Butch Jones and staff ready to show off skills at Orange and White Game

Orange and White Game debut of sorts

Tennessee Volunteer head coach Butch Jones watches player during drills on their first day of practice in pads at their indoor practice field  Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013.  (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2013

Tennessee Volunteer head coach Butch Jones watches player during drills on their first day of practice in pads at their indoor practice field Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013. (MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Ja'Wuan James on the Vols' effort this spring

Four-and-a-half months after becoming the new head coach at Tennessee, Butch Jones will enter Neyland Stadium, look up into the stands and see, for the first time, tens of thousands of orange-clad fans staring back at him.

A busy schedule of interviews, speaking engagements and tweeting has made it seem as if Jones has been here for years rather than months, but for many Tennessee fans, his real debut as the Vols’ 24th head coach will be today.

The Orange and White Game kicks off at 2:05 p.m. at Neyland Stadium. The game will be broadcast on many of the Vol Network’s radio affiliates. The television broadcast will be streamed by ESPN3.com but will not be available on traditional network or cable TV. ESPNU will replay the game five times with the first showing Monday at 9 p.m.

Even if the most ambitious expectations for attendance don’t pan out entirely, a combination of sunny skies and first-year enthusiasm should help make this one of the most-watched spring games in almost three decades.

“Anytime we get to compete in that venue, it’s special,” Jones said.

Aside from the new coaching staff, it’s unlikely there will be anything remarkably different about this year’s game compared to past seasons.

The Vols will try to emerge without injuries and without revealing too much about their new schemes on offense and defense.

But the game does offer the first and only opportunity to test players in a high-pressure setting with thousands of eyeballs

watching every move.

“There are still so many questions that need to be addressed, and a lot of them won’t be answered until (the season opener against) Austin Peay, but this gives us a better gauge moving forward,” Jones said.

Breaking the attendance record of 73,801 set in 1986 may be a long shot, but a strong showing by fans could easily push the crowd into the top five. The second-most fans to see a UT spring game was 51,488 in 2009, Lane Kiffin’s first season. The No. 3 crowd was Derek Dooley’s debut in 2010 (35,891). The 2012 game (34,421) and the 1988 game (31,500) round out the top five.

Jones and players have pushed the #FillNeyland hashtag on Twitter, and Jones said a record number of former players have committed to coming back to campus. It’s also a significant recruiting weekend, with dozens of high-level prospects and perhaps hundreds of other unofficial visitors expected to attend.

Even beyond current players, future players and fans in the stands, Jones said the game will be a trial run for his coaching staff.

The Vols spent Thursday walking through the tiniest details at the stadium, even down to the pregame hand-slapping.

“There are little things that maybe people take for granted — the way you do pregame in your locker room, the way you do pregame in warmups, the way your team takes the field, areas on the field for pregame, all of those little things,” Jones said. “This is basically a dress rehearsal for Austin Peay, so it’s important that we have our coaches connecting in the press box.”

From a practical standpoint, there will be a few differences on Saturday. Without enough depth to draft a full team, Jones is splitting the teams into offense and defense, as he’s done during spring scrimmages. The defense will wear orange; the offense and special teams will be in white.

Some of the scoring system will be familiar. Touchdowns count for six points, field goals for three and extra points for one.

The offense can add two points each with first downs, 20-yard passes, 15-yard rushes and fourth-down conversions.

The defense gets six points for a turnover, four points for a three-and-out and three points each for a fourth-down stop or a missed field goal. Stopping a drive under any scenario will add two points, and a pass break-up, tackle for loss or sack adds one point each.

Multiple scores can be recorded on a single play, so presumably the defense could earn 12 points by intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 30

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

I agree with Evan, this is CBJ's debut..Not only in front of fans at Neyland, but the real die-hard UT supporters. I am positive they will be pleased with the progress he has made with this team..GBO!!

jjsteel writes:

I like

pingkr62 writes:

Wish I could be there. G.B.O.!!!

orange_eVOLution writes:

51K fans showed up for KIFFIN??? Dang, we should have a SELL OUT for Butch Jones.

DO IT, V O L S ! ! !

snowvol writes:

It would be nice to see a new tradition shared by many great programs around the nation: When the game is over, the players and coaches go to the Pride of the Southland and stay for the Alma Mater and Rocky Top. I get tired of watching the Vols, win or lose, stroll off the field without any sense of unity. It might also bridge the gap between the rest of the student body and the team... that bond should be in place as it is in so many other settings. The student section won't win them a game, but to have a committed, passionate student section cannot be underestimated. Just ask any player what it's like playing in Baton Rouge or Gainesville.

6972 writes:

They don't intend to reveal a lot in terms of schemes etc, but there may be a lot revealed anyway. We may see if we have got it or don't have it....tackling, blocking, catching,throwing etc. Hope what we see in the fundamentals looks good. Impress me with schemes later.

tovolny writes:

in response to snowvol:

It would be nice to see a new tradition shared by many great programs around the nation: When the game is over, the players and coaches go to the Pride of the Southland and stay for the Alma Mater and Rocky Top. I get tired of watching the Vols, win or lose, stroll off the field without any sense of unity. It might also bridge the gap between the rest of the student body and the team... that bond should be in place as it is in so many other settings. The student section won't win them a game, but to have a committed, passionate student section cannot be underestimated. Just ask any player what it's like playing in Baton Rouge or Gainesville.

You are kidding, right? We were always told to walk off the field as proud warriors, win lose, or draw. When the game is over, the contest ends. We treated opponents with respect, held their hands for the post game prayer. The score board speaks loudest and speaks what needs to be spoken.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm a Vol fan and always will be! I'm excited for the game and the season. We won't be down forever. You can take that to the bank. I strongly believe we'll see a significant improvement this year.

Fight on you Mighty Vols! You are TENNESSEE!

SevenT writes:

This will get zero attention from the national media. Tennessee is NOT in the same class as Florida, Alabama, LSU or Georgia. This will be about as important to ESPN as the Vanderbilt or Kentucky pre-season game.

Just Saying

RememberWhen writes:

For anybody that cares, David Blackburn has been hired as AD at UTC. Formal announcement could come today - Monday at latest. Great hire for the Mocs!

RememberWhen writes:

Has anybody ever figured out the purpose of the spring "game"?? If I were a college coach I would do away with it. Nothing more than a chance to get guys hurt for no reason. Of course all of my spring practices would be non-contact as well. Nothing but on field classroom type stuff. They have a whole month in August to find out who wants to hit April is about learning where to be when so you actually CAN hit somebody when the lights go on. This is a complete waste of time.

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope you are wrong. But the fact remains, that the Team has to start the rebuilding process. Play hard, work even harder...listen to your coaches, and we will get this thing turned around! Go Big Orange!

CoverOrange writes:

in response to SevenT:

This will get zero attention from the national media. Tennessee is NOT in the same class as Florida, Alabama, LSU or Georgia. This will be about as important to ESPN as the Vanderbilt or Kentucky pre-season game.

Just Saying

I heard tucky lost a DL recruit to Grand Valley State.

Just Saying.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

This will get zero attention from the national media. Tennessee is NOT in the same class as Florida, Alabama, LSU or Georgia. This will be about as important to ESPN as the Vanderbilt or Kentucky pre-season game.

Just Saying

ESPN is airing through the internet, DA..Not to mention re-playing on ESPNU..How many replays did UK get on ESPN??

voloffaith writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

WARNING! The response to the comment may be deemed inappropriate........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Geofffourmyle writes:

in response to RememberWhen:

Has anybody ever figured out the purpose of the spring "game"?? If I were a college coach I would do away with it. Nothing more than a chance to get guys hurt for no reason. Of course all of my spring practices would be non-contact as well. Nothing but on field classroom type stuff. They have a whole month in August to find out who wants to hit April is about learning where to be when so you actually CAN hit somebody when the lights go on. This is a complete waste of time.

Not really.

It reminds the players what the point of the exercise is, helps bind them into a team, sets the tone for summer workouts and hopefully plants some concepts into their brain housing groupps.

Imperative really.

Walt

UT '81

JudgeandJury writes:

in response to SevenT:

This will get zero attention from the national media. Tennessee is NOT in the same class as Florida, Alabama, LSU or Georgia. This will be about as important to ESPN as the Vanderbilt or Kentucky pre-season game.

Just Saying

Kentucky had 51,000 at their spring game and Vandy completely dominated the vols last year. I doubt the vols will have over 30k at their game. You are right about one thing, the vols are not in the same class as Florida, Alabama,LSU or Georgia.

tennlions writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Congratulations...you win the "First Negative Poster Award". Given out to closed-minded whiners and haters everywhere.
Get a grip. You don't know they'll be 4-8 any more than others think they know they'll be 8-4. This is the time to be open minded and see CBJ show what his staff can do or can't do. The haters swore he couldn't recruit and they have been proven wrong so far. Let's see a glimpse of game prep and in-game coaching today.

tennlions writes:

in response to SevenT:

This will get zero attention from the national media. Tennessee is NOT in the same class as Florida, Alabama, LSU or Georgia. This will be about as important to ESPN as the Vanderbilt or Kentucky pre-season game.

Just Saying

That's the best you got?? Your hater card is gonna be revoked if you can't come up with something better.

So the national media doesn't care....boo hoo.

SevenT writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

ESPN is airing through the internet, DA..Not to mention re-playing on ESPNU..How many replays did UK get on ESPN??

It was on ESPNU, ESPN Internet and FoxSports South BiPolar.

tennlions writes:

in response to JudgeandJury:

Kentucky had 51,000 at their spring game and Vandy completely dominated the vols last year. I doubt the vols will have over 30k at their game. You are right about one thing, the vols are not in the same class as Florida, Alabama,LSU or Georgia.

You're right. They're not in the same class...yet. Check ESPN 2014 recruiting class rankings. Vols are currently #7 ahead of Bama with no sign of slowing down. That's step 1 toward getting in the same class.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

It was on ESPNU, ESPN Internet and FoxSports South BiPolar.

Never saw it advertised, that's odd..

bUTch_please writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Never saw it advertised, that's odd..

It was listed as Air Raid Redux. Of course this fall, when the mildcat QB is running backwards too fast to throw, it will be listed under Air Raid Retards.

Go Team #117!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

It was listed as Air Raid Redux. Of course this fall, when the mildcat QB is running backwards too fast to throw, it will be listed under Air Raid Retards.

Go Team #117!

Oh, it was listed on the military channel..Thx for clarifying..Bwahahahahahahaha!!

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to KnoxVegas88:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

KnoxVegas,

Great thoughts, my friend. To tell the truth, some of you are better dealing with some of these trolls than I. In the past, we've recognized who they were, told them what idiots they were, then rested our case.

The punk kid, Seven, suggested I should get my own website. Actually, that's a great idea, even coming from a troll such as he. And, if I could do it, certainly that would be a reality.

Best thing about having our own website, it's a well known fact none of the trolls would be there babbling like the ones the KNS staff allows here.

"Remember when?" That was when we didn't have so many whiny trolls here...........the rest of the Vol fans, go to the game and enjoy yourselves.

The empty seats will be the trolls disguised as empty seats.

HighPlainsVol writes:

in response to snowvol:

It would be nice to see a new tradition shared by many great programs around the nation: When the game is over, the players and coaches go to the Pride of the Southland and stay for the Alma Mater and Rocky Top. I get tired of watching the Vols, win or lose, stroll off the field without any sense of unity. It might also bridge the gap between the rest of the student body and the team... that bond should be in place as it is in so many other settings. The student section won't win them a game, but to have a committed, passionate student section cannot be underestimated. Just ask any player what it's like playing in Baton Rouge or Gainesville.

From the High Plains of the Texas Panhandle, I salute you SnowVol. You are 100% correct. It's time for Vol Nation to ressurrect the winning Vol spirit.

laraccoon writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Never saw it advertised, that's odd..

you will never get common sense out of that a-hole . he told me the other day he was on the cheering squad for Emory and Henry in the late 70's . that was the first thing that moron said i believed .

JWC52 writes:

in response to notfunanymore:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Pathetic and unbelievable...good description of yourself.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to laraccoon:

you will never get common sense out of that a-hole . he told me the other day he was on the cheering squad for Emory and Henry in the late 70's . that was the first thing that moron said i believed .

Good point..I guess I underestimated his stupidity..

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to JudgeandJury:

Kentucky had 51,000 at their spring game and Vandy completely dominated the vols last year. I doubt the vols will have over 30k at their game. You are right about one thing, the vols are not in the same class as Florida, Alabama,LSU or Georgia.

61,000, JA!!

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