April 6, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Check out the entire transcript of Butch Jones'media session on Saturday after the team's scrimmage Saturday.
"It is different when you are the head coach because obviously you want the defense to do well and you want the offense to do as well. I think we are taking strides defensively, which is the mental energy and the intensity that we need. I will know more when I go an access the film. Offensively, I am not pleased at all. I didn't think we were physical at the line of scrimmage. I was disappointed in the way our offensive line came off the football. I was disappointed with our running backs and obviously our receivers have a long way to go. To finish out the last portion of spring our offense needs to step up, somebody needs to take ownership. And defensively the same thing but I liked the way they flew around. I thought it was a tremendous teaching opportunity with all the different situations and how we can go back on Monday and really have a lot of things to teach in terms of situational football. That is so much a part of it, the intelligence factor that really goes into playing football.
(On letting the players play today)
"I do. We are as competitive as anyone, especially this staff, but wanted to really just put the players out there and let them play and really see what they can do and how can they think for themselves. You know, get lined up, make the appropriate checks without the coaches. I thought today was extremely productive. It is days like this, you spend an enormous amount of time in practicing and fundamentals but there really is not substitute of really playing football and all the different scenarios that come up form down and distance and game situations. It was a great great teach day today."
(On the defense progressing quicker than the offense)
"It is what I expected. We are going through a process and I expect the defense to be a little ahead of the offense. But the thing that we aren't going to sacrifice and compromise is the level of physicality, energy, and leadership. It is what it is. We wish them the best, they are no longer with our football program, they are moving onto careers in the National Football League, which is great. But somebody is going to have to step up and play offense here come the first game against Austin Peay."
(On the receivers improving)
"I did. I thought it was situations like the overtime period and we were down by eight and it is fourth and four and Jason Croom comes and the ball is thrown behind him and he makes a great play to extend the drive. Those are all situations that obviously are really helping them get better. I think Jason continues to progress. Our receivers are not what we expect at all in our offense."
(On concern about the completion percentage)
"I am concerned with the completion percentage and so much of that lends itself on the shoulders of the quarterback but it is more than that. It really is the wideouts making the proper route adjustments, it is the proper depths, it is rhythm, spacing, and timing, it is running backs, it is protection, it is tight ends. So everything goes into that completion percentage. That is why we practice. That is why this week is critical, we continue to evolve into team 117."
"I thought for the most part they managed it well. It is still not there yet, when they are full in there with command presence when they are barking out the signals, really the Alpha Male, barking out down and distance, when something is wrong getting you in the right formation. It is all of those things. That comes with time but we don't have time. Those are all great teaching aids and we will use them when we come back to work on Monday."
(On Corey Vereen being taken out of the game)
"He did come back. Everything is a teaching moment. Obviously with the rules changing in college football right now, the fighting rule and all of that, the one game suspension. That was an opportunity to make a point to not only him but to the entire football team. I know this about Corey Vereen, he is of high character, he felt awful about it, and everything was his demeanor when I called him over there. He knew what he had down wrong. He knew, that was a great teaching point. That should never happen with that young man again. It was a great teaching point for the entire team."
(On Corey Vereen)
"I called him over just like I do everyone. I wanted to get his take and he knew right away. 'Coach, I was wrong.' He understood and I made a point of it but we moved on and he has earned the right of it by the way he has worked. He is a high school senior right now trying to give everything that he has. Sometimes I like a little emotion it is just not the right way."
(On Faculty Appreciation Day)
"It was an opportunity to give back. We have such great faculty and staff here, to have the support that we have for them to come out. Those are the little things that when you talk about being one family and one Tennessee, we have a great respect for the advisors and for the professors and everyone. It is student-athletes with student first then athlete. To go on top of that, our players had to hand deliver the invites for today. To have over one-hundred and fifty individuals here it was a great day and a great deal for the university community to come together."
(On the energy in the defense)
"It has been building and it has been coached. You can't be a great defense that doesn't play with an energy level. That has been ongoing and that has been a work in progress. I am really encouraged by what I see. You can't have fake energy. How do you find fake energy, you take the field and give up a big play. It is how you respond. Great defenses, you aren't always going to go for three and out and although we had nine three and outs today. But you aren't going to go three and out all the time. It is how you respond. It is that snap and clear mentality."
(On coaching over the microphone)
"Big. It is a culture and it is an expectation. Our margin of error with this football team is very slim. You all see it. We all know. We could be a good football team but our margin of error is extremely small. It is limited. So we can't have turnovers. We can't have penalties. Our players understand that. Every time out is a teaching moment. I have said it and I will continue to say it, our kids have been outstanding. They have been willing, they have been eager, they want more. Again, when you have that you can accomplish good things and get better. I see that."
(On the defense benefiting from the energy)
"I saw more out of our front seven. I thought our linebackers were extremely active with Sapp and Johnson especially. I thought they were active, they played downhill. It is a line of scrimmage game and I thought our defensive line won the line of scrimmage. But we still need to develop more of an edge presence in our defense, the ability to rush the passer."
(On troubles with running the ball)
"It is a combination of everyone. Everyone wants to point towards the O-line. But an effective run team, which we have been for a number of years, it is all 11 guys. It is the quarterback carrying out his run fake, making the right progression on whether to deal the ball or run the ball. It is the receivers blocking downfield. It is tight ends. It is everyone, but we missed a couple big time cuts that really were a minus two yard gain. When you run the football you can't have negative yard plays and they should have been eight to ten yard plays if we keep our eyes open. Those are teaching moments. I know our running backs are extremely prideful and we challenge them, they will come back."
(On getting vertical)
"They are getting vertical. Each individual has a little bit more to do than the other. But I think the big thing is your eyes up and trusting your eyes. You are letting your instincts take over. You are really being disciplined with your eyes to do your run race."
(On the search for playmakers)
"Ongoing. I think that Alton Howard could be a playmaker for us but he has to get himself in much better shape, not only physically but also mentally. I see him as a playmaker. I think Jason Croom is coming along. We still have a long way to go."
"Just like anyone on the team, the best kicker, the best punter, is going to be the one who will take the field. That is the thing is probably what we also have to take huge strides in talking about our margin of error, we have to cash in on points, we can' t have missed field goals. A fifty-yard field goal, a forty-yard field goal, that is a law of percentages. But anywhere 35 and in we have to be automatic. Those are points that we need to have."
(On the quarterback competition)
"We are earning that depth chart every single day. They better have a sense of urgency. If they don't, they should have it after today and I can promise you they will have it on Monday. They do, they understand the importance and they are all prideful. They are extremely competitive. That is what I have loved about this football team. We know we have a lot of work to do. That is why were practice. That is why we will come back with a workman like mentality on Monday."
(On the defense playing quicker)
"I agree with you. The thing that i liked today was the overall physicality of our defense but also the speed. If every time I look, we call the Vol piles, getting 11 to the football and swarm into the football. I saw more 11 guys to the football today than I had seen all spring. I think we played a lot faster today on defense."
"Vince was all precautionary so he was held. With Paul we are thinking a hamstring right now. We will know a little bit more when I get in there and see. The great thing as a coach, you always worry about these days because you want to play with a level physicality but you are also worried about injuries. Injuries are part of the game. What we came through today was very relative, small, unknown injuries in regards to be healthy. So that was good to see."