But you don't have to watch video of his former teams to realize he's a risk taker.
Jones recently sent a letter to the parents of Tennessee players and told them to call anytime. Veterans of coach-parent relations will tell you that's as risky as emailing your Social Security number to a Nigerian investment firm or car pooling with al-Qaida operatives.
Don't get me wrong. The majority of players' parents are probably rational, reasonable people who function quite well in a free society. Unfortunately, such qualities are muted where their sons are concerned.
Ever coach Little League? Those who have would rather take on the Taliban than parents.
They see players' parents for what they are: potential monsters. While their children might grow into pro athletes or accomplished middle-aged softball players, the parents sometimes remain stuck in Little League, raging against every coaching slight — real or imagined — as their little darlings climb each rung of the sports ladder.
But Jones boldly says, "Call anytime," seemingly unafraid of where such involvement might lead. What's next? Will he urge parents to email suggestions on how he might shape his offensive and defensive schemes to best accommodate their sons' "special skills"? Will he encourage them to submit a depth chart? Will he want them wearing headphones on game day?
As risky as this parent-friendly course might be, credit Tennessee's coach with being consistent. He's opening his door to just about everybody — former players, players' parents and fans.
That doesn't mean he will post his cellphone number on the JumboTron. But he will post his Twitter handle.
Twitter enables Jones and his assistant coaches to connect with fans on a daily basis.
Coaches tweet something like: "Love being here at Tennessee."
Fans tweet back something like: "Loving you being here at Tennessee."
And so it goes.
If you dismiss such discourse as frivolous, you're missing the point. It doesn't matter so much what the coaches say, just that they say it.
Fans want to feel connected to their program of choice. That connection is more crucial in the worst of times, which the Vols are currently experiencing.
An encouraging tweet
will go a long way after three consecutive losing seasons. And virtually anything work-related is encouraging.
"Just opened the door to my office," a coach might tweet.
Two seconds later, the same coach might tweet, "Just turned on the lights."
Right away, fans know a coach is working on their behalf. They also know he's not working in the dark.
Tweeting to fans won't help the Vols beat Florida this fall. Embracing former players won't close the gap with Alabama. Chest-bumping a mascot, which Jones did rather deftly at Thompson-Boling Arena, won't assure the Vols of a winning season.
But they all indicate Jones has an appreciation for what he's selling at Tennessee — passionate fans, tradition, and both old and new relationships.
So former players should feel free to drop by practice this spring. Fans shouldn't hesitate to tweet their support whether the next kickoff is months or minutes away. And Smokey should be prepared to stick out his chest if he sees the head coach coming.
In the meantime, players' parents are encouraged to send in their proposed depth charts before spring practice.