Tennessee will have to go another week without the services of former starting quarterback Tyler Bray.
Since undergoing surgery on his right thumb following the Georgia game, Bray has replaced his cast for a brace and coach Derek Dooley said the sophomore has been rehabbing every day. Unfortunately for Tennessee, he won’t be healthy enough to play this weekend against Arkansas and he isn’t sure when Bray will be back for the Vols.
“All we’re doing is preparing and playing as if he’s not our quarterback,” Dooley said Wednesday.
“He’s kind of progressing along the timeline we felt like he would progress, so that’s encouraging.”
In the meantime, Tennessee’s quarterback is true freshman Justin Worley, who will make his third start of the season Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark.
Dooley said that he could tell the jitters, nerves and anxiety that come with making your first-career start “overwhelmed” Worley against South Carolina two weeks ago. Since then, he’s been very pleased with his improvements through the weeks and his 291-yard, one-touchdown performance against Middle Tennessee last week.
Dooley said he saw better command and more confidence in the pocket from Worley against Middle Tennessee. He also thought that he delivered the all more accurately and spread it out all over the field.
But things will get a lot tougher this weekend, as Worley takes his act on the road against No. 8 Arkansas (8-1, 4-1).
“Now, his challenge is to go do it on the road against a top-10 football team and that’ll be a big jump,” Dooley said. “Hopefully, he can continue to build on the way he performed last week.”