Each time, he has dutifully said there's no message being sent.
After four starters — seniors Skylar McBee and Kenny Hall, junior Trae Golden and sophomore Jarnell Stokes — played under their season average in minutes during last Friday's win over Xavier, Martin noted, "I just think that first unit didn't play as hard as we needed them to play, most importantly. Sometimes that happens, but you've got to put forth a little more effort. You've got to care a little more and you've got to fight."
Actions, in this case, most definitely speak louder than those words. If a message wasn't decidedly being sent, it doesn't mean one wasn't necessarily being received.
"(Martin) sort of benched a couple of guys, if that's what you want to call it, and rightfully so because those guys (replacements) were playing well at the time," Stokes said Tuesday.
Set to face Memphis (9-3) on Friday (TV: ESPN2, 8 p.m.) at Thompson-Boling Arena, Tennessee (8-3) can ill-afford another forgettable performance by its catalysts.
The Vols got away with it against Xavier. Freshman Derek Reese scored seven points, including two huge 3-pointers, in his first collegiate game. Backup center Yemi Makanjuola pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Walk-on point guard Brandon Lopez played a career-high 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, on the bench, Stokes and company watched on.
"I definitely took (something from it)," he said. "Watching how Yem played defense was great. I don't purposely try to play defense badly, but the way he was playing defense against their best post men was amazing. I took that from it — even though I'm one of the better offensive players, I have to play better defense."
Stokes said playing nine second-half minutes was "disappointing" and added, "I hope it never happens again."
Prior to an open practice Tuesday, Martin was asked how the benched starters responded since Saturday's game. He glanced over to the Pratt Pavilion court where players were stretching, looked back, shrugged, and said, "You win ballgames, you move forward."
Martin is not expected to alter his lineup against Memphis. Golden, playing with a heavy wrap on a bruised left (non-shooting) shoulder, will play. The junior point guard has made one of his last 14 field-goal attempts and committed four turnovers against Xavier.
Seeing Orange: Martin and the UT players have called for an "Orange-Out" against Memphis, encouraging all fans to wear orange.
The idea was born prior to Sunday's practice, when some players approached Martin. That night he tweeted, "The players said they want an 'Orange-Out' Friday. I like it. Vol Nation, let's do it!"
Seats Available: According to Chris Fuller, UT's associate athletics director for development and external operations, more than 2,000 tickets remain unsold for Friday's game. Fuller said a sellout is still possible, but having students on holiday break makes it difficult to gauge.
The first 500 UT students through the gates will receive a Tennessee headband — similar to that worn by Stokes.
Making a Difference: The Vols split up Wednesday, with half the team traveling to the East Tennessee Children's Hospital for a surprise visit and the rest dropping by the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn