Butch Jones says UT offense still needs to find 'playmakers'

Butch Jones says UT offense still needs to find 'playmakers'

Photo by Adam Lau

On Saturday night, Butch Jones promised that he was leaving Neyland Stadium and heading immediately to the film room to break down the evening’s open practice and scrimmage.

A day later, he offered some conclusions.

The offense didn’t commit any turnovers in team periods, which was great, but it also meant that the defense failed to force any.

The defense also didn’t “win first down,” which makes it harder to get the offense off the field later in the series.

“Being a great third down defense is a byproduct of winning on first-and-10, and we didn’t do that,” Jones said Sunday.

On offense, Jones said the Vols are still searching for playmakers.

“We’re having to play too perfect,” he said. “The game of football is comprised of big plays.”

*****

After heavy morning rains cleared, the Vols practiced outdoors at Haslam Field on Sunday. They did significant special teams work, especially on the punt unit that has been Jones’ greatest point of emphasis.

Jones was hard on the second unit and backup punter Matt Darr, who he said needs to improve his “get-off time” from snap to punt.

*****

Jones said Monday’s practice could be one of the most significant of the camp for Tennessee.

Why? The Vols are off on Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare players for the start of the fall semester. The team will also have a light schedule over the weekend to get their legs back and prepare for the game-week routine.

That leaves only a couple of practices remaining before the switch from camp mode to game-week mode.

“These practices are critical,” Jones said. “We have some individuals who have to learn how to push through when you’re mentally fatigued.”

Jones said veterans have helped push the young players, and he offered a few names when asked for examples of great leadership. Perhaps surprisingly, they were all linemen: On defense, Corey Miller, and Ja’Wuan James, James Stone and Alex Bullard on offense.

The key, Jones said, is that he doesn’t want young players merely trying to survive this month.

“We don’t want them to get through the practice,” he said. “We want them to attack the practice.”

*****

Jones had no concrete update on the status of offensive lineman Dylan Wiesman, but the true freshman dressed out for Sunday’s practice (he spent most of the time in “The Hole,” with other injured players). Wiesman had to be helped off the field in Saturday’s scrimmage, but his injury does not appear severe.

Receiver Pig Howard wore a green non-contact jersey but still went through many of the drills.

Running back Marlin Lane, receiver Ryan Jenkins, tight end Alex Ellis and defensive back Michael Williams joined Wiesman in the injured players’ group.

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson joined midway through the media viewing session.

None of the injuries seem serious, and Jones has described most of them as “precautionary.”

Linebacker Curt Maggitt was back in the green jersey, so Saturday’s good news (when he was back in orange and white) may have been a false alarm.

*****

Redshirt freshman receiver Jason Croom hasn’t locked up a starting job. Many thought he would do so quickly in camp after a solid spring season. While Jones said he’s pleased with Croom, he noted the 6-foot-5, 223-pound wideout needs more consistency.

“He has an imposing structure,” Jones said. “He needs to start playing big. When he runs the hitch, he needs to eat the ground up.”

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Comments » 27

60s70s80s90s00s10sallvol writes:

I am standing outside gate 21 waiting for the season GO VOLS!

snafu14u#241639 writes:

As far as who ever it is that plays the QB position, we need someone that won't lose the game for us. I just don't believe we have anyone at this time that wins games for us, not that that won't change over time. Coach Jones made that point early on. Bonzai Vol

td writes:

When we reflect on the last 50 years of rookie Vol Head Coaches, I believe it's fair to say Bill Battle and Philip Fulmer picked up the keys to Ferrari's when they assumed the top job. On the other hand, Jim McDonald, Doug Dickey, John Majors, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, and, now, Butch Jones didn't get near the horsepower. So, QUESTION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: which of the listed coaches had the worst material to work with in their first year at Tennessee? Of course, the schedule is more challenging now, and the competition in the SEC is at an all time high (especially 8 Conference games instead of 6). I'll reserve my comments. Y'all have it, if you're inclined to opine.

ThaiVolFan writes:

The reason so many of us are both fired up optimistic about this season and the future of Tennessee football is that we finally have a good head coach back in charge of our beloved program. These two comments speak volumes to me about how team 117 and all that follow will play;(1.) “We don’t want them to get through the practice,” he said. “We want them to attack the practice.” (2.)“He needs to start playing big. When he runs the hitch, he needs to eat the ground up.”

I firmly believe we now have a coach on the hill who is preparing his players to play to win and dominate games, not playing to not lose.
Love coach Jones' attitude. He is building the mindset of winners.

ThaiVolFan writes:

I for one am hoping to see our players "attacking" and "tearing up the field" all season long no matter the score and no matter the outcome. We will not win every game...we all know that...but to see our coaches tenacity translating to on the field play is what i'm most excited about and what 2014 recruits will definitely see.

Caspian writes:

in response to td:

When we reflect on the last 50 years of rookie Vol Head Coaches, I believe it's fair to say Bill Battle and Philip Fulmer picked up the keys to Ferrari's when they assumed the top job. On the other hand, Jim McDonald, Doug Dickey, John Majors, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, and, now, Butch Jones didn't get near the horsepower. So, QUESTION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: which of the listed coaches had the worst material to work with in their first year at Tennessee? Of course, the schedule is more challenging now, and the competition in the SEC is at an all time high (especially 8 Conference games instead of 6). I'll reserve my comments. Y'all have it, if you're inclined to opine.

As far as the worst material to work with out of the gate, I'd have to give my vote to Derek Dooley. His first roster was dismal. I wasn't around for the first days of McDonald or Dickey. But I've heard the pickins were pretty slim for Dickey.

shorttail writes:

they are still trying to knock the ball carrier down instead of wrapping up, I hope CBJ sees this too

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to td:

When we reflect on the last 50 years of rookie Vol Head Coaches, I believe it's fair to say Bill Battle and Philip Fulmer picked up the keys to Ferrari's when they assumed the top job. On the other hand, Jim McDonald, Doug Dickey, John Majors, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, and, now, Butch Jones didn't get near the horsepower. So, QUESTION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: which of the listed coaches had the worst material to work with in their first year at Tennessee? Of course, the schedule is more challenging now, and the competition in the SEC is at an all time high (especially 8 Conference games instead of 6). I'll reserve my comments. Y'all have it, if you're inclined to opine.

Close call between Kiffin and Jones in the modern era. Neither have/had an established QB and holes across the roster on defense.

Dooley had plenty to work with, he just couldn't manage the talent and keep them on the field.

McDonald and Dickey were before my time but Majors took over in a dark time as well.

6972 writes:

Find the playmakes quick Coach, starting hopefully with the QB. The time is NOW, the season is here. Good luck!

Shake_Bake writes:

in response to 6972:

Find the playmakes quick Coach, starting hopefully with the QB. The time is NOW, the season is here. Good luck!

Your right! The time for evaluation is just about gone. Pick the horses you are going to run with, and let's go!!

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

in response to Caspian:

As far as the worst material to work with out of the gate, I'd have to give my vote to Derek Dooley. His first roster was dismal. I wasn't around for the first days of McDonald or Dickey. But I've heard the pickins were pretty slim for Dickey.

Quit giving Dooley such a free pass. He had tons more Talent than Vandy or kentucky and lost to both. I stated for years that Dooley was losing too much talent like Bryce Brown, OKU, Janzen Jackson, and DRick Rogers along with several others and every coach quit on the guy like Wilcox. Dolley had talent but couldn't keep them there as they knew he was out of his league and had no respect for him. He was horrible and deserves no such remorse. He lost to Randy Sanders with a WR at QB. Enough said.

123forVOLS writes:

in response to JonGrudensAgent:

Close call between Kiffin and Jones in the modern era. Neither have/had an established QB and holes across the roster on defense.

Dooley had plenty to work with, he just couldn't manage the talent and keep them on the field.

McDonald and Dickey were before my time but Majors took over in a dark time as well.

I am not sure I can concur on your "Dooley had plenty to work with" statement. As I recall, he did not even have a full roster not to mention the lack of qb and depth at key positions. Now don't get me wrong, he did little with a lot later on but when he began the pickin's were really slim. I am not so sure anyone else would have done very well under the circumstances in which he arrived. But...let's move on we are in a new era and it begins real soon. Granted, this first season will be tough but let's try to be patient and see what these coaches and players can do over time.

NINEisgonnabeFINE writes:

in response to 6972:

Find the playmakes quick Coach, starting hopefully with the QB. The time is NOW, the season is here. Good luck!

I seriously doubt that Lyle expects his QB (likely to be a freshman) to be a playmaker. I'm sure he is looking for playmakers and for these young QBs to get the ball in their hands.

sameolvolalum writes:

in response to 123forVOLS:

I am not sure I can concur on your "Dooley had plenty to work with" statement. As I recall, he did not even have a full roster not to mention the lack of qb and depth at key positions. Now don't get me wrong, he did little with a lot later on but when he began the pickin's were really slim. I am not so sure anyone else would have done very well under the circumstances in which he arrived. But...let's move on we are in a new era and it begins real soon. Granted, this first season will be tough but let's try to be patient and see what these coaches and players can do over time.

I agree. the overall picture will become more recognizable after the guys get home from Eugene. For those of you extolling CBJ to get with it: Really! Intangibles are what they are and there are just too many of them this early into the season. Me? I'm fiercely optimistic.

jaydubuc writes:

in response to sameolvolalum:

I agree. the overall picture will become more recognizable after the guys get home from Eugene. For those of you extolling CBJ to get with it: Really! Intangibles are what they are and there are just too many of them this early into the season. Me? I'm fiercely optimistic.

Exactly. Finding the starters for Austin Peay isn't that critical. The first two games will hopefully allow the coaches to find their playmakers. I don't care who starts, I care who gets the job done. I guarantee whoever starts at QB will not be the only one taking snaps this season.

62vol writes:

in response to td:

When we reflect on the last 50 years of rookie Vol Head Coaches, I believe it's fair to say Bill Battle and Philip Fulmer picked up the keys to Ferrari's when they assumed the top job. On the other hand, Jim McDonald, Doug Dickey, John Majors, Lane Kiffin, Derek Dooley, and, now, Butch Jones didn't get near the horsepower. So, QUESTION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: which of the listed coaches had the worst material to work with in their first year at Tennessee? Of course, the schedule is more challenging now, and the competition in the SEC is at an all time high (especially 8 Conference games instead of 6). I'll reserve my comments. Y'all have it, if you're inclined to opine.

Dooley by a bunch. He brought in far more talent than he got. With a different D-coordinator he would still be here but he may not have been the guy to bring us a championship. He did stop the thug mentality
and crime and was able to get some great talent but not enough. CBJ is attacking the job of head coach and he has more talent on campus than some think. With his already good recruiting, the job is his to win or lose.

bUTch_please writes:

According to TFP, Coach Jones also reminded Matt Darr of the 'no bars in season' team rule. Atta boy Coach!

StoneJackBaller writes:

It's a fresh start for Coach Jones. No more Tyler Bray. 6-6 with a bowl game will be a good year. We'll lose a ton of OL talent to the NFL after this season, and I would expect next season not to be much better. However, that recruiting class coming in will be huge. It'll take 2 or 3 years, but we have the right man, in my opinion.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

Pound the rock...Neal and Lane will have to be are playmakers for now

GO VOLS!!!

gc_scvol writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Quit giving Dooley such a free pass. He had tons more Talent than Vandy or kentucky and lost to both. I stated for years that Dooley was losing too much talent like Bryce Brown, OKU, Janzen Jackson, and DRick Rogers along with several others and every coach quit on the guy like Wilcox. Dolley had talent but couldn't keep them there as they knew he was out of his league and had no respect for him. He was horrible and deserves no such remorse. He lost to Randy Sanders with a WR at QB. Enough said.

Don't know why you even post here. You have no credibility and are a proven loser. Now get back in your mommy's basement. You really should run, it's almost time for visitation, and I know you want to see your boys anchor down or whatever they do in the stir.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

Everytime Jones opens his mouth, I just can't help remembering that Derrick Dooley's "signature win" came against his Bearcats. LOL

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

in response to Show-me-your-TDs:

Pound the rock...Neal and Lane will have to be are playmakers for now

GO VOLS!!!

Yeah, that'll work, do that! Prepare to set a record for 3-and-outs on offense.

voloffaith writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Everytime Jones opens his mouth, I just can't help remembering that Derrick Dooley's "signature win" came against his Bearcats. LOL

Thanks for serving time on our behalf.....that being said , I think that Bearcats were ranked. Many said he had beat no teams in top 25 and they were. That aside........chompers 9-3? 10-2? 8-4? Lil willie can recruit and it's easy where he is. He just needs to have solid coaches around him to coachem and do better than they did against Louisville in bowl game.

JonGrudensAgent writes:

in response to 123forVOLS:

I am not sure I can concur on your "Dooley had plenty to work with" statement. As I recall, he did not even have a full roster not to mention the lack of qb and depth at key positions. Now don't get me wrong, he did little with a lot later on but when he began the pickin's were really slim. I am not so sure anyone else would have done very well under the circumstances in which he arrived. But...let's move on we are in a new era and it begins real soon. Granted, this first season will be tough but let's try to be patient and see what these coaches and players can do over time.

Dooley started with a QB with 1st round talent and a free agent attitude that got no better during his time here in Bray so I am putting him behind Jones and Kiffin.

He also had Poole coming back from injury who gave him a 1000 yard season and an NFL TE in Stocker.

He had Denarious Moore and Gerald Jones coming off of good seasons at WR.

He had Teague, Waggner, and Jackson in the secondary along with Reviez and Lathers in the LB corp.

Granted, the o line and d lines were messes and, as you said, depth was a major issue.

Keep in mind I am not saying Dooley was handed the keys to a Ferrari but he did have some proven players coming back.

Jones is working with almost completely unproven QB and WR although he does have the huge edge in O line.

As bad as that defense was last year, you may as well say he is starting from scratch.

gc_scvol writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

Everytime Jones opens his mouth, I just can't help remembering that Derrick Dooley's "signature win" came against his Bearcats. LOL

Go away kid, and take your dog with you.

hateNCloveTN writes:

in response to jaydubuc:

Exactly. Finding the starters for Austin Peay isn't that critical. The first two games will hopefully allow the coaches to find their playmakers. I don't care who starts, I care who gets the job done. I guarantee whoever starts at QB will not be the only one taking snaps this season.

I disagree with your statement about starters not critical for AP. I think that game will define our entire season and set the standard in the pecking order. Leaders will be determined in that game and these freshmen will have to step up quickly in order for us to have a productive season. GBO

johnlg00 writes:

in response to hateNCloveTN:

I disagree with your statement about starters not critical for AP. I think that game will define our entire season and set the standard in the pecking order. Leaders will be determined in that game and these freshmen will have to step up quickly in order for us to have a productive season. GBO

Yeah, it won't help the season outlook if the Vols come stumbling out of the gate. Even though the talent disparity is so great that the Vols should win by five TDs or more, if they come out jumping offsides, missing tackles, turning the ball over, etc., it will be a major setback after all the preseason excitement. Of course, if they come out looking like a well-oiled machine, it may not mean much against such an opponent, but habits are important and winning is a habit just as losing is. They need to come out and set a positive tone in effort and execution, for their own sakes as well as for ours.

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