ARRINGTON, Tenn. — Tennessee football coach Butch Jones liked the way the Vols’ football program represented itself at his fifth SEC Media Days appearance on Monday.
And this time, it wasn’t just because of the players Jones brought with him and the stories they told.
“I was very, very proud of our players,” Jones said at the Big Orange Caravan stop in Nashville on Monday night, referring to Kendal Vickers, Emmanuel Moseley and Jashon Robertson. “The three individuals, I thought, represented the University of Tennessee and the state of Tennessee extremely well.
“Obliviously, they all have great stories and that’s why they represented our program.”
Jones said there were several other players he would have felt comfortable bringing, but the trio he chose represented the program’s growth.
“Those three are, I think, a great indicator of our program and the development of our football program,” Jones said. “I thought they did a very, very good job and I’m very, very proud of them.”
Jones said he felt the program’s success spoke for itself, and that was one difference from past media days when all the talk was about hope as opposed to significant achievements.
Tennessee fell short of its championship goals, but the Vols opened last season 5-0, breaking into the Top 10 for the first time in 10 years with wins over Florida, Georgia and Virginia Tech.
“I think that’s a good way to put it,” Jones said. “I think it was a genuine respect for what we’ve been able to do over the past four years. When you look at how difficult it is to win in the Southeastern Conference, and we are only one of three schools to win nine games two years in a row.”
Jones has led Tennessee to three straight winning seasons, all ending in a bowl win.
“I think we are at a point in our program with that respect, but, again, we need more,” Jones said. “We are competing to win championships at Tennessee. I think that was a very productive day and a very healthy day for our program.”