Former Tennessee player and coach Johnny Majors was on the sidelines for several UT practices this spring and has visited with new coach Butch Jones a number of times.
His evaluation of the new boss?
“I like what he has to say, and I like the way he says it,” Majors said.
Majors, who turns 78 later this month, spent 16 season as Tennessee’s head coach, winning 116 games from 1977 to 1992. He signed autographs and met with seniors on Thursday at the Frank R. Strang Senior Center in West Knoxville.
“My first impressions are that he’s a man of earnestness, enthusiasm and high energy,” Majors told the News Sentinel during a break in the signing. “I would think he’d be very believable to the players he’s coaching and the players he’s trying to recruit.”
Majors also was impressed by Jones’ practices, which incorporate some new elements like music and microphone commentary from Jones but are driven by the same fast-paced philosophy that Majors used to run his practices.
“His practices have great tempo, they’re organized to the hilt and there’s nobody standing around,” Majors said. “I used to have a saying to the coaches who worked for me: ‘Coach on the run, talk on the move.’ They are certainly emphasizing technique, effort and discipline. That’s where you start.”
Majors offered no prediction on the 2013 season, but said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Vols overachieve.
“In the first year of a new coach, whether a team wins 70 percent of their games or 50 or 30, you can tell coaching. Maybe not the first game, but in a period of a few games, you can tell coaching differences,” he said. “I’ve got a feeling that we’re going to see a team that will be disciplined and not have unnecessary penalties.”
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.