KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee held its final bowl practice before the holidays on Tuesday, as coach Butch Jones released his team for some much-needed time away from football following the light morning workout.
The Vols continued their prep for Nebraska in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30, putting the finishing touches on the gameplan before players scattered across the country to see their families for a few days.
“We’ll spend the holidays here as a football family, but I thought it was important that I let them go home for a couple days and be around their families,” Jones said.
“It’s very beneficial. Our football program is based on family. I do think they need a mental break as well. It’s been a long, long season. … You need time to clear your mind, relax and enjoy your family. I expect to see a more energized football team when we come back on the 24th.”
The team will reconvene in Knoxville on Christmas Eve. They’ll spend Christmas together, practicing on Sunday and Monday and then departing for Nashville on the afternoon of Dec. 26.
While Jones believes the brief break will give his team a chance to clear its mind, Tennessee’s fourth-year coach was proud of the Vols preparations and focus over the last two weeks.
“It’s been a very, very productive couple of weeks. I’ve liked the approach of our players,” he said.
“Their attitude, their energy. Numerous reps for a number of individuals that did not gain significant reps throughout the course of the year. It’s been very, very productive.
“Our gameplan is in place, so if we had to play the game tomorrow, we’d be able to do that.”
Tennessee is looking for its third straight bowl victory. A win over Nebraska would give the Vols consecutive 9-win seasons for the first time since 2006-07.