KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — WNML is broadcasting from Neyland Stadium on Wednesday as UT hosts its “Meet Your Seats” event. Tennessee football coach Butch Jones made an appearance on the Doc, Jeff and Heather Show in the morning. Listen to the full interview here. Some highlights are transcribed below.
On linebacker Chris Weatherd: “He’s going to have a lot of catching up to do. We have to get him in shape, both mentally and physically. But you know, he is one of those individuals who can run, who has the explosiveness that we need out of our linebacking corps. Again, it should be another piece in the overall depth.”
On team’s strength and conditioning: “If we were sitting right at this table doing this show a year ago, we had zero players — and we were a veteran group — who could squat over 600 pounds. After last night we are up to 11. We were nine. Now we’re 11. We’re making great strides in our football program. They’ve had a great offseason.”
On team’s youth: “When you look at the time demands of an individual, from eight hours of study hall a week, a full 15 credit hour workload academically. You have practice that’s three and a half to four hours, rehabilitation, rest, recovery, nutrition. All that goes through a young person’s mind. Going through it the first time, it becomes overwhelming. What are we going to do to kind of ease the burdens? The great thing is 14 out of the 32 did it in spring football. It’s definitely going to be a mentorship this season.”
On A.J. Johnson, Curt Maggitt and Mack Crowder attending SEC Football Media Days: “All three of them, it was their first SEC media day. It was a little bit of a wakeup call that everyone around the country knows anything and everything about them and Tennessee football. I had them stand up in the team meeting and give them a report on what they learned throughout that day at media day.”
On his message to UT fans: “We’re embarking on a journey together. We win together. We cry together. We celebrate together. We are one Tennessee. Our fan base is one of the major reasons why we are recruiting as well as we are. Because of their passion. It’s going to be exciting for them because they are going to see the growth and maturation of this team develop throughout the course of the season. Our patience is going to be challenged. But their loyalty will be rewarded. I promise you that. We just need to stay the course together. There’s going to be many great days ahead of us.”
On ways to help UT’s inexperienced offensive line: “Everything, especially in this conference, is about team speed. Last year we completely lacked it. I think that’s evidenced by the amount of big splash or big plays. They were eliminated from our offense. Now they have the ability to throw a quick screen. Look around the country. What’s probably the most used football play? A quick screen. Spit the ball out on the perimeter and go one-on-one. We didn’t have that luxury last year. Now we have a little bit of that luxury. And we have to do a great job changing launch points and trying to eliminate pressure up front as much as we can.”
On the possibility of UT playing a neutral-site game in 2017: “We’re always looking to improve. I can’t tell you one way or the other. But we are still exploring for that year as well.”