Sept. 23, 2013
By Brian Rice
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- Two or three plays can determine the outcome of an entire football game.
It's a mission statement that Butch Jones has referred to often with his team in preparation for Saturdays this fall. In reflecting on the games past and looking forward to the weeks ahead, Jones said taking care of those plays has been and will continue to be critical for the success of his team.
"Everything we talk about in our football program is creating a standard of performance," Jones said. "That standard of performance is in our values, in our beliefs. The score will take care of itself if you take care of the small details. The small details add up to the big details."
And it was the small details that hurt against Florida. Jones laid out specific examples like ball security in a six-turnover performance, and allowing the Gators to covert on 10 of 18 third downs. But it was the management in those crucial, game-changing situations that he saw as having the most room for improvement going forward.
"We didn't manage the critical situations at the critical times," Jones said before repeating his mantra. "A lot of times a game can be shaped by two-three plays. I didn't think we managed those situations particularly well and you never know which two-three plays are going to make the difference."
But standing at 2-2, Jones doesn't want his team to focus on the most recent result, and letting a loss define the season. With the investment the team has shown in the system, there are definite signs of progress, even if the final result has not gone in its favor.
"When you invest more, you put more into it," said Jones of his team's reaction in the postgame locker room. "There's a lot of football left to be played. We live in a week to week world, you're judged on your results one week at a time."
Jones doesn't want his players to focus on that judgment, but to move forward with the goal of arriving at a better final verdict when the season concludes.
"We'll find out a lot more about our football team this week," he said.