While the South Carolina game didn’t go as planned for Tennessee, senior wide receiver Denarius Moore proved to Vols fans he was back, after being knocked out of the Alabama game early in the first quarter.

Moore caught six passes for 228 yards and a touchdown against the Gamecocks. Though his yards were the highest receiving total in the SEC this season, Moore feels that his achievements were partly due to a strong desire to win and partly just a blessing.   

“I’d just say I came in with a chip on my shoulder,” Moore said. “And then after being out there, I guess I’d say being blessed to be at the right spot at the right time and making plays when they came my way.”

Moore proved to be ready for the challenge but didn’t come into the game feeling overly confident in his ability. He didn’t put too much emphasis on confidence but worked on just doing what he needed to do.

“I just come in saying I was doing my job,” Moore said. “Being in the right spot I was supposed to be in.”

His 228 yards were a personal career-high and the second-best mark in Tennessee history. Though the team didn’t win as a whole, Moore performed well and did his best, which is all that coach Derek Dooley requires of his players.

“I always say, ‘The results don’t define who you are,’” Dooley said. “But what does define you is your approach to work, what your attitude every day is and what kind of mental energy you bring to your job.”

With the Memphis game coming up this weekend, the team is preparing for a quarterback change. Dooley replaced junior Matt Simms early in the third quarter against South Carolina with true freshman Tyler Bray. Bray will be the starting quarterback for the Vols against the Tigers, and Moore feels that he is ready for the challenge.

“He actually came to the wide receivers and told us to keep our heads up before we actually had time to talk to him,” Moore said. “That right there let’s us know that his head is still in the game.”

With Bray behind him, Moore felt his confidence rise and is ready to play on Saturday. With a stellar performance behind him and a new quarterback for the Memphis game, Moore is ready and has faith in Bray’s capabiities.

“I think he came into the game with a whole bunch of confidence,” Moore said. “Even after he threw his first pick, he was actually coming to us saying, ‘Hey, calm down, we’re still in this, we can come back and tie the game up.’ So, by him doing that right there as a freshman, it lets us know that he’s ready to play.”

With this in mind, the team will enter Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday ready to face the Memphis Tigers with confidence in their quarterback. Some nerves are always involved when bringing in a new quarterback, but Moore feels that players have to be prepared for anything and keep their confidence high.

“You’ve always got to have competitiveness when you are out here playing football,” Moore said. “Anything bad can happen at any time so you just have to stay positive.”