KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s bye week presented coach Butch Jones with the opportunity to close off access and avoid difficult questions, but that didn’t happen on Tuesday.
Jones, who many believe to be on the proverbial hot seat after a 41-0 loss to Georgia dropped his team to 3-2 this season, met with the media after putting his team through a full equipment practice.
“All our focus is on South Carolina, all of our focus is on this work week,” Jones said, asked about potential distractions as the Vols use the bye week to begin preparing for their next game on Oct. 14 against the Gamecocks in Neyland Stadium. “It doesn’t affect me or the staff at all.”
Jones is aware that the negativity and speculation on social media could affect his team and the recruits, however, and he addressed how he handles that on Tuesday.
“We live in a week to week society, and you build relationships with these young men and their families, they’ve been here a lot on campus, they know what we’re about as coaches, they know what we are about as people and they know our players,” Jones said of the Tennessee’s 2018 recruiting class, which ranks as the best in the SEC.
“They know our program and they know where we’re headed and what we’ve been able to do.”
Jones said the message to the players this week is different, but he pointed out it varies from week to week, anyway.
“Each week is different because of the circumstances, so your message is tailored for that particular week, whether it’s your opponent or a bye week,” Jones said. “All we have is each other, we have to work every single day and we’re responsible for what we create. You have to go to work every day and you have to deserve to victory.
“They understand the things we have to get much better on, the turnover margin, the physicality, the tackling, all the things that go into winning football.”
Jones closed by saying he and his staff are taking the added scrutiny in stride.
“All our focus is not on our feelings, our focus is on our team, our football program and our players and our recruiting,” Jones said. “Alll you do is continue to work every single day and we’ll be fine.”
Tennessee coach Butch Jones following Tuesday practice
Tennessee’s Butch Jones on how Vols bouncing back after Georgia loss
Posted by Tennessee Volunteers Insiders on Tuesday, October 3, 2017
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