COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Butch Jones says there’s no time to get emotional over Saturday night’s 45-38 double-overtime loss to Texas A&M, as tough of a loss as it was.
“This team has been really flat-lined, very level-headed, never too high, never too low, just like our talk in the locker room; they are very disappointed, but we’ll get back to work,” Jones said Saturday night after the game.
“You can’t get down, because now you’ve got Alabama coming in, and that’s life in the Southeastern Conference; it’s not for everybody.”
The No. 9-ranked Vols (5-1, 2-1 SEC) committed seven turnovers in the loss to the No. 8-ranked Aggies (6-0, 4-0), and three of the five fumbles they lost were converted into touchdowns.
“I don’t remember a game like this in 30-plus years; we have to get it corrected, and I’m dumbfounded, because we spend so much time on ball security,” Jones said. “Fumbles will occur because of the physicality of the game, but the inordinate amount (today) …. it’s a focus, it’s a concentration, it’s the ability of doing two things at once.
“We may take 25 minutes a day each week and work on ball security, because we have to get it corrected.”
Tennessee has fumbled 21 times this season and lost eight of them.
Ultimately, it was an interception in overtime that did them in on Saturday.
Jones was proud of his team’s continued resiliency, as it very nearly pulled off what would have been its fifth comeback win this season after trailing by double digits.
“We’ve shown it all the time, a never-say-die attitude, and a never-say-quit attitude,” Jones said.
“The toughness that’s involved day to day, week to week, the grind, and we have to get better in a hurry, because we have the No. 1-ranked team in the country coming in, so we have to improve on our deficiencies.”