Tyler Bray: Jim Chaney “Great Hire” for Tennessee

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    (Photo via Kevin C. Cox)

    Several former Vols voiced their approval of Tennessee’s reported hiring of former Vol offensive coordinator and Georgia OC Jim Chaney on Tuesday night. But one of Chaney’s top endorsements came from one of his former quarterbacks at Tennessee.

    Tyler Bray played for the Vols from 2010-12 and was their starting quarterback for the final five games of the 2010 season and stayed as the starter for most of the last two years he was on campus. Vol fans mostly remember Bray in his junior campaign where he and Tennessee’s offense put up some eye-popping numbers and set several school records in the process.

    The coach who helped develop that talent heading into that season and called plays that year? That was none other than the man UT is bringing back to Knoxville to be their OC now.

    A few hours after the announcement of Chaney’s reported hire, Bray took to Twitter to praise the move, calling Chaney a “great hire” and stating that he’s both a “great coach” and “a great person.”

    Chaney was brought on as UT’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2009 when Lane Kiffin was hired as head coach. Once Kiffin left for USC, Chaney’s status was left in question. But Derek Dooley retained him once he was brought on as head coach, and Chaney remained Dooley’s OC for his three-year tenure. Chaney wasn’t retained by Butch Jones when he was hired prior to the 2013 season.

    Tennessee’s offense flourished under Bray in the last four games of the 2010 season and in the Music City Bowl against North Carolina, and that all happened once Tyler Bray was named the starter as a true freshman. The Vols averaged 35.4 points and 415.8 yards per game over the last five games of the 2010 season.

    In 2011, Tennessee’s offense took a step back mostly due to injuries to Justin Hunter and others that season. The Vols started out averaging 416.3 yards and 36.7 points per game in their first three games before Hunter suffered a season-ending injury against Florida. Tennessee would finish that season averaging just 332.7 yards and 20.3 points.

    But in 2012, the Vols’ offense exploded.

    Tennessee had Tyler Bray at quarterback, a rejuvenated Justin Hunter, a highly-rated JUCO receiver in Cordarrelle Patterson, and Mychal Rivera at tight end to go along with a solid offensive line in 2012. And if not for a historically bad defense that season, the Vols might’ve made some noise in the SEC.

    The Vols averaged 475.9 yards per game and 36.2 points in 2012, and Bray put himself in Tennessee’s record books that season. He finished the year completing 268 of his 451 pass attempts for 3,612 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Running backs Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane combined to run for 1,366 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

    Bray left Tennessee after his junior season and went undrafted into the NFL. He was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs and stayed on their roster for five years before being released last offseason. He was picked up by the Chicago Bears and was on their practice squad this past season.

    Tyler Bray knows firsthand what kind of coach and play caller Chaney is, and he’s happy to see his former coach back in Knoxville. And he’s not the only former Vol who approves of the hire, either.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.