April 5, 2014
By Alex Cate
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- Tennessee head coach, Butch Jones may have just sealed his spot on the next season of Dancing with the Stars. While he may look like your normal football coach, Jones showed off his ability to cut a rug Saturday after practice and in front of more than a 1,000 students and faculty members who attended the open practice.
Jones' moves sent shock-waves through the crowd which had gathered on the field to hear him speak to the team.
"Coach Jones, he's got some swag," said senior linebacker Curt Maggitt.
The spectacle capped off the first annual Student and Faculty Appreciation Day. Both groups were invited to watch Tennessee practice inside Neyland Stadium.
Those who came got a preview of what they get to see in the DISH Orange & White game April 12. The open practice is all a part of head coach Butch Jones' efforts to thank the students and faculty for their support during the season and the home field advantage they provide Team 118.
The gesture wasn't lost on the student body.
"It's important to us as students that the team knows we're behind them," said senior student, Bo Johnson. "It's even more special to us that Coach Jones would include us in a practice like this. It really shows he is striving to bring us together as one Tennessee family."
Saturday's practice was the first time that fans got to see next year's team. Jones invited fans onto the field to help create a game-like atmosphere for the kickers at the end of practice. They also got a chance to mingle with players after Jones' post-practice talk.
The gratitude went both ways as several players noted how much more energy they had at practice as a result of the added attention.
"Today was a big day for us," said sophomore Corey Vereen. "We had to have today to keep going to the next week and to the Orange and White game and to the season. We had to have today. It was a good momentum changer and everybody had a little energy, a little juice, a little pep in their step. It was a good day. Today was very key in what we're trying to do here."
Although there was a crowd, there wasn't added pressure for the practice according to sophomore quarterback, Joshua Dobbs.
"We think our student body is the greatest in the country," he said. "They did a great job of showing up today and being very supportive so we are happy to have them out.
Jones said he appreciated the turnout and relayed how important it is for the student body to help create a winning environment on fall Saturdays.
"To our faculty and staff of coming out and really supporting our football program and really showing them what we have to be proud of and I know our players appreciate it," Jones said. "Then our first annual student appreciation day and our students coming out, they make a difference, they made a difference in the Georgia game, they made a difference in the South Carolina game, and we are going to need them. So to be able to let them know that we are One Tennessee, that was great to see."