Tennessee Vols Coach Butch Jones was a little on edge after yesterday’s practice. Coach Jones addressed the media alone as he was not impressed with his team’s performance.
Coach Jones has set a standard at The University of Tennessee. He has set a standard in all areas; academics, behavior, leadership, practice and game performance. He expects these standards to be upheld, and will not accept anything less.
As written yesterday, the quarterback’s are not as accurate as they need to be. Josh Dobbs in particular was having a tough day. He was over-throwing receivers left and right, and it was not just the long ball. He was throwing high on slants and seam routes frequently.
Jones singled out Freshman star Josh Malone as well for not having his best day of practice. Malone was showing signs of fatigue, and was not hustling as the coaching staff would like. Malone is just one of the new faces that will be pushing themselves to the limits in this camp. Welcome to the SEC.
Many of these guys were the star on their high school football team last year at this time. There is a world of difference between playing at Station Camp and playing at Tennessee. The standards are set, and Jones will not compromise. No one is upset with Malone as he will be highly counted on this year as a starter, they are just trying to push him so he will be ready.
Tennessee is trying to run an up tempo offense. In order to do this effectively, the players have to win their one on one battles during the play, and get right back to the line of scrimmage as fast as possible to get into the next play. Needless to say you have to have to be in shape. That takes effort.
Jones is very happy with where they are as a team with their physical fitness. He says last year the team struggled to get through these practices, but this year they have been prepared much better with a strong offseason training program.
Coach Jones knows he has a young team. He knows his team knows that as well. He doesn’t want that to become and excuse. “Our opponents don’t care that we’re young”, he said. “They won’t feel sorry for us”. He alluded that these players have a great opportunity to play at Tennessee no matter what their age may be.
If you want a bright spot from practices so far, the overall team speed has been upgraded tremendously. It is still not where it needs to be, or will be, but it is a whole lot better. You will see this on special teams the most. The young players are fast, but because they have to “think” about their assignments right now while learning their position, they don’t play as fast as they will be able to when it is simply “playing” football for them.
This team is going to do things the right way. This is a group of not only good athletes, but good people. Jones has set the standard, and these young guys will live up to that standard. Rest assured they will.