Tennessee Volunteers Press Conference Cliff's Notes: Alabama is Good

Joe Robbins

Your summary of Butch Jones' Monday press conference, in which (spoiler alert:) he says several times that Alabama has no weaknesses.

How does Butch Jones sound two days after what is probably the biggest win of his career to date? He didn't sound satisfied. And that should be comforting to Vols fans. If you want the live blog in the comments, go here. If you want the summary, keep reading.

  • Jones started by talking about how as great as the win was, it was far from Tennessee's best football, and the Vols need to play better. He even singled out the special teams--who had a great game--for allowing a big return (even though it was overturned by a penalty). [Editor: Complacency is always a worry after a big win, and Butch Jones sounds as far from it as he can get. He had a laundry list of things to improve upon, and he spent a lot more time talking about what needs to get better than what was good, a notable departure to some previous press conferences where he focuses on the good after an uneven performance. Jones seems to know people.]
  • What will be tested against Alabama? Everything. What are they good at? Everything. What are their running backs good at? Everything. What is their quarterback good at? Everything. What is Amari Cooper good at? Everything. What are their weaknesses? Nothing. [Ed.: Jones actually listed these things one-by-one, and you can look at them one-by-one in the live thread if you like, but I think he covered pretty much every relevant skill for every position group]. Alabama right now has the type of program that Tennessee is building.
  • Worley's hand is fine. He's getting better as a player, and he's also looking better because the guys around him, especially the wide receivers, are getting better. [Ed.: This seems like a slow morning for our community, so I'll take this opportunity to point out that Justin Worley has now done something that Tyler Bray could never do.]
  • We make starting decisions based on practice, health, and discipline. That's why Crowder started over Bullard, and we'll see in practice who's prepared best for Alabama. This also applies to Josh Smith, who is expected back, and Devrin Young. And Young's off-side returner needs to keep him in the end zone when he's too deep. Also, on the injury subject, Rajion Neal is fine. Not limited at all.
  • How the team will handle success is a big question. When you win big games, the other games get more important, and you start playing important games in late October and November. But the team seems to be responding well, and they have evidence right now instead of blind faith in what we're doing.
  • Why is the past defense getting better? It's everything. The secondary is playing a little better in coverage, the linebackers are staying with the running backs a little better, and the defensive line is playing a little better. Jacques Smith, Daniel McCullers, and Marlon Walls were singled out as excellent performers this week. Jones said McCullers played his best game of the season.
  • Jones considered spiking the ball with 11 seconds because of the Dooley Rule, but the team prides itself on discipline, and he would rather rely on discipline than have to defend a kickoff.
  • Tennessee makes conditioning a factor, both mental and physical. Jones credits the S&C coaching for his 43-2 record when leading at halftime.
  • How did Jones repair Michael Palardy's confidence? By building a relationship with him, by giving him pressure situations in practice so he knew he could do it in the game. And he's responded well in all three areas of kicking. He's helped the defense tremendously by pinning the opponents deep in their own territory.
  • How important is the Third Saturday in October? It's a great rivalry, but the next game is always the most important [Ed.: Coach answer drink!]

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