KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said the budding rivalry between his team and Tennessee in football hasn’t created tension among the coaching staffs, despite what many fans believe.
“There’s respect toward their staff. There’s respect toward their team, the history and traditions,” Franklin said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday.
As for the perception of a chilliness between Franklin and Tennessee coach Butch Jones?
“I like Butch. I know Butch,” Franklin said. “I know the fans on both teams get all worked up and think there’s hate, but there really isn’t.”
Jones said much the same on Monday. Jones and Franklin met, and seemingly got along well, when Vanderbilt played the Jones-coached Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2010 Liberty Bowl.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach Franklin and what he has done at Vanderbilt,” Jones said.