published Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Tyler Bray: I've learned, 'moved on'

Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, center, watches during the first day of football practice Friday in Knoxville, Tenn.
Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, center, watches during the first day of football practice Friday in Knoxville, Tenn.
Photo by The Knoxville News Sentinel /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray was succinct in discussing the lessons he'd learned after making negative headlines last week.

The Volunteers' junior was linked to a pair of car-vandalism incidents at a Knoxville apartment complex, though no charges were filed against him.

"Just to make smarter decisions," Bray said Friday afternoon after UT's first practice of training camp. "It was a real stupid decision, but I've moved on, got to the first day of practice and we practiced pretty well."

Bray said he'd already served his punishment and called the nature of it a "team thing." According to police reports, he and his roommate were seen throwing beer bottles and golf balls off the apartment's balcony at cars in the parking lot. Bray apologized and offered to pay for the damage to one victim's car, and both victims elected not to pursue charges.

The chatter with Bray always has been about his maturity on and off the field, and the incident diminished some of that progress while also teaching the 20-year-old the standard he's held to as UT's starting quarterback.

"I already understood it," he said. "I just made a stupid decision and was not thinking. Just need to throw footballs instead of that.

"I thought I made strides maturing and being a team leader, but then made some steps back having that incident. Just trying to move forward and get to the season."

Derek Dooley said Bray was "upbeat" during Friday's opening workout, and the coach pointed out how far Bray has progressed administrating the Vols' offense.

"You can tell he's put a lot of work in this summer," Dooley said. "We didn't have all that administrative, couldn't get the play, couldn't call it right [mistakes]. It looked like practice 10 from an administration standpoint.

"That's good. That's what it should be."

Hood anxious

Daniel Hood was limited significantly during spring practice following shoulder surgery, but don't tell the senior defensive lineman he spent the time relaxing.

"I was held to the same standards as everyone else," the Knoxville product said. "I was expected to know what my position was supposed to do, and [defensive line coach John Palermo] would test me on each thing, too. The only thing I wasn't able to do was practice, which is the fun part."

The 6-foot-4, 292-pounder couldn't hit during the spring, which meant he spent most of practice on the sideline. After switching from offense, he started eight games at defensive tackle last season and finished with eight stops, including one sack.

In coordinator Sal Sunseri's new 3-4 defense, Hood -- who feels he didn't fall behind too much in the spring -- begins camp at end, though he's learning every position on the line.

"I know I'm anxious," Dooley said of Hood's return. "I told Sal and J.P., because they don't know much about Dan, [that] I think Dan's going to surprise them. He's big, he's tough, he's strong, he gives good effort, and I'm anxious to see how he does over the course of camp."

The Vols have some depth up front defensively, but the quality of that depth is yet to be determined.

"I don't think we've proven," Hood said, "if we're talented enough to compete."

Stone hands

Center James Stone is snapping left-handed when the Vols go into the shotgun or pistol formations and right-handed when the quarterback is under center. The junior is left-handed, and the Vols' decision to make him snap right-handed backfired early last season, which caused Stone to lose his job and switch to guard.

Dooley admitted Thursday he should have worked the Nashville native more at center during the latter half of spring practice, but Stone moved back to the middle in the summer.

"We'll just see how that goes," Dooley said.

about Patrick Brown...

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 ...

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