Posted by Tom Fornelli
In an effort to shake things up with his offense, Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley decided to give freshman Tyler Bray some snaps during practice last week and during Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Saturday night. Obviously, considering the Vols only managed to score 10 points and gain 315 yards of offense in their 31-10 loss, not much changed with the two-quarterback system.
In fact, Bray struggled quite a bit, completing only 5-of-14 passes for 39 yards and an interception. The man he took snaps away from, Matt Simms, didn't fare that much better, completing only 12-of-22 passes for 117 yards and throwing an interception of his own. Still, Simms' performance was better than Bray's, and the junior quarterback thinks things would have gone a bit better had he been left in the game.
"I knew the plan going into the game was to get [Bray] a few drives or whatever," Simms said. "By the way things were going in the game at that moment, I really didn't think that I was going to get taken out -- later on in the game maybe. They stayed true to their plan, and I respect that, and I thank them for being honest with me, but at the same time those drives right there, I feel like I need to be out there, because I feel like I'm missing out on plays that could have been made or penalties that could have been avoided."
Simms did go on to say that he appreciated the coaches honesty in the whole situation, but that when it comes to sharing time with Bray that the coaches "know how I feel about that."
It's easy to understand where Simms is coming from, because no quarterback who has spent the entire year as the team's starter is going to enjoy suddenly sharing snaps. Especially when the team is losing. Still, it's because Tennessee is losing that Simms needs to get over it.
While he hasn't gotten much help from his offensive line at all this season, Simms hasn't been very good. He's thrown nearly as many interceptions (5) as he has touchdowns (7) on the year. Obviously, Matt Simms: Full-Time Quarterback hasn't been a winning formula for the Vols. So mixing in Tyler Bray, whom the coaching staff hopes can be the quarterback of the future, can only help in the long run.
So while Simms may not like sharing snaps, he should probably get used to it. Then, when he is on the field, play so well that the coaches can't take him off the field.