KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s young football team had every reason to feel tired and maybe even a bit sluggish at Tuesday’s practice.
Vols coach Butch Jones knew that before the Volunteers took the field, but he also knew those circumstances afforded him a chance to evaluate who might be his future stars and leaders.
Just as first-year offensive line coach Walt Wells said during the offseason, one thing that has made Jones a successful coach is, “He’s watching when people don’t think he’s watching.”
“You’re establishing your personality and your identity every single day, and we’ve challenged this football team that you are putting your football identity on video every day,” Jones said following the Vols’ fourth spring practice, pressed by SEC Country for details on the personality of the 2017 team.
“I think our personality is continuing to grow. I think we’re a work in progress.”
And when that work isn’t good enough, Jones lets his players know, as he did on Tuesday when he jumped on his quarterbacks for an inadequate start to practice.
“You find out in days like this, when it’s Practice 4, and you had a big day on Saturday, and you had Sunday off, and you come back and have a hard day of workouts in the weight room and then you come back and put on the pads,” Jones said.
“That’s when you find out about your toughness, and we like to practice in controlled chaos, and that’s when you find out about the leadership of your football team.”
Tennessee senior Ethan Wolf said earlier this spring the Vols players have realized that 2016’s 9-4 record isn’t good enough, and there’s a concerted effort to step up the level of intensity.