KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones is looking for a fast and furious finish to the week for Tennessee football, starting with today’s practice.
“As a coach you wish there were more days, but the big thing now is to finish with great momentum moving forward into the next phase of our program, and that’s the summer strength and conditioning program,” Jones said Monday night during a very brief media opportunity at the Lady Vols softball game against Alabama.
“There’s so much left from a fundamental standpoint and just an overall execution standpoint,” Tennessee’s fifth-year head coach said. “I talked to the players today (Monday) about intensity, and finishing this spring ball off with intensity and the type of mental effort that it takes to finish strong.”
Tennessee lost several leaders from the 2016 class, most notably quarterback Josh Dobbs and defensive end Derek Barnett.
The Vols open the season on Sept. 4 in Atlanta against a Georgia Tech team that has won three straight against SEC East Division teams, including a 33-18 win over Kentucky in the TaxSlayer bowl.
Jones has said he has been impressed by the growth he has seen within the ranks, and he’ll be looking for more at the Orange and White Game on Saturday.
New leaders like John Kelly, Jashon Robertson, Todd Kelly Jr. and Darrin Kirkland Jr. have asserted themselves, and rising talents such as Trey Smith, Marquez Callaway, Darrell Taylor, Nigel Warrior and Jonathan Kongbo have emerged.
“That’s part of the maturity of our football team, is being able to finish the task at hand,” Jones said. “That means we need a great practice on Tuesday, a great practice on Thursday and then a competitive and clean spring game on Saturday.”