Butch Jones Delivers Message To SEC
By Dan Harralson
He already is half bear and half cat. you cannot spell Butch without UT. He seems to be a perfect fit for Tennessee
Butch Jones is ready to build the Vols back to national prominence, "brick by brick," at Tennessee.
Jones took the stand at SEC media days, delivering his message to the entire conference, a message that he has been delivering to his team since being hired.
"Brick by brick" is Jones' current mantra, which he hopes to use to help restore the storied program back to national relevance.
"We talked about building a championship culture, working to get Tennessee football back to its rightful place, back among the elite of college football," Jones told reporters at SEC media days.
"We talked about doing that brick by brick. That's not a fancy slogan. We really meant that, as every brick is symbolic of every individual in our football family and our football organization," Jones said.
Bringing back many Vols for Life (VFL's), was top priority for Jones when he took the job in Knoxville.
Lane Kiffin steered away from Tennessee's past and Derek Dooley did not win enough to help bring back past lettermen.
Not only has Jones focused on reuniting the fan base and former players. He's helped reunite the program with Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer. Both have been to practices at the same time since Jones' hire and both are contributing to the need of bringing Tennessee football back to where it once was.
"I tell you what, Coach Fulmer and Coach Majors have been a tremendous resource. Coach Dickey as well," Jones said. "They're Tennessee football. The more I can speak with them, the more they can come around, the better."
First thing first, Jones has to win games and restore the ability to compete and defeat rivals. The Vols have lost eight straight games to Florida and have lost six consecutive games to Alabama.
"In order for us to make those rivalry games competitive again, we have to get back to being relevant and winning those football games," Jones told reporters.
Jones has won the offseason with a current second-ranked recruiting class (24/7 Sports rankings), stealing quarterback sensation Josh Dobbs away from Arizona State in February and making Tennessee football players go through tough offseason workouts.
"Our football team has lost over 260 pounds of fat and regained about 230 pounds of muscle mass," Jones said of his offseason workouts.
Jacques Smith was in attendance at SEC media days and he sported his orange blazer pridefully.
"There's a reason why I'm wearing the orange jacket: We are Tennessee," the senior defensive lineman said.
Offensive lineman, Antonio "Tiny" Richardson also was in attendance at SEC media days and was asked about the differences between Dooley and Jones.
"They're different, but we didn't do what we had to do (under Dooley)," Richardson said.
The Vols will open fall camp Aug. 1 and will look for a quarterback to lead the resurgence, but Jones does not seem too worried about finding one.
"With our situation, with Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman, and true freshman, we have to continue to develop those people. Our quarterback position is no different than any other position on our football team," Jones said. "We're going to put the best people in those positions that give Tennessee the best opportunity to win on game day.
"I like the progress that Justin has made and Nathan has made. I'm excited to see what the two freshman (Dobbs and Riley Ferguson) bring to the table when we start camp Aug. 1," Jones said.