HOOVER, Ala. — Tennessee football players knew they were in hostile territory at SEC Media Days at the Winfrey Hotel on Monday when questions arose about their head coach being on the so-called “hot seat.”
The three Vols’ players at the annual media function — offensive lineman Jashon Robertson, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and defensive tackle Kendal Vickers — made it clear how they felt about the suggestion.
“I think it’s a little disrespectful,” said Vickers, one of only two players on defense to start every game last season despite needing shoulder surgery after the season. “I remember when I got here, I was redshirted and we were 5-7, and things were bad, so for us to win thee straight bowl games and being 9-4 ….
“We haven’t won every game, but we go out there to win every game.”
And the Tennessee players play for Jones, as evidenced by those bowl wins each of the past three seasons.
“We aren’t really paying much attention to the outside noise,” Robertson said. “But as far as Coach Jones goes, he really appreciates all of the things we’re doing day in and day out, [and] we feel the same way about him.”
Moseley was more succinct.
“We don’t really worry about that,” Moseley said. “We only focus on what we can control, and that’s summer workouts, on the field workouts and just trying to have a successful season.”
Vickers said people need to appreciate what Jones has accomplished instead of focusing on what he hasn’t yet done.
“He’s changed this program so much, and he’s done everything he’s possibly been able to do to change the culture at Tennessee,” Vickers said. “So, yeah, I think it’s a little bit disrespectful, but we don’t worry about that in the locker room.”