Tyler Bray knows he's on as warm of a seat as his head coach Derek Dooley.
After the Vols failed to live up to expectations, missed a bowl game — thanks to the first loss to Kentucky since 1984 — Bray called himself out Monday for being immature and needing a change.
"Last year," Bray told the Knoxville News Sentinel, "I wasn't the smartest guy. Kind of dumb.
"This year I'm trying to get my act together and trying to get this team where it needs to be."
Can't blame the season on Bray — he missed five games because of a thumb injury. But he acknowledged that his leadership wasn't very good a year ago and that's something he's remedying this spring.
"I've tried to be a leader as much as possible," Bray said. "I've kind of struggled at it, but I'm working on it."
Bray's words have to be a positive for Tennessee fans who are hoping to see some sort of consistency from a quarterback that has shown flashes of greatness (the latter half of his freshman year) and flashes of ugly (last year's Kentucky game).
"Just to get this team back to where it needs to be," he said. "Get it back to where we were in the '90s."
Getting the program back to the '90s when Peyton Manning was quarterback and the Vols consistently won no fewer than eight games in any season during the decade, including five 9-win seasons, a 10-win season, two 11-win seasons and the 13-0 season in 1998 that included a Fiesta Bowl win, might be a bit of a challenge, but it's not out of the question if Bray is playing at the top of his game.
There's never been any question about Bray's ability. In 16 games, 12 starts, he's thrown for 3,832 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has yet to play a complete season and still ranks ninth in Tennessee's career passing yards and seventh in touchdown passes.
Is a 13-0 campaign possible this season? It's probably going to be tough with games at Georgia and at South Carolina as well as a game against Alabama, but an eight or nine-win season would definitely be a step in the right direction.
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H/T to Knoxville New Sentinel
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