Tennessee coach Butch Jones expressed little concern over his players’ recent back-and-forth with SEC East rival Florida over social media in recent weeks. The exchanges involved Vols running back Jalen Hurd and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin responding to a string of tweets sent from Gators defensive back Jalen Tabor’s account.
“These young people, they broadcast their emotions, their feelings and what’s on their mind,” Jones said during an SEC teleconference on Wednesday. “They’ve grown up in this generation. We do educate them. As long as it’s respectful and all that, we place a lot of time on training and representing your personal brand.”
Jones said social media is something that must be coached, but can be used as an advantage.
“I always tell our football team if your game is loud, you don’t need to talk about it,” Jones said. “As long as it’s respectful and all that, we do try to educate them every single day in social media and turning social media into an advantage for you as well.”
Perhaps it’s a positive that other SEC rivals are even taking note of the Vols, who could be selected as the favorite to win the SEC East at SEC media days in July. Many preseason polls have the Vols as a top-15 overall selection in the nation. Tennessee’s players didn’t temper those expectations publicly during interviews in spring practice. However, Jones had a reminder for his team and fans on Tuesday.
“This year’s football team has not done anything,” he said. “They’ve not accomplished anything so to me you have to prove yourself every single day in the weight room, on the practice field and in conditioning. We just have to maintain our focus everyday.”