It’s Day Two of SEC Media Days! For almost every team session, I will provide a quick and totally incomplete recap. Next up: Tennessee‘s Butch Jones, OL Antonio Richardson, OL Ja’Wuan James, and DL Jacques Smith.
Butch Jones loves football. Not just the game, but the word. Butch says the word “football” like he’s going to grab the helmet off the table on the stage, put it on and charge through the crowd. I was particularly interested in watching Butch’s remarks (I feel as though I can only refer to him as “Butch,” not Jones) because he was one of the final candidates for the Kentucky job.
The differences between him and Mark Stoops were pretty interesting. Stoops was much more reserved, and spent very little time on his opening statement. As I said earlier, that’s pretty much in line with his no-nonsense style, but he’s still very likable and down to earth, which harkens back to his Midwestern, blue collar roots. Jones is also personable, but was much more gregarious in his comments. He’s more of a showman than Stoops, and spoke at length about restoring the Tennessee tradition, and the process of rebuilding.
Here’s a quote that is so much more fun when taken out of context:
“Tennessee has lost 260 pounds of fat.”
Of course, he’s talking about the Volunteers’ conditioning program, which he also said added 230 lbs. of muscle on his players, but isn’t it more fun to imagine he’s referring to Derek Dooley?
Even though he hasn’t coached a game in the SEC yet, Butch knows that he’s now part of the best league in the country. He said that he’s often asked what it’s like to be a head coach in the SEC. His trademark response?
“Every day in the SEC is like 4th and 1 for the national championship.”
I have a feeling Jones approaches everything in his life like it’s 4th-and-1 in the National Championship. FOOTBALL!!!!!
Jones was impressive, but I bet he wishes the SEC had chosen a more flattering picture for his presentation.
I got some time with senior offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James, and asked him about the state of the Kentucky/Tennessee rivalry with both teams in rebuilding mode. While James said that he hasn’t heard any of the buzz about what’s going on in Lexington, the loss to Kentucky two seasons ago still stings a little:
“That loss was rough, that streak ended, but that’s the past and we’ve gotta focus on the future. We got the win again and started the streak again last year.”
I asked if he was excited for the future of the Kentucky/Tennessee rivalry:
“Yes, I’m looking forward to it. I hope these guys can keep this streak alive, and we can restart the rivalry.”
No offense, Ja’Wuan, but I hope you’re wrong.
Hey guys, I found Bruce Pearl’s old blazer:
Haha. Defensive lineman Jacques Smith’s orange blazer was the buzz of the Q&A session, and he says that he likes how it stands out because “that’s what it means to be a VOL!” Jacques is huge, so I held back from asking if he meant that the University of Tennessee should be associated with bad fashion taste. For those of you Tennessee trolls wanting one of your own, Smith says he ordered it online.
I’m skipping Auburn’s session to go find some food. I’ve only had a granola bar today and if I don’t eat soon, I may just sit and throw up three goggles behind the Sportscenter set for the rest of the day. (That actually sounds like a great plan…)