May 5, 2014
ATLANTA, Ga -- The first stop of the Big Orange Caravan took place at Atlanta's Park Tavern on Monday night. Butch Jones is the veteran of the caravan, taking part in his second event while new men's basketball coach Donnie Tyndall is making his debut less than three weeks after being hired at Tennessee.
Jones had some advice to Tyndall as he prepared to meet a passionate fan base in Georgia.
"Enjoy every minute of it," Jones said. "It part of his whirlwind tour that going on. Every day, you can't the amount of hours of into it, but enjoy this journey, because it goes by fast."
Being the veteran, Jones can offer insight to Tyndall.
"This is a great way to come out and be with our great fan base and the support they can give us," said Jones. "They are one of the reasons that makes Tennessee very, very special."
Pig Howard UPDATE
Butch Jones gave the latest update on rising junior wide receiver Alton Pig Howard, who has been away from the team during spring football. It is possible that Howard could return to the Vols, and Jones is hopeful of a resolution in the coming weeks.
"We will still make a decision," said Jones. "We have laid everything out for Alton Howard. We have some prerequisites and requirements that need to be met. I have met with him a couple of times.
"I would say within the next couple of weeks (we will have a decision). The big thing for him -- if he is back -- and all roads lead to that right now, but we will see how that materializes. We would like to get him back here for summer. There will be some requirements led by our players' staff. Alton knows that and he's aware of that and he's done everything we have asked him to do up to this time."
TYNDALL EXCITED TO WELCOME PUNTER
Basketball coach Donnie Tyndall spoke publicly about the newest member of the Vols, JUCO transfer Kevin Punter, who averaged 20.3 points per game at State Fair Community College in Missouri last season.
"Kevin has proven himself to be a profile scorer," said Tyndall. "He can drive it, he can handle it, he can get to the foul line. He's a pretty solid shooter from behind the arc.
"He's excited to be at Tennessee. He had a great visit this past weekend signed right away this morning. We want guys that want to be here and certainly he's one of those."
TYNDALL ON RELEASE REQUESTS
"Darius and A.J. have asked for they release to explore their options," said Tyndall. "As I have said with the other young men, that decided not to attend Tennessee, we want guys that want to be here. In either case, I don't think tees guys have made their minds up to not come back, the door has been left open. We hope they come back. But at the end of the day, if they need to be comfortable with the rest of their career."
Tyndall is open their return, but wants what is best for the individuals.
"The biggest thing is that it is about the student-athlete," he said. "I could be a guy that says, we won't release you, I don't think thats far to the student-athlete or their family. I certainly have encouraged them to come back. I need to do what is in the best interest of those young people."
Tyndall is no stranger to roster attrition.
"When I took over at Southern Miss, we had four returning players in the locker room and yet we when on to win a school-record 27 games. We will be working to do the same thing here."