With the opening kickoff of the college football season just around the corner, second-year coach Derek Dooley and his Tennessee football squad have been working hard in practices and scrimmages.

“For the most part it’s been a very competitive, equally competitive camp and that’s what you want,” Dooley said. “The deeper we get as a team, the better recruits we keep bringing in on offense and defense; that’s what you’re going to have.”

One of the players receiving much attention in the past week of fall camp has been sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray. In the Volunteers’ third and final scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday, Bray was 10-of-20 through the air for 144 yards and a touchdown.

“I wish Tyler would get a little more consistent in his approach,” Dooley said. “He shouldn’t have to have a real bad day to get him to want to come in and take it more seriously, and that comes with maturity.”

Despite the criticism that has been directed towards him over the past few weeks, Bray has kept his head held high and has continued to work hard in practices, and as a result has the confidence of his coaches and teammates.

“We all believe in him,” junior wide receiver Zach Rogers said. “He proved to us last year he is a big-game player and we want him out on the field in critical moments of the game.”

Rogers and the rest of UT’s young receiving corps will have to fill a void in the receiving game after the departures of Gerald Jones, Denarius Moore and Luke Stocker.

“Our receivers definitely have talent this year, and (sophomores) Justin (Hunter) and Da’Rick (Rogers) are phenomenal athletes,” Zach Rogers said. “We also have a lot of speed and want to stretch the field this year.”

The offensive performance in Saturday’s scrimmage was highlighted by a 16-play, 99-yard scoring drive, which was capped off with a five-yard touchdown pass from Bray to freshman wide receiver Vincent Dallas.

“If we play as a team and have the tempo fast, we’re a great team,” Bray said. “I feel like we would be ready if the first game was tomorrow, but we still have some areas we need to work on and improve in.”

The running game was also very effective for the Vols’ offensive attack, as four tailbacks managed to rush for 177 yards on 40 carries. Jaron Toney, Marlin Lane and Reggie Juin each scored a touchdown.

Toney led all rushers with 83 yards from scrimmage.

'We were running the ball very effectively, and if we don’t run the ball well this year we’re not going to be anything,” Dooley said after the Vols’ 103-play scrimmage, which took place in Neyland Stadium. “We don’t have enough wideouts, we don’t have enough experience at quarterback and receiver play to go out there and sling it around the field. We’re goning to have to run the ball well and we did and we made a lot of progress today.”

Now that all the extensive fall scrimmages are over, the team will continue to practice and try to tune up some of the weak spots in its game with less than two weeks until the season kicks off against Montana on Sept. 3.

“I’m a little nervous because of our youth and inexperience,” Dooley said. “But I feel like we have a competitive talent level. It’s not where it needs to be to be a championship football team, but it doesn’t mean we can’t win one. We have some holes on both sides of the ball, but we’re a lot better than we were last year.”