Sorry, I had a lot going on this weekend, and I was not able to get everything up and going. Butch Jones had his debut press conference on Friday, and the weekend had no shortage of news. The only coach from Derek Dooley’s staff that was retained was Running Back’s coach Jay Graham. Jones brought a much of his staff with him from Cincinnati, as well as former Georgia Defensive Coordinator Willie Martinez to be Tennessee’s Secondary coach, and Auburn recruiting whiz Tommy Thigpen. The newest rumor is that one of the greatest Vols of all time will soon join Jones’ staff. The quarterback of the 1998 national champion team: Tee Martin. One thing is for sure. More than Derek Dooley and certainly more than Lane Kiffin, Butch Jones has embraced Tennessee Tradition as his own.
Last Friday’s introductory press conference, gave us lots of insight on Tennessee’s new head man:
On His Staff:
I’m going to start off and answer some questions but first of all, our coaching staff. I’m up here today, I can assure that we will put together the best football staff in the country. Not just the Southeastern Conference, but the entire country. I have a checklist of what I’m looking for. First of all it starts with character. I want individuals with tremendous character and then I want great teachers. Great teachers in the game of life, great teachers in the game of football. Fundamentalists, motivators. There’s a difference between teaching and presenting. Anybody can present anything. What we want is great teachers, and individuals who have passion to be here at the University of Tennessee.
Ummm….I am pretty sure he wrote that down, but that is amazing. (If you couldn’t tell by now, Coach Jones has a very different style than Dooley)
On Tennessee Tradition:
To our letterwinners, you are the foundation. We will have an open door policy with our practices. You have laid the foundation for us to have much success for many years to come. I’m a firm believer that our letterwinners are the program. They will be welcomed back at any time. I look forward to getting to know everyone. I’ve had about 18 text messages from Charles Davis and I’ll probably get Peyton in trouble, but about four days ago I got a text message from Peyton Manning. He was selling me on Colorado. He said `It’s hard for a person from the University of Tennessee to selling someone to come to the University of Colorado.’ I wanted to text back `Well c’mon, let’s go. I want to go to Tennessee.’ So I look forward to obviously talking with him.
Erik Ainge is already impressed with Coach Jones’ desire to connect with the past. It’s one of our greatest recruiting tools. Which segues nicely into:
You win with players. Let me make no mistake that we are going to win first and foremost with the great state of Tennessee. We have tremendous high school coaches in this state. We are the state institution and we will own our state. We are going to be at every high in the state and our players are going to understand what is to wear the power T, they’re going to understand what it is to represent their home institution. I take great pride in that.
Jones started his UT career on Friday night by visiting one of the top recruits in the state: Nashville’s Corn Elder. Hopefully Jones recruiting message sells. Very premature signs are that they will. Nashville’s Vic Wharton, Jalen Reeves-Maybin of Clarksville, and Riley Ferguson of Matthews North Carolina, all expressed their pleasure with Jones as the new hire.