HOOVER, Ala. — Butch Jones was sweating it out at the SEC Media Days on Tuesday.
Some assumed the perspiration on the Tennessee head coach’s face had to do with the pressure of being an overwhelming pick to win the SEC East Division, but not so.
“We got on the bus, and it was over 100 degrees on our drive over here, and I thought the bus driver said ‘Roll Tide,’” said Jones, allowing himself a light-hearted moment.
The exceptions and pressure, however, are very real, as evidenced by Tuesday’s SEC Network telecast from the ballroom at the Wynfrey Hotel.
“It’s time to show up; if not now, when?” SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland said, referencing the feel he’s getting from Tennessee alumni.
“Butch Jones does a great job controlling the message, but you start to get the feeling that the alumni want to see it,” he said. “(They) don’t want to hear anymore things about ‘leaders eat last,’ or anymore cliches.
“We just want you to line up and beat Alabama. We want you to line up and beat Georgia. We want to see the proof in the pudding. We don’t want you to win February anymore. Let’s win in September, October and November.”
Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy was more succinct in his SEC Network analysis.
“Alabama and Florida, those are the teams that Tennessee has to beat,” McElroy said, “and if they don’t beat them, then this season should be considered a disappointment.”
Here’s a look at some of the other story lines media picked up on Tuesday that were related to Tennessee football:
- The Associated Press took note of the Vols’ lofty perch in the preseason rankings.
- The Knoxville News Sentinel described Tennessee’s low-key approach to the high expectations as keeping it simple in their story from Hoover.
- The Nashville Tennessean did an abbreviated social media post that included some video clips of Coach Butch Jones.
- CBSsports.com indicated the national college football word has “a lack of faith” in Tennessee and cited the 11 straight losses to Florida.
- The Anniston Star’s story on how schools give players with off-field problems second chances mentioned how Butch Jones said the Vols brought in 70 speakers to educate players on sexual assault incidents.
- The Chattanooga Times Free Press examined how former Derek Dooley offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will be calling plays at Georgia as Kirby Smart’s new offensive coordinator.
- The Fort Smith (Ark.) Times Record had the angle that the Tennessee Vols “relish” their role as SEC East Division favorites.
- Bleacher Report sifted through Twitter to find some of the best quotes and tweets from the media that covered Tennessee at the SEC Media Days.
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee football for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SEC Country. Follow him on Twitter.