Butch Jones: 'As soon as he tweeted it, I called him'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday October 01, 2013
Butch Jones wants to keep things positive. A win is a win, after all, and some players are following his lead.
The Vols led South Alabama 31-7 in the third quarter on Saturday, but had to hold on with a late red zone stop for a 31-24 win.
That has caused some external negative reactions from fans, but Jones wanted to stick with the positive at his weekly press conference.
“I think in the world that we live in today everyone wants to focus on negativity, but let's focus on the positives, I call it `Positive Monday,'” he said. “First of all Rajion Neal had the most yards rushing by a running back at Tennessee since 2009, he had 169 yards. This football team, Team 117 has had three 200-plus-yard rushing games. We had three combined from the span 2010-2012. We currently lead the SEC and we are eighth in the country in fewest penalties, a little over three penalties per game. We lead the SEC and we are fourth in the country in fewest penalty yardage.
“We are tied for number one in the country for interceptions with 11. We lead the SEC and we are third in the country with 15 forced turnovers. We lead the SEC and we are tenth in the country with points off of turnovers. Our first two touchdowns on this past week’s game were scored by two true freshman, both making their first career touchdown receptions. Right now we have played a total of 14 true freshman and 22 freshman overall.
"As we continue to progress, the evolution of this football team is understanding what it is to compete for 60 minutes. It is a 60-minute game. I spoke to our team about this, there is a different between playing the game and competing. We are searching for competitive greatness. High achievement takes place in the framework of high expectations. We have extremely high expectations for every member within our football family and our football program, from the coaches to the players to the support staff.”
One player who didn’t appreciate the negativity was offensive lineman Antonio Richardson. After the game, Richardson tweeted, "Hey O line y'all rushed for 300 yds but y'all suck' lol. It's great to be a vol man."
The tweet has since been deleted, but Jones was asked about it. The coach already knew about the tweet and had spoken with Richardson. Coaches and program monitor social media at most programs, but Jones understood Richardson's frustration.
"I guess it gets back to you trying to find the competitive edge,” Jones said. “These are kids that are very competitive. They sit and they watch other games and we challenged our offensive line that we needed to run the football and I think it's more running it at a more consistent basis, but they're also very prideful and I think it was more he was very proud of what they accomplished.
“I already gave you the stat with the three 200-plus-yard run games and they're very prideful and I know he didn't mean anything by it. I think a lot of times we read into things and we're searching for stories and again these are still kids. These are still young adults, they're emotional and he meant no harm by it.
“I watch every twitter, they know me. As soon as he tweeted it, I called him and he just goes `Coach, I'm just proud of my teammates'. And so that's just part of building this program and teaching these players all the different nuances that go outside of football. That's the role of coaches, it's not just coaching football it's mentoring but I love Tiny and he loves this football program."