KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones is a busy man, but apparently Tennessee’s head coach has enough time to document disagreements with reporters.
During Monday’s usual press conference, Jones discussed Tennessee’s “sloppy” win over Ohio. He was forthcoming with the Volunteers litany of injury issues and he confidently addressed multiple questions about Tennessee’s historic losing streak to Florida.
All was fine until a simple offensive line question sent Tennessee’s fourth-year head coach off on an odd tangent. Jones never got red, mad or even raised his voice, but he made it clear he’s keeping score with the media during a lengthy soliloquy.
“Each week, there’s something that is the major issue. It’s a catastrophe,” Jones said, noting he “keeps a journal.”
“It’s blown out of proportion. I’m charting week-to-week what we blow up in the media. The main issues. At the end of the year, I’m going to go back and relive those. We spend so much time creating things that aren’t really there. We make them real when they’re not real.”
Jones didn’t address specifics or even say if he was kidding.
“Don’t be me wrong, there’s a lot of things that are real that we need to get corrected. But sometimes, you can overdo it and all of a sudden, you create more than what’s there. We have to make some corrections. We have to get better. We all understand it. But I also see progress.”
Tennessee is undefeated, but a pair of uninspiring wins sandwiched around the blowout in the “Battle at Bristol” have raised some serious red flags around the team. The offensive line has struggled, Josh Dobbs hasn’t progressed in the passing game and Bob Shoop’s defense hasn’t been quite as dominant as expected.
Still, the Volunteers are on a 9-game winning streak and 3-0 for the first time since 2004. While Jones understands some skepticism about his team, he sees early season positives, too, saying, “When you sit down and you really dive into the video, you say, ‘Those are some really good things.’ We’re doing some things that we didn’t do in training camp. You know, ‘We’re doing this well. We’re doing that well.’ And I think you build off of those positives.
“We live in a week-to-week season, which is college football. We create all these adversities for ourselves. That’s why we have to focus on the task at hand and that’s just becoming better and working to complete against a very, very good football team. No more. No less. And we’ll be fine.”
Later, Jones did praise the media, saying, “You guys have been really, really good.”