southeastern Conference in total offense, passing efficiency and passing yards.
"I’m extremely pleased," coach Derek Dooley said after Tuesday morning's practice. "It’s hard to look at his numbers and be disappointed in what he’s doing, but I don’t want to get too excited. I want to measure us week to week, we’re doing good, here are some things we need to work on, let’s see how we perform this week and at the end of the year we’ll look back and say, ‘We had a bad team, we had a good team or we had a really good team.’ We’ll see."
The Bulldogs are second in the SEC in pass defense and have eight interceptions this season. Bray has thrown for 1,328 yards and 14 touchdowns to just two interceptions this season. The Vols also are tied for the national lead for third-down efficiency, and Georgia's third-down defense is second nationally.
"I like the touchdown-to-interception ratio the best because before you learn how to win a game, you’ve got to not lose it," Dooley said. "The quickest way to lose a game is to throw it to the other guy. He’s done pretty good at that so far. Then, of course, his accuracy is reflected in his third-down percentage, it really is. That’s key, and I hope he can continue in the way he’s going, but we’ll see."
UT receiver Da'Rick Rogers verbally committed to Georgia the summer before his senior year at Calhoun High School, but the 6-foot-3, 215-pound sophomore memorably switched to the Vols on signing day in February. He had just one catch for a three-year loss in the losing trip to Athens last season, but now Rogers is UT's top receiver.
Rogers downplayed his matchup against the school where he nearly chose to play.
"It's another SEC matchup," he said. "It's just another big game for us. I'm taking the approach that I would for any other game. Plays have to be made and games have to be won. That's how we are going to treat it."
The Vols remain healthy heading into Saturday night's game. Freshman receiver DeAnthony Arnett made his media debut after Tuesday's practice.
More on Arnett's transition and Rogers' mindset heading into his grudge match in Wednesday's Times Free Press. Follow Patrick Brown on Twitter for more continuous updates.
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 ...