KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones liked the energy at Tennessee’s opening practice Saturday afternoon.
But Jones, now entering his fifth year leading the program, made it clear Team 121 is a work in progress.
“We can’t make the same mistakes twice as a football team or as individuals when we come back tomorrow,” Jones said after the opening practice.
“We’ve got to make sure our practice habits and style of play is a little bit better, we have to make sure our retention is there from Install One, because now we go to Install Two, so there’s so much it becomes a compound effect.”
Tennessee has a new offensive coordinator and is breaking in two young quarterbacks both expected to play after three-year starter Josh Dobbs moved on to the NFL.
The Vols have four weeks of preparation before they’ll open the season at 8 p.m. on Sept. 4 against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
It’s clear Jones is approaching the season with a great sense of urgency.
The Tennessee head coach is clear he expects the same attitude from his players.
“Now it’s them having that mental fortitude and mental toughness to leave from here after meetings and go home and study the playbook to stay one step ahead of the game,” Jones said. “We have to make tremendous strides tomorrow, every day is critical.”
The Vols were picked to finish third in the SEC East Division behind Florida and Georgia.
According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, the over/under for Tennessee’s win total this season is 7.5.
Georgia Tech went 3-0 against the SEC last season and has won five of it past six meetings against SEC team under coach Paul Johnson.
Johnson said earlier this week in an ESPN interview that he feels the ACC is every bit as good as the SEC, pointing out that conference has won two of the past four national championships.
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