Butch Jones Press Conference Transcript

Aug 15, 2013

HEAD COACH Butch Jones

(Opening statement)
"We're really excited. Before we start, I just want to make sure that everyone understands that everything we do at the University of Tennessee is based on our proud tradition. Everything is about a tradition because that's who we are, but it's also building on that tradition."

"Before I answer any questions, there's a number of individuals I'd like to personally thank. At Tennessee, we have the best of the best and, like I tell our recruits, people make a place. Barry Rice, Link Hudson, Trevor Greene and Donald Page, we talk about giving your all for Tennessee and they give their all for Tennessee each and every day and I'm very proud that they're a part of our football family. They're the best in the business and we're very fortunate to have them here at Tennessee."

(On the new Smokey gray jersey)
"As of right now, it'll be a one-game deal. We have not decided what game it will be, so that's still in discussions, but as of right now, the initial plan is for a one-game deal. It's a pride of who we are. You look at alternate jerseys and a Smokey gray jersey, it's the world we live in. I said it and it's one of the top three questions we're asked in recruiting are about our uniforms, our jersey colors. It attracts the best student-athletes. To me, it's a pride of who we are, we have the best colors in the country and now, with the Smokey gray jersey, that just adds to it."

(On how long the uniform changes have been under discussion)
"It's been a process and the process started, I would say late January, and adidas has been a great partner with us. The representatives from adidas came in and the big thing I wanted to make sure of was that we didn't lose our identity and who we are. It keeps the tradition that we have here, but it also expands on a tradition. It's like we talked about with our football team. Traditions all have a beginning stage. With the Smokey gray jersey, we're hoping that our fans, our alumni, our student body welcome the Smokey jersey into traditions. We're hoping that 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now that's still part of our great tradition, just like the seven game maxims and the Vol Walk and the Vol Navy and the checkerboard endzones and so on an so forth."

(On the player reaction)
"To say that they were excited would be the least to say. But it's what we do on the field, bottom line winning football games, but it's about the student athlete experience and we can never forget about that. We're asking 17-22 year old individuals to represent our tradition, to represent our great state and our institution, so they were very excited."

(On changing uniforms while respecting tradition)
"That's the world we live in. But the great thing about being here at Tennessee is that we have great tradition. But you look at any great company, any great organization, they're always staying ahead of the times, they're always embracing change and change is difficult. I think these are very subtle changes. But it's all about recruiting as well. I'll tell you this, my phone has blown up with recruits across the country very, very excited about that."

(On if he was miffed by the early release of the uniforms)
"As we know, sudden change. But I think everyone was very, very excited about it and I think that is what makes this place special. When Erik Spoelstra came here, he left here last night blown away. He could not believe the media representation at a practice, at a two-a-day practice. And he talked to our team about the responsibility that they have went the attention in being relevant again and all those certain things with being what I call the media capitol of the world in college football."

(On showing all five combinations)
"We'll use all five combinations, obviously with the orange jerseys at home with the white pants and the orange pants, the Smokey gray will be for one game at home, and then on the road, what we've always done with the white on white or the white on the orange pants."

(On his excitement level)
"I'm obviously very, very excited about it because our players are excited about it and our prospective student-athletes are very excited about it. But, again, I want to make sure everyone understands how important our traditions are. And I think I've proven how important those traditions are to us, how much we respect those, but also building upon those. So I'm excited because our players are excited. I think our fanbase is very, very excited, and, as we know, recruiting is everything as well."

(On the creative process with adidas)
"There were a number of individuals involved. We wanted to be extremely selective, we wanted to make sure that it represented our program in the proper taste, the proper fashion, that it respected our tradition, so we did our due diligence. There were a lot of long hours of discussion and I'm very excited because everyone had a part of that and adidas did a great job.

"They did a great job in presenting different color schemes, color patterns, different ideas for what we wanted on the jerseys and on the pants. Then, obviously making sure we had shoes that matched it, pants that matched it. So they did a great job in terms of being patient with us, we wanted to make sure we did it right."

(On the uniform color)
"We are really excited about the Smokey Gray. I am just looking at this year. Make no mistake about it, we don't want to be a program that has wholesale changes, it is a tradition rich program, there is only One Tennessee. We are not going to be a program that is all over the place with our uniforms. We want to represent all of our former players and our great fan base, it is not going to be that case. Right now we are excited about these five sets of uniforms."

(On his outfit)
"We have picture day today, so this is game day attire."

(On being a first class institution)
"I believe in everything that you do at a high level, you do everything as a champion, you do everything first class. It doesn't matter what you do, the way you travel, the way you dress, the way you present yourself, the way that you take care of yourself in the community. All of that. I am a firm believer in that. It is first impressions. Just like recruiting, recruiting is selling. You have 4-6 seconds to make a first impression. I am a big believer in that. That is class. This program is nothing but class and that is indicative in these uniforms."

(On this being his first fashion show)
"This is my first fashion show, but I am ready to play football, to be honest with you."

(On Curt Maggitt)
"He is progressing. Right now the next two weeks are going to be important to him, but it is a process and it is a long season. We have a great training staff and we are taking our time because of the injuries and coming back, but each week he starts to do more and more in practice and moving forward, next week you will start to see him more involved in practice."

(On freshmen playing at wide receiver)
"They have no choice, they are playing. We met as a staff today and we could play anywhere from 13-16 true freshmen. One of those positions, we talked about it in our press conference at the beginning of training camp, is one of those positions that true freshmen are going to have to play. Each of the freshmen are developing at their own speed and pace and we have tried to accelerate that process but when it is all said and done they are all going to have to play."

(On the three-man weave)
"First of all, everything has a purpose, we don't do anything blindly. The three man weave is about eye-hand coordination, that is about ball skills. That is about catching if you watch that three man weave, the ball ends up at different positions. We talk about hands on a clock and catching the football. It is at the two o'clock the position, the 10 o'clock, the nine o'clock, the three o'clock position. That is all ball skill oriented, that is eye-hand coordination. The black stripes, that is one of the most powerful things we do in our football program. If you could be in that team room setting when an upper classman, a big brother, brings his little brother up and peels his stripe off. You win with team chemistry. That is one of the ingredients to winning. It is a brotherhood. It is a family. Every program talks about family, but do you really live it every day. We do things with a purpose. The noises, we have to learn how to win on the road and it is very difficult to win on the road. There is a lot of clutter and distractions. We play in some of the greatest venues that you could play in. You can't hear. Those are all things, about being a mentally tough football team that we must take great strides in to be able to handle adversity. All of those things that we do, they are very well thought out and has a purpose and reason behind it."

(On Friday's practice and Saturday's scrimmage)
"Tomorrow is going to be a big day. We want to start moving the football more and having extended drives and seeing what players have that mental toughness and conditioning to finish plays. That is the big thing. Right now, for instance, our defense is running to the football but now there is a finish aspect. Our offensive line coming off of the football there is a finish aspect. We have to do a better job of finishing plays the next couple days. Tomorrow we will get back into some more situational football and Saturday we are really excited about that open practice and I really want to encourage everyone to come out because we want to make it as much as game situation as possible in terms of pressure. When we spoke about the true freshmen playing at wide receiver and the 13 or however many it is that are going to play. They need to be in that venue, this is kind of a dress rehearsal. There will be some team settings but this is also going to be individual periods. There are going to be individuals where it is going to be wide receiver vs. DB, their name will be called out on the microphone with just those two and hopefully 40-45,000 people will watch them. We need to find out who our punt returners are. There are going to be some pressure type situations where we are going to put our players under. That is Saturday night, it is going to be as well. Every practice from here on out is going to be critical in the evolution and development of Team 117."

(On the quarterback competition)
"I really didn't know what to expect. All four individuals are very prideful and extremely competitive. Really I think it has really helped improve all four because there is no substitute for competition. The thing that I have liked is they are competitive in the meetings, they are competitive in their warm up drills, but they help each other out and coach each other. They are very high character individuals but they are extremely competitive and I think that has really elevated our game for all four because of that environment." [I will decide] whenever I feel somebody has really asserted themselves as starting quarterback. That could be next week, that could be Thursday, that could be Friday prior to Austin Peay. When we have that comfort level and we can say `hey this is going to be the guy for game one starting the season."

(On JaRon Toney and special teams)
"We have asked a lot of JaRon Toney. He is playing the nickel spot for us, we have asked him to move back to corner as well, and also he is starting on special teams. He is on every special team for us. We have really asked a lot of him and he is really responding. Moving forward with all of these true freshmen playing is the development of our special teams. You win championships with championship special teams. Some individuals are going to have some roles that are very critical roles in winning and those roles are going to occur on special teams. We have done an inordinate amount on special teams. Most of you are at our practices. We start every practice with a live kickoff vs. kickoff return drill. It is one kick. I believe that adds up over time. Them understanding the expectations on which we place on special teams."

(On Riyahd Jones)
"Still undergoing further examination with his calves. Right now I would say it is fair to say that he is going to be out for a length of time. It is not going to be a one-week, two-week, three-week thing, it could be a couple of months. We are still undergoing tests and quite simply he showed up one day and his calves were swollen and some other things so he is undergoing further evaluation and our training staff is doing a great job and he is doing as much as possible but right now I could see it being unless something unforeseen changes in the next couple of days, it is going to be for a rather long length of time."

(On Jacques Smith and Corey Vereen)
"He is going to go back to the doctor very soon and get the pins taken out of his thumb and then he will go to a cast but he is right on schedule so we will probably know more the week of Austin Peay. Corey Vereen is ahead of schedule and that is no surprise to us because o fhis work ethic and we will know a little bit more about him that week of Austin Peay as well."





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