Bray, Vols get past loss, move on to Akron
By Grant Ramey | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KNOXVILLE — Tyler Bray didn’t bother watching film of the second half of Tennessee’s 37-20 loss to Florida.
It wasn’t his team on the field, Bray said. So forget the film study.
“I didn’t even get to late in the game,” Tennessee’s quarterback said after practice Tuesday morning. “I watched the first half, that was about it.”
The 14th-ranked Gators, trailing 20-13 at the time, scored on Trey Burton’s 80-yard touchdown run with 3:12 left in the third quarter to tie the game. It was the first of a 24-0 run that Florida used to put the Vols away.
“That wasn’t our team,” Bray said of Tennessee’s play down the stretch.
The body language of Bray and his teammates told a story of an offense out of sync and frustrated when Florida started running past the Vols. Bray said that wasn’t the case.
“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.”
UT coach Derek Dooley used a pre-practice team huddle to issue a passionate speech about his team moving on — forgetting about the Florida loss in a much-anticipated rivalry game and focusing on Akron, a team that comes to Knoxville Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff (TV: CSS).
“(I was) just kind of resetting for the week,” Dooley said. “It’s always hard when you come off a loss like that to refocus on what’s next. So I didn’t want to start off practice the wrong way.”
Dooley said the wake-up had two focus points, accept the past and move on to what’s next.
“The important thing is, number one, accept the responsibility for everything that happens in life, that’s part of being a man,” Dooley said. “Then two, valuing the journey of self-improvement and doing what I can do to help the team.
“If our focus is on that, we’ll be fine. If we focus on the disappointment, or he said this, or we’re not this, just focus on self-improvement and what do I gotta do to help the team, and we’ll be fine.”
The team got the message, and it showed on the practice field.
“They had good energy, made a lot of mistakes, there is a lot to polish up and clean up, but it was a good practice,” Dooley said.
“We had a great practice,” Bray said. “It was probably one of our best Tuesday practices that we’ve had as far as energy level and tempo wise.”
brewer settling iN: Brent Brewer battled Byron Moore for a starting safety position all through fall camp. Moore won, and started Tennessee’s first three games.
Now, after Dooley confirmed Monday that safety Brian Randolph was done for the season after tearing his ACL in the loss to Florida, Brewer will be playing alongside Moore at one of the two safety spots in Tennessee’s defensive backfield.
Brewer has seen playing time in the first three games, but not at Randolph’s spot. The biggest adjustment? Communication.
“When everyone is on the field, everyone has to communicate and talk so everybody is on the same page and knows what they are doing.,” Brewer said.
“Brent has the capability of playing well,” Dooley said, “it just so happened Byron and Brian were playing better. So this is a good opportunity for Brent to get in there and show that he’s a capable starter. I think he’s got all the tools to be that.”
maggitt playing through: The turf toe that kept linebacker Curt Maggitt out of the Georgia State game two weeks ago didn’t keep the sophomore from playing aginst Florida.
He wasn’t slowed in Tuesday’s practice, either.
“He seemed fine today,” Dooley said, “so I’m hoping it kind of slowly goes away.”