Butch Jones drew a day one slot at SEC Media Days this year, speaking in Hoover Alabama. Jones joined Bret Bielema and Ed Orgeron during the Monday afternoon session.
Here’s a quick rundown of the points and quotes that Butch hit.
- “One of three teams in the SEC to win nine games in a row, but we want more.”
- Butch notes that the backhalf of the defense will be “the most competitive unit” on the team.
- “We have to be careful not to put too much pressure on [Trey Smith]. He’s added toughness to that room.”
- “At running back, it’s not about John Kelly — it’s about the depth. We have some true freshmen that have to step up and play.”
- “We have to replace some very very good football players. We had six players drafted in the first four rounds, which hasn’t been done in 15 years at Tennessee.”
- On the quarterbacks: “You’re replacing an individual that really leaves a legacy at Tennessee in Joshua Dobbs... I’m really excited about our quarterbacks.” He mentioned Guarantano’s excitement and demeanor and how it differed from Dormady.
- “We will not name a starting quarterback until the time is right.”
- “You can never have enough depth.” Jones talked about last season and how young players needed to be ready to play at any moment.
- Talking more on the quarterbacks: “If both players earn the right to play, we’ll play both players — it’s a good problem to have.”
- Jones on Kongbo: “He’s had as good of an offseason as anybody.”
- Jones on Darrell Taylor: “He doesn’t even look like the same player right now.” Butch expects Taylor, Phillips and Kongo to step up this year.
- “I don’t view (last season) as a disappointment. We didn’t accomplish some of the things we set out to do.”
- “We knew this wouldn’t be a quick fix. We wanted to build a foundation.”
- On Phillip Fulmer: “He’s been a mentor to me, a soundboard to me. You have a great resource right here.” Says that he’s invited Fulmer to practices and told him that it’s “his program.”
- Jones on Shy Tuttle: “He ran last week and is expected to participate in fall camp.” Jones mentioned that he will be limited, however.
- “Kyle Phillips is back to full health.”
So more of the same from Butch. Lots of stats, lots of comments on building the roster. He stuck to his talking points for the most part. We didn’t have any new phrases from Butch, which was a relief.
He’s going to get criticized for his comment about the 2016 season, however. He had a chance to own last year and say it was a disappointment, but he chose a different route.
Butch Jones on the 2016 season: “Was it a disappointment? No. Did we not accomplish some of the things we set out to do? Absolutely.”— Joe Rexrode (@joerexrode) July 10, 2017
Some people would call not reaching goals disappointment, but not Butch Jones. That’s my one critique of his time at the podium.