KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones knows what Tennessee is in for against the No. 1-ranked team in the nation today, so the Vols coach has drilled Gen. Robert Neyland’s seventh maxim into his team this week.
“Carry the fight to our opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes.”
Tennessee’s fourth-year head coach said today’s 3:30 p.m. game at Neyland Stadium against Alabama is what the Vols prepared for in the offseason.
“You train for it, that’s part of the T-Tough mentality we talk about,” Jones said on his ‘Vol Calls’ coaching show on the Vol Network. “That’s why we have the Navy Seals come in, that’s why we climbed a mountain before the season.
“The teams that win championships are the teams that can manage the natural adversities that come about.”
The No. 9-ranked Vols (5-1, 2-1 SEC) have certainly dealt with their fair share in the form of injuries, and they’ve created a bit of their own problems with 21 fumbles.
Jones knows Tennessee needs to execute better if its to upset the No. 1-ranked Tide (6-0, 3-0), which enters the contest as a two-touchdown favorite.
“I think it’s a Maxim 7 game, carry the fight to your opponent and keep it there for 60 minutes,” Jones said. “It’s going to have to be every player on every play, every single player. We have to be in there and fight for 60 minutes.”
Jones indicated that if the Vols can press Alabama, the Tide could break.
“They’ve only been challenged in one game,” Jones said. “Most of their games have been over in the third quarter.
“So we have to keep fighting and hang in there.”
Tennessee has won four games this season after trailing by double digits, and the Vols nearly made it five before falling to Texas A&M in double overtime last Saturday, 45-38.