KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s Butch Jones is fine-tuning like never before, likely because he has his best staff in his 11 years as a coach.
With four former head coaches on his staff — Bob Shoop, Brady Hoke, Larry Scott and Mike Canales — Jones can delegate like other elite coaches and zoom in on the details.
Jones was talking about winning edges Tuesday when asked about the Vols quarterback situation.
“What I see is constant improvement each day,” said Jones, who can focus most of his attention on the offense with with Shoop and Hoke overseeing the defense. “I see both of those individuals getting better with repetitions, everything is scripted out with their reps, and I see both getting better and gaining confidence. as well.”
Jones, Scott and Canales deserve credit for keeping the quarterback position a competition and not letting it evolve into a controversy.
The Vols quarterback situation is comfortable, with junior Quinten Dormady the obvious leader, redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano an obvious talent and Jones all but saying both will play.
Dormady is the logical choice because he’s more mature and has shown he can manage the offense better, but Guarantano possesses the charisma and leadership skills to provide a spark when given the opportunity.
Jones was asked what he’s seen from Dormady, and he didn’t hesitate.
“Consistency,” Jones said. “I see him getting better and better, more comfortable being more vocal, we’ve challenged in terms of the overall command of the offense, and same thing with Jarrett. How we command the line of scrimmage, our voice inflection, controlling the different looks and different audibles, and getting us into the right plays.”
Jones, as offensive line coach Walt Wells once said, doesn’t miss anything on the practice field.
Attention to detail and thoroughness are two of Jones’ better traits, along with his resilience and non-stop positive pushes.
Jones is insisting his quarterbacks carry themselves with the traits that made Josh Dobbs one of the greatest quarterbacks in Tennessee history.
“It’s the body language after you make a play, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, having a snap and clear mentality,” Jones said. “So much goes into playing the quarterback position, from a skill-set standpoint, but also, from a mentality standpoint, as well.”