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Butch Jones Transcript (8/16/14)
Aug. 16, 2014


(Opening Statement)
"Well, first of all, the challenge of every practice is try to create a game mind-set, a game intensity- just that game energy that we speak about all the time, and be able to come in here tonight and perform in front of our great fans. And first of all, thank you to everyone coming out and creating a game-like atmosphere. We needed this for the overall development of our football team. It will serve as a great evaluation in moving forward, especially the kicking game with our kickers, and a lot of our young players. A lot of these young players didn't experience the spring game. So for them to come in here and have this type of environment was extremely beneficial for us in moving forward."

(On competition still open at some positions)
"Well, we are. We're going to go through training camp and tomorrow's a big day for us with another practice. Everything is about competition, and that's how you get better in a hurry. We still have to recruit our way out of some positions and create some more depth and competition, but of the positions you just spoke about, defensive tackle: somebody needs to step up and take complete control of that position. You know, the other corner. Even the nickel. You know, a couple of safety positions. And we have some younger players coming on right now. Todd Kelly Jr. had his best couple of days of practice that he's had. So we're starting to get some of the younger players now, the game's starting to kinda slow down for them right now. And some youngsters, the game still is way too fast for them, but that's to be expected."

(On different Offensive line combinations)
"Well again, tonight will serve as a great evaluation tool, and then moving forward next week, we'll conclude practice tomorrow, and then on Monday, we'll start working on our starters and guys that we feel will be out there when we take the field against Utah State."

(On Jashon Robertson)
"Well, I'll tell you what. He's been a blessing. And boy, we needed him and he's continued to progress and get better and better each and every day. But he has great `make-up.' We talk about having a recruiting profile, and Jashon Robertson fit that recruiting profile. He's extremely competitive, has great competitive character. He's very, very smart. We talk about `S.T.I' - speed, toughness, and instincts, and he has it all, and he's picked it up. He's really helped us in the offensive front, and he's going to play a lot of football here."

(On being happy with fan energy)
"Absolutely. Well, we want to do some things, and that's going to be a big change, especially for us when we go on the road with the new rule change of piped-in crowd noise. Our players need to learn how to play with that and we learn how to block out the distractions. Half of our team walked in here tonight, and they're like, `boy, this is the largest crowd I've ever played in front of.' So, when they got the energy going on third down, and kinda the new thing we're going to do, that was great to see."

(On whether he likes that drill)
"You know, it's all about creating a home field advantage but also it's making the in-game experience something that you don't want to sit at home and watch. You want to come to the stadium. The great thing here at Tennessee is, we don't need to do that. We've got tremendous fans and 102,455, we're going to need to have everyone turn the decibel level up on a Sunday night when we take on Utah State. But not just Utah State, for the entire length of the season. Our football team needs that. That's part of a home field advantage, feeding off of that energy."

(On how the defense responded in practice)
"Well, we're getting better. You know, we didn't do much live tackling tonight so, it's hard to gauge in terms of missed tackles. But the thing we have to do is when we're in a thud situation or tag off situation, them understanding the fine details of what a thud is and what a tag off is, and we call it practice etiquette. We've struggled with that and usually young teams struggle with that. It's staying up off the ground, practicing like an NFL team does, in NFL team style, but you have to be athletic to stay off the ground. It's bending your knees, putting yourself in a tackling position and some players are ahead of others. We're still a work in progress. But you know, the other thing lost tonight was this was a two-a-day. As you guys know, we were practicing at 9 a.m. this morning and we had an intense practice. So for these individuals to have that type of intensity this morning, and come out here and have these game-like conditions as well, I was proud of our guys."

(On defensive back Michael Williams)
"Well, resiliency. You know, he's an individual who wasn't around much in the spring, and he's a dual sport athlete which we take tremendous pride in here in track and football, working hand and hand together. We know the great tradition that we have here with that. But he has come in and worked exceptionally hard, each and every day. He's been very resilient."

(On quarterback Justin Worley)
"No, I see great confidence right now and he should have great confidence. But more command, more taking ownership of being the quarterback at the University of Tennessee, so I see him making progress each and every day along with the other quarterbacks, with Nate [Peterman] and Josh [Dobbs] as well."

(On his feelings about specialists tonight)
"A level of consistency and we put them in some challenging situations so, kicking 51 yard field goals in a challenge in and of itself. Consistency and they'll continue to get better and better. It was invaluable for them to come in here tonight and kick in front of a great crowd. You can't simulate that in practice so that was big for us and it'll be a great evaluation tool. It's one of those competitions that will go right down to game day."

(On cleaning up penalties)
"Yeah but still, you know, inexcusable. Any time you have pre-snap penalties, or I call them mental penalties, where it's just mentally you make a penalty, it's jumping off sides. We had that tonight. It's illegal procedure, which we had tonight. Our team knows our margin for error is very small. We can't hurt ourselves, we can't be a team that hurts itself, that beats itself. I thought we did some better things tonight but it's not still where we need to be in terms of the overall discipline in terms of penalties."

(On receiver Josh Malone)
"He's a competitor. Again, we're working through some practice habits and Josh has done a great job all of camp. Again, he's a freshman and we put a lot of expectations on him but the great thing is, he has a lot of mentors around him now. That entire receiving group has a lot of confidence right now. As I told you, Zach Azzanni does a great job with them. But it's starting to be a player-led position now and that's great to see. Josh has done a great job with that and he'll continue to get better and better. We're very proud of him."

(On his concerns about the kickers)
"Well, they have great leg strength and again, it's just confidence in going out there and expecting to make the kick. And that comes with maturity but we don't have time for maturity. You know, the clock is ticking right now but they'll be ok and we'll practice that a number of times."

(On defensive lineman Trevarris Saulsberry's injury)
"Well he's been through a lot and he's been nicked and banged up a little bit all camp, so I don't know exactly what it is. I'll find out a little bit more tonight and in the morning but again, he's an individual who has been extremely resilient. He has persevered the entire offseason, so we'll find out a little bit more where he's at tonight and into tomorrow."


 

 

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