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Jones' Week 2 Press Conference

Sep 2, 2013

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Butch Jones reviews the Vols' season-opening win over Austin Peay and previews Saturday's game with WKU in his Monday press conference.

(Opening Statement)
"Good afternoon, thanks for coming out on this holiday weekend but just some closure on the Austin Peay game, and then moving forward. First of all 800th program win, I don't think that should ever be undervalued. That's something that's very, very special in the world of college football as part of our tradition and now there's only eight total teams throughout college football that can speak in those terms relative to winning 800 plus games now in a program. And again, I want to thank all the former players, coaches and everyone that has really laid the foundation and the hard work for this football program.

"You know looking at it, going into the Austin Peay game we wanted to have a very clean game. For the most part I thought it was a clean game but nobody at all in our football program should be satisfied with their performance. We have a long ways to go. We have a lot of work to do. As we continue to move forward, I said after game one I'd have a little better idea of where we're at as a football team and I do know where we need to move on and where we need to improve and I think it gets back to all of our players being accountable and understanding what it really takes to play winning football and the commitment level required to play winning football and we talk about power position and every position group playing winning football. Its individuals and then it becomes a collective effort.

"You know, going from week one to week two to me this is the biggest week in the growth and development of football teams. And the greatest growth and development occur from week one to week two and so obviously this week of preparation is absolutely critical. First of all, concerning ourselves, is great improvement in our fundamentals, the small details, owning our technique, owning our conditioning and you know we put our football identity on video. You know now every team is studying us. They're seeing which players they're going to attack. They're looking at their technique, they're looking at their eye discipline, they're looking at their fundamentals. You know so now that's when you're really going to see game forms or the game plans really be formed and shaped to our personnel and our players will understand that.

"Moving forward with Western Kentucky, extremely, extremely talented football team. Knew that in the summer and everything has been confirmed by video evidence. A lot of NFL prospects and a lot of confidence. They're an extremely confident football team and rightfully so. Andrew [Jackson] is as good of a linebacker as I've seen in a long, long time. He can impact the football game. He can change the course of a football game and I think they feed off his energy. Jonathan Dowling, free safety, another NFL football player. These players understand what it is to compete in these venues. They have a great running back. I think their quarterback has really managed their offense.

"Last year they led their conference in total defense and again they're going to present lot of challenges for us. Very, very sound in the special teams game. They remind me a lot of our football team we had in 2009 at Central Michigan that finished in the top 25, went on to win on the road. Beat a Michigan State football team. They have NFL personnel, they have swagger, they have confidence and they believe they can play with anyone and everyone in the country and I think that's been evidence by their body of work over a period of time.

"I'd like to thank our crowd for coming out, 4th largest crowd in the country this past Saturday night. I want to especially thank our student body, they were outstanding and we're going to need everyone now. Your time clocks change. It's a noon game and it becomes a little bit different and we need everyone there to help us win and impact this football team and so I want to say thank you to our student body and we need you. We need you again and we need our fans and I want to thank them for the great experience but it's time to move on and we're playing a very talented football team Saturday afternoon."

(On the secondary)
"The thing that I wasn't particularly fond of or we need to make great strides is our eye discipline. We had way too many what we call eye violations. You know peaking in the backfield, you know reading the eyes of the quarterback instead of - see a little, see a lot. You know the one wheel route they hit up the side our corner was peaking in the backfield and got run by so that was a mental error there but just the overall eye discipline, being much more physical in our re-route of wide receivers. We've got a long way to go and our back end especially from the small details. It gets back to what we talk about playing sound football and truly understanding the fundamentals and small details that it takes. Everything from the back end of a defense is about eye discipline and especially in our younger players. They're all relatively young but our younger players, you could see the lack of discipline at times with their eyes so that obviously is always a point of emphasis but we emphasize even that much more moving forward this week."

(On Bobby Petrino)
"I have coached against him twice when we're at West Virginia. We had two great games in '05 and '06. I want to say the one in Morgantown, I believe a three overtime victory for us and then we had to go play at Louisville and they came up. You know he does a great job obviously of preparing his football team. They're well coached, they're very dynamic on offense. They're going to challenge you defensively just because of the different personnel groupings they use. They always do a great job with they're tight ends. They mix their formations up with different tempos they present to you breaking the huddle, no huddle, all the different things that really keep a defense on the edge, their different cadences. So we're going to have to be extremely disciplined and they do a great job creating matchups backs on linebackers, receivers on linebackers so they do a great job and now that's why like I said you know our Identity is on film, on video from the first game and now you're going to see more matchups that teams try to create against us."

(On Western Kentucky's victory over Kentucky)
"Well we have great respect for Western Kentucky and I think our players understand they're extremely talented and they're going to be a great challenge for us and you know we're out there with our football team you respect every opponent but all you have to do again, all you have to do is watch a couple clips and they have your attention. They have SEC talent, and you know they've gone on the road and played Alabama when they were no. 1, they've gone on the road and played LSU when they were no. 1. They understand the different venues. They're extremely competitive, they're a competitive football team. You can see it in the way they play the game. They have a great competitive spirit, great competitive character so it's going to be a great challenge."

(On how much of the offensive playbook was used Saturday)
"Well you know, we showed the base and some other things but we'll continue to progress as the season goes on in terms of offensively in different formation, in different sets and different things. You know each game plan is modeled towards the opponent and what you see in the front, the coverages and different things. So you know as each week progresses you'll see a little bit of a different flavor just because of the different style of opponents we'll be facing."

(On newcomers response to first game)
"Yea I see confidence. I said it after the game I thought we benefited from that open practice, you know I really do. We had 23 individuals make their Tennessee debut Saturday night and I think having that experience in front of fans prior to that really helped but you could also see the lack of discipline at times come through in the first year players and lack of experience you get back to the eye discipline and keeping them in the backfield and all the things that first year players and the mistakes they make but the great thing is all the mistakes we made Saturday night are correctable. We still effort wise, still not up to our standard of expectation you know we have to do a much better job of pursuing to the football and swarming to the football. Same thing offensively, I didn't think we finished. I didn't think we finished in the offensive line. You know we didn't finish blocks, we didn't finish blocking at the second level and now when you go play an individual like Andrew [Jackson], they're entire linebacking corps is extremely talented. They do a great job of getting off blocks, you know they have disruptive quickness up front so we have to learn to do a better job of finishing and that's usually the case you know in game one and I think the big thing for our football team when we get back and review the film today is nobody should be satisfied in their performance. You know we talk about pride in your performance and there's a lot of work to do. A lot of ground to be made but I will tell you this, our kids - I said it - they hang on every word you say now they're learning how to win, and they want to win now it's just a process."

(On if he was disappointed with how the second team performed)
"No I think if you look at it we still won the half 3-0 didn't we. You know that's the way I look at it. Shut outs are hard to come by in college football, they're extremely challenging and it doesn't happen very often but also that's where we're at in the program. You know I said it in training, we lack overall depth and that's an issue but you know games like that really help because we have a teaching tool, now I really know where we're at, now I know really where we need to go forward and we can coach, critique and correct all these individuals who put their game on video but you know they only way you solve that is by recruiting and developing your current players and I think you know how we're going to recruit here and that's how you develop a program."

(On if he saw some 2nd team guys he thought could help)
"Well you know I think (Trevarris) Saulsberry did a great job up front and I talked to him this morning and we see some explosiveness out of him and I think it's all in how he perceives himself. He can help us. He can help us win football games here. We're going to need a lot more from him. Greg Clark's another individual, you know I liked his body language at the end of the game. I wanted to see when those twos or threes are in the game, I wanted to see their competitive spirit, you know I wanted to see their competitive character you know it doesn't matter what the score is you're getting the opportunity to put your identity on video. You know to prove that `hey we can win with you' and they do it every day in practice and even the individuals who are on scout team we evaluate every rep on scout team. So again we just have to continue to progress and get better each and every day. That's the only way to do it, you come to work each and every day, you give everything you have, you go home and you get ready for the next day."

(On if he tried to keep the score from being too one-sided)
"Well I think it was more a tremendous opportunity to play some young players and get them some valuable reps and you can simulate game conditions all you want in practice but nothing beats live game repetition. So I thought it was a great opportunity to give some individuals an opportunity to prove themselves so what they could do in game live situations so I think that's going to be invaluable for us as we continue to move forward."

(On scripted plays)
"Well we do script plays you know but everything we do is about a rhythm and a flow to the game and I think sometimes when you script too many you never come back to what you're doing successfully so we script - every down and distance is scripted, every field position is scripted, you know the first plays of the game are scripted all of our openers are scripted but then once they game really starts after the first series or two you really get into a rhythm. You know a lot of the time you may throw different personnel groupings out there to so you can write it down to see how they're going to defend different personnel groupings and formations and then it kind of becomes a chess match."

(On Marcus Jackson not playing against Austin Peay)
"Well I think that was an opportunity to get some other players some valuable reps and we will continue to address Marcus' situation as we continue to move forward. It is nothing that he has done, he has had a great training camp, but I think it was an opportunity for other individuals, to see what they can do. We know what we have with Marcus and he is a very talented football player but I said it. My concern with this football team, especially the offensive line is our overall depth in number 6, number 7, and number 8. Saturday night was a great opportunity to do that."

(On some of the second team offensive line not dressing)
"Yeah it did. We had some individuals who were banged up. Dylan Wiesman wasn't quite ready to do yet. It was a great evaluation tool from where we are at currently and what we need to do in recruiting as well."

(On the passing game)
"It was a combination of both. When there is an incomplete pass, a lot of times everyone wants to point towards the quarterback. Obviously, Justin would have like to have those back, they were thrown behind the receiver. Everything is about rhythm, timing and spacing. It was actually a young receiver not running the correct route. That is what threw the timing and rhythm off. We talk so much about being consistent in the throw game and in everything that you do with the precision. Everything is timing and rhythm and spacing, the appropriate landmarks, reception areas, and depths of the routes. On a couple of those the receivers ran the wrong depths."

(On Justin Worley's performance Saturday)
"I thought he played winning football for us. I thought he was in command of the offense, I thought he managed it well. I thought there was a couple of times when he was challenged with the decision making process, when he had to make a quick game time decision. One time when we had an unblocked defender and he had to beat the free heat and he knew exactly when Devrin Young was supposed to be and he did a great job. I thought he managed the offense particularly well. There was a couple deep balls that we would like to have back and we would like to complete those. The overall big play makeup of our football team, we have to have big splash football plays. In the world of college football you can't play perfect. When the play is blocked for four yards we can't get four years we need to get six, we need to get seven yards. We have to have the ability to throw a three-step slant or a five-yard hitch and turn a five-yard gain into a 30-yard gain. Our running backs have to do a good job of making the second, third level defenders miss. You look at successful offenses, they have the ability to score on any area of the field and that is where we need to grow and continue to get better."

(On pass rushing)
"There is so much that goes into being a great pass rusher. The first thing is your feet and your hands, being violent, being explosive with your hands. The best pass rushers have great hands, great hips and great feet. There is a point of working the edges of the defender. If you think about it you really have about 1.9 to 2.7 seconds to run an 11-yard arc too affect and impact the quarterback. Everything has to be thought out, everything has to be habitual. It is all about habits and making quick decisions and understanding your points on a quarterback. There is so much thinking that goes into it and game planning and understanding when the tackle is heavy on his pass set. Understanding is his tired? Having a great counter off your a move. Steve Stripling is best in the business, it is a process. It is learning to do things fast. A lot of times, especially with younger players, the mind ties the feet up. It is just doing it over and over. But there is a lot that goes into impacting the quarterback. If you really break down sacks, we look at wins, but there is also what we call opportunity sacks. Very rarely do you just flat out beat your man. There is team sacks, what do we mean by that, it means the defensive end doing his job, forcing the quarterback to push the pocket, it is the nose guard getting a great inside, internal push upfront and because the quarterback is pushed the back side ends spins into it and gets a sack. That is an opportunity sack because everyone else is doing their job. We talk about that everyday. Those are the elements of being a great pass rushing defense and being a great pass rushing football team."

(On the development of past defensive ends)
"You look at Dan Giordano who is now with the Arizona Cardinals who unfortunately got hurt and is on their injured reserve. Walter Stewart, who is now on our coaching staff. He developed into a great pass rusher. Frank Zombo who is with the Kansas City Chiefs. Coach Stripling coached Lamarr Woodley. Coach Stripling has a Domata Peko from the Bengals. Derek Wolfe is a great illustration of how far he has come from when we got there to where he is at right now. He would be a great resource for you to talk to. We have had a lot of great individuals but it takes time, commitment on their part too and a mental toughness. That mental conditioning that we talk about. You never know which play is going to be the difference in getting a sack. The mentality when it becomes one minute defense. That is time to get paid. There is no mystery. You know they are throwing the football. Rev it up and go. There is so much that goes into that."

(On Mo Couch, Dan Hood, and Dan McCullers)
"It is critical. We will go as well as they go. They were disruptive in the middle. They made some good plays. I think Mo Couch has to continue to progress with his conditioning levels and be able to give us valuable reps. We have some older players in that group that have played a lot of football and we expect a lot from them and demand a lot from them as well."

(On Jacques Smith)
"One of our awards we give is the Juiceman Award and it is the individual that displays the most juice on the sidelines. I like energy. He was into it all game long. He was into it at the hotel. Obviously it was hurting him not being on the field. But it will be a decision that we will make throughout this week at practice along with Curt Maggitt. Right now, it was a relatively clean game in terms of health. We will know more on Curt's status and Jacques' status as the week progresses. There are no depth chart changes as of this time."

(On the young cornerbacks)
"Valuable experience, but they will be challenged. You could see the eye violations accumulate over time. I think they were a little bit anxious. There were times that they jumped routes, they were anxious. I saw what I have seen all camp. I saw a competitiveness to them, I saw poise about themselves and I saw confidence about themselves. They are going to continue to be a work in progress. They are freshmen. They are going to get challenged Saturday afternoon. They know that and we understand that and that is why that progression from game one to game two they are going to have to mature and grow up in a hurry."

(On the team's conditioning)
"I was pleased. But as we continue to move forward, we didn't play a full game. That is one of the points of emphasis that we will be making this week. We had some individuals that only played 33-34 snaps. Usually it is 70-80 a game. That is an area of concern that we will demand a lot from them this week in practice. We always talk about owning your technique but also owning your conditioning. We will do some different things to really make sure that they are in condition. They have had a great camp. We pushed them, we have a great strength and conditioning staff so we are in shape, but it is more the mindset. That is the big thing, the mental stamina. Not telling yourself you are tired. That is where that mental toughness comes in and the ability to sustain. We always talk about straining and sustaining. I wasn't pleased with our overall sustain. We have to become a team that has to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That is part of those conditioning factors and part of playing winning football. The teams that win football games, they are mentally tough, they are mentally strong. We always talk to our players in terms of controlling your self-talk. Self-talk is everything. You speak about 600-800 words a minute in your mind. You have to control your self-talk. Those are all things, when we talk about playing winning football, you probably get sick and tired of hearing me say that, but there is so much that goes into it. Championship teams do that."

(On making big splash plays)
"We threw it about four times deep. We have some individuals that are capable of making big splash football plays. There are a couple times where we have the perfect play call and we have an M.A. That is supposed to be a deep football. It is a young receiver making a young individual's mistake. We can't have those mistakes. The more you win, the more is at stake, the more this season progresses, the caliber of competition increases. Saturday is going to be a great test to where we are at as a football team and how far we have matured and developed from game one to game two. Like I told you they are extremely talented."

(On the tempo of the game)
"The tempos change up based on the situation. I thought we played slow. We have to do a better job of getting lined up fast and playing faster and the ability to strain and sustain when you play fast. A lot of times when you play fast your technique suffers. The ability to sustain suffers. We don't want to be that. When we played great offensive football in this offensive scheme we were able to play at a very high tempo and never relinquish the ability to play physical and fundamentally sound with the small details. That is part of that mental conditioning. That is part of that development process that we are working now through as an offensive unit.

(On the receivers)
"I think there were a couple times where our receivers were digesting it but I thought for the most part they did a good job. When I talked about a clean game too, when you play in that type of game it challenges you with special teams substitutions. It challenges you with having the right people on the field and I thought our game day management for the most part our coaches and players did a great job with that. The everflow of the game is constantly changing with substitutions and injuries and all that. We are going to have to play a four quarter football game this week. It is going to be right down to the wire. That has to be our mindset with everything that we do."

(On stepping up to the challenge and a few great players making a team better)
"It is extremely challenging. You get the benefit of a couple transfers and one, two, three players can change the whole football team. Not just from a physical standpoint but from a mental standpoint. From an expectation standpoint, from a leadership standpoint. All it really takes is one or two individuals that have that high standard of expectation and they bring others around them. The mark of great football players is they elevate the play of others around them. You look at all the great players, the Michael Jordans and all of the role players during the Bulls runs. You look at LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. That is something that Erik Spoelstra had talked about. Is the great players, make others around them that much better. From the standard, their work habits, their expectations, the competitive drive to win.

"That is something we have to continue to recruit here. Individuals with great competitive character. We want individuals that hate to lose more than they love to win. That if you give them a challenge and it is racing to the drinking fountain, they will race you there. That is why everything we do is based on competitiveness. That is why that question of getting back in the second half of last week's game, I wanted to see what individuals could run on their own gas. What individuals had that competitive character to be the best. `Hey I am out there on the football field? I want to be the best player on the football field.' We talk about terms in blinking lights and that mental mindset is now, are you the guy that when they are game planning they think that they have to double team you and stay away from you. Or are they guy when they are sitting there with the clicker they are talking about exposing and game planning and taking advantage of him. There are great coaches around this conference and throughout this country. They sit in a dark room and they watch video and they study technique and everything is a match up. My guy. On your guy. That is what it comes down to and why we say good players make good coaches. It is up to the coaches, good coaching is putting your players in position to succeed in their one-on-one match ups. Football is a game of one-on-one match ups. It is me vs. you."

(On the running backs)
"I thought we left a lot of yards out there. I thought Rajion Neal's first touchdown he did a great job in terms of keeping his shoulders square, hitting the jump cut and finishing the run. It was one of the best runs he has had. Jason Croom did a great job of blocking at the receiver position and he had to keep blocking. Usually when you have big runs, your receivers are blocking downfield. I thought there were too many times that we bounced things to the sidelines. And I think the other things is a four-yard run is good. A lot of times I think we were bouncing plays looking for the big play and instead we should be looking for four yards first and then looking to make somebody miss. There was too much spinning and too much lateral. I want to be a football team that hits it vertically, has the ability to make someone miss and then hit it and go north and south, run behind your pads.

 

 

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