The technology has changed, and to Derek Dooley, that's part of the problem.
With cell phones, social media and the Internet constantly available, the way players communicate now is obviously different than when Tennessee's football coach was in school.
But the technological advances also can be part of the solution for Dooley, starting with the improvements from a basic Nintendo to the complex gaming systems the Vols plugged in last month for a team event in Neyland Stadium.
"When I was in college, I used to grind out Super Mario Bros. against my teammates," a smiling Dooley said in his office Thursday afternoon. "But we played together because we didn't have access to all this other stuff. We didn't have the Internet, we just rode around together, we got in trouble together, played games together. To find girls and talk to them you had to go out together, you didn't just text them. We didn't have cell phones.
"We didn't have coaches set things up, because we didn't have all these other distractions competing for our time together. It's a different world."
The coaching staff is adapting to it with activities like the recent bonding night centered around a Madden NFL '12 tournament, just one step in the process of building a closer team heading into Dooley's third season with the program.
His second year ended with a disappointing loss to Kentucky that illustrated what appeared to be a disconnect between the upperclassmen and the rest of a largely youthful roster, particularly when the former took a few shots at the latter in their post-game press conferences.
Dooley has consistently stressed the need to identify leaders as his first two recruiting classes become the focal point and prepare to welcome the new group just officially signed on Wednesday. And while there are far more important factors in that effort than picking up some joysticks, even that can be applied to the crucial areas of improvement Dooley identified in December.
"I did a lot of soul-searching on what is going to be the key to this team's success next year, aside from the obvious," he said. "Aside from the systems, what do we need to do schematically, which we put a lot of thought into. Aside from how we train as far as getting bigger, faster and stronger.
"The three biggest issues to me were, No. 1, we've got to do a better job of promoting and fostering and engaging in teamwork. No. 2 was having more competitive opportunities, to get guys to compete and not be afraid to compete, to not be afraid to lose and learn when you lose that you go to the next one and you compete again. No. 3 is just promoting a little more leadership training within the team."
And even when the football is just being simulated on a television screen, the Vols can still make a bit of progress on that checklist.
The team is getting together for something other than practice, for starters. And there also was little doubt based on the live Twitter updates from the players that they were taking full advantage of the competition.
"I just think when I played, which was not long ago, after practice you were just in the locker room and you spent time with your teammates," Dooley said. "I think teamwork is different now. Team dynamics are so different.
"The time they spend interacting with their team is minuscule compared to when I played. All the time that we interacted and got to know each other and how to work together, we take that for granted now as coaches. There's not a lot of time that these guys spend together outside of on the practice field."
But if it's the new technology that has been driving them apart, Dooley clearly isn't opposed to using it to bring the Vols back together.