Jones Taking Page Out Of Neyland's Book

April 29, 2013


By Nick Carner

Robert Neyland, the all-time winningest coach in Tennessee history, is recognized and honored in the new book, West Point Leadership: Profiles of Courage.

The book contains 180 individual biographies, detailing the impact each subject made on the world.

» A video trailer and a sample ebook are shown online:

"Neyland, whose name adorns your stadium and is a Hall of Fame football coach, is considered one of the greatest coaches in college football history, winning four national championships during his coaching career," co-author Daniel Rice said. "But his story is even more than that. This book examines not only his football career, but his military career that helped shape his leadership style."

Neyland attended West Point and starred as an athlete. Then, he graduated from the academy in 1916 and enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree in engineering.

He later balanced military service with his coaching career for several years. His coaching tenure at UT (1926-1952) was interrupted twice by the army--first in 1935 at the Panama Canal Zone and again from 1941-1945 during WWII.

As a military background would indicate, Neyland demanded excellence from his football players all the time. Accountability and attention to detail were paramount. This is most clearly exhibited in Neyland's game maxims, of which his favorite seven still grace the Tennessee locker room.

First-year Tennessee coach Butch Jones, has been borrowing some pages from Neyland's book.

1.) The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.

Accountability. Jones has used a microphone to call out players during practice, and he's made turnovers and penalties an emphasis this spring, particularly in the red zone. Look for a disciplined team come August, 31.

2.) Play for and make the breaks and when one comes your way - SCORE.

Be opportunistic. Jones' teams have finished in the NCAA top-25 for turnover margin three of the last four seasons. Look for similar results in the fall.

3.) If at first the game - or the breaks - go against you, don't let up...put on more steam.

Be mentally tough. Body language and attitude are constantly monitored by the staff. Finish. Every. Play.

4.) Protect our kickers, our QB, our lead and our ball game.

Jones inherited an offensive line full of studs but has to keep the big guys motivated. And although Jones employs a spread offense, he's also termed it a "power spread." Jones knows ball control and controlling the line of scrimmage are key to winning in the SEC.

5.) Ball, oskie, cover, block, cut and slice, pursue and gang tackle...for this is the WINNING EDGE.

John Ward coined the phrase, "stopped by a Host of Volunteers," and Jones is attempting to get the Vols back to their gang-tackling ways. During the Orange and White game, fans got a taste of what's to come, as several times ball carriers were met by multiple orange-clad defenders.

6.) Press the kicking game. Here is where the breaks are made.

The Vols have struggled in this area the last couple seasons, and the win-loss record shows it. Games are constantly won and lost with special teams, so Jones has emphasized the kicking game. Constant distraction and pressure is thrown at the kickers, attempting to simulate game-day situations.

7.) Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.

"Losing is a disease. You have to stop losing before you can start winning." Jones has stressed playing like a champion, every play and every day. He's molding winners, day by day, brick by brick.

Although Jones hasn't coached an SEC game yet, and comparisons to one of the greatest coaches ever are premature at the least, if Jones was going to model his coaching after somebody, "The General," wouldn't be a bad choice.

"People think I'm the greatest damn coach in the world," Bear Bryant once said. "But Neyland taught me everything I know."





  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago