Coming off back to back top 5 recruiting classes, Butch Jones is undoubtedly getting it done on National Signing Day. Last season, UT won its first bowl game since the Phil Fulmer era. This year’s trendy pick to reach Atlanta is loaded with youthful talent. Here are Head Coach Butch Jones’ breakdown:
Paraphrased opening remarks
Lot of positive energy surrounding football program. Byproduct of the way we ended season going 4-1 and first bowl victory since 2008. There were no backflips or somersaults (shot back at Spurrier).
Interpretation-Jones isn’t backing down from Spurrier. He had to make this remark, if he didn’t, he would have lost respect in Knoxville. You can’t teach players to not back down and then not respond to the Spurrier remark.
Expectations have changed. This year is different. That’s what you want, expectations to be exceptionally high.
Interpretation-He’s feeling the expectation to win now, and that’s healthy. Tennessee is a pressure cooker job. Butch Jones is using that positive expectation as a motivator for his young team. Smart move.
52 players with a 3.0 and above. When we came to Tennessee we had 12.
Interpretation–I don’t put stock in team GPA’s but that is a significant upgrade and certainly worth noting. He’s speaking to UT leaders, boosters and recruit’s families here.
We have unproven areas in our program still. Will have many freshman playing vital roles.
Interpretation-Again, recruiting. Also, preparing his freshmen for fall camp. There are still jobs up for grabs. Go get it.
Questions and Answers (both paraphrased)
Q.-Tennessee is a trendy pick to win SEC East, is Missouri team to beat?
Jones-Team that can manage the natural adversities wins championships in December. It’s going to be a challenge week in and week out. It’s more about ourselves.
Interpretation-Didn’t want to overly credit Missouri. Put the emphasis on his current players back by acknowledging the fact that a SEC East championship is within their grasp.
Q.-Josh Dobbs seems to be established at QB. How much easier make your job?
Jones-Know what we’re getting from Josh day in and day out. Challenged him to be a CEO QB. Owns what happens to team. Number two quarterback is unknown. Josh has mentored young freshmen.
Interpretation-Josh Dobbs is a phenomenal human being. The soon to be rocket scientist is also a really good quarterback. Jones seems sincere in his praise of Dobbs. I would guess that’s pretty easy after being around him on a daily basis.
Q.-How big was the Alabama game for Josh Dobbs’ growth as a QB?
Jones-Helped Dobbs’ confidence. Great illustration to young players to take advantage of opportunities. When he received opportunity to play, he made the most out of it. Proved a lot to him and teammates.
Interpretation-Making a statement to freshmen and younger players to stay ready. Uses Dobbs as an example of being prepared and taking advantage of an afforded opportunity. Jones couldn’t have scripted a better questions to get his message across.
Q.-UT changed from Adidas to Nike, how big of advantage is that for your team?
Jones-It was monumental for our entire athletic department. Exciting thing is Smokey Gray uniforms, Nike sent a team to the Smokey Mountains for research.
Interpretation-It’s about time we got rid of Adidas and got with the brand that today’s kids want to wear. Nike helps with recruiting.
Q.-Jalen Hurd had a big impact as freshman. Talk about his improvement and Alvin Kamara’s addition.
Jones-Challenged Jalen’s durability. Being 6’3 he’s lowered his pad level. We’ve challenged him with his sleep and nutrition to prepare his body. Have to have depth at RB, Alvin gives us that.
Interpretation-Sending a message to his team to adhere to off the field training and how well it’s worked for Hurd. Also, crediting Kamara’s transition to UT from junior college. Will need both throughout the season.
Q.-How has OL experience worked out, does experience give you a level of comfort as a head coach?
Jones-Now we have competition. Competition is extremely healthy. We now how competitive depth like we need. Having a healthy Jalen Hurd, Joshua Dobbs, and Alvin Kamara helps.
Interpretation–Jones is recruiting highly rated offensive linemen. Also another message to current Vols to be ready for camp. There are 6-7 offensive linemen for 5 starting spots.
Butch Jones intelligently conducted a recruiting in-home visit while on the podium. He oozed confidence because he knows he’s loaded with youthful talent and a special quarterback. I do feel there is pressure for the Volunteers to win. I don’t think UT wins the East. I do see it being a highly competitive team that beats Oklahoma at home and poised for a national title run in 2016. The Tennessee Volunteers are back.