Commentary by David Climer, The Tennessean
What gives with the overzealous criticism of Tyler Bray for his ill-conceived attempt at recycling beer bottles?
It's not like he did something really stupid like mooning a female trainer.
case you forgot, the most sainted of all University of Tennessee
quarterbacks once dropped his guard - and his pants. And the school paid
In 1996, Peyton Manning's
bare backside was placed on display in front of a female trainer.
Manning said the gesture was intended solely for a nearby teammate as a
prank. The trainer believed otherwise and included the mooning incident
in a complaint of sexual harassment.
Once the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission got involved, UT forked over a settlement of $300,000.
I can tell, UT is not on the hook financially for Bray's alleged use of
a car for target practice. That means he ranks ahead of Manning in at
least one category.
The fact that Bray called the owner of the car
and offered to pay for the damage indicates he is taking responsibility
for being a knucklehead. That's a start.
The bigger issue here is
Bray's maturity - or lack of it. He's a junior now and ought to be
leading by example. He's a Vol. If he wanted to be a vandal, he
should've signed with Idaho.
The incident in question occurred less than 48 hours after UT coach Derek Dooley told reporters at the SEC Media Days that he had seen "a real change" in Bray's maturity level.
"I'm hoping he continues on that path and I'm hoping it will net him some big results this fall," Dooley said.
Later that day, Bray said he was "trying to get better at doing all the little things" that come with being an SEC quarterback.
He didn't mention anything about heaving beer bottles at parked cars.
immaturity behind such foolishness is one of the most frustrating
things about Bray. He is unquestionable talented but undeniably
inconsistent, both on and off the field. He has an NFL arm and a high
You never know quite what you're getting with Bray.
He's the kind of quarterback that can go 5-for-30 in a spring game and
five months later throw for 288 yards and three touchdowns at The Swamp.
arm is as good as you'll find in college football. Granted, his
gunslinger mentality results in some throws into traffic, but you prefer
to have a quarterback who thinks he can thread the ball between
defenders than someone who is constantly throwing check-downs for 5
yards on third-and-8.
And don't forget that Bray took one for the
team last season when he played the final two games with a broken thumb
that had not fully healed.
And then there's the flip side. In a
season that likely will determine his future at UT, Dooley is opening
practice with a quarterback that has extra baggage in tow thanks to what
the coach termed "silly prepubescent behavior."
Here's a thought:
Maybe Bray should call Manning for some advice on how to rebound from
silly prepubescent behavior. Things seem to have worked out pretty well