It’s no secret that Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones has several words and phrases that you are likely to hear in any one of his press conferences or interviews. To those around Tennessee’s football program, these have become known as “Butchisms”. While these can be cliche and annoying at times, they must lend a hand to the success that Jones’ Volunteers have achieved on the field over the past 2 years. The Vols went from a 5-win team in 2013 to a 7-win team in 2014, and last season ended an all-around good year as a 9-win team. So, love the “Butchisms” or hate them, they’re obviously working. Here are Butch Jones’ 3 favorite words from SEC Media Days.
If you have been around the Tennessee Football program since Butch Jones took over in 2012 one thing that you must have noticed is change. Changes have been significant in culture, uniforms, charisma, and most importantly, success. As mentioned, the Vols’ win totals have increased by two each of the last two seasons. To top off those seasons, Tennessee made two trips to Florida for bowl games and won both handily. Coach Jones loves to describe football as “sudden change”. It’s a phrase he uses repeatedly in practice in order to simulate the ebbs and flows of an SEC matchup. He also describes coaching as “creating change” in the lives of student-athletes, a sentiment that he reflected upon at SEC Media Days when remarking on the passing of Pat Summitt.
One aspect of any Jones tenure at the major college football level thus far has been his ability to build a program. He took a limping Central Michigan program to 2 straight bowl games and won 2 MAC titles while at the school. He then took a middle-of-the-road Cincinnati program to 2 straight postseasons and 2 conference championships as well. Butch Jones is a program builder. Plain and simple. Every stop that he has made as a head coach has left that particular team better off than when he arrived. Building is also a relevant theme in his recruiting classes since he has been at Tennessee. In 2014, Jones led Tennessee to a top-10 nationally ranked recruiting class while signing 16 four-star players. In 2015, Tennessee was ranked as the third best recruiting class in the country, signing 4 five-star players along with 11 four-stars.
While Jones’ teams at Tennessee have brought corporate success, one of the aspects of the program that Butch prides himself on is the “development of the individual”. In his remarks at SEC Media days, Jones stated that he believes “Josh Dobbs…and these individuals (Cam Sutton and Jalen Reeves-Maybin) have really been the catalyst…” Perhaps Jones’ belief in the individual is the reason behind his tremendous recruiting success at Tennessee. More likely, however, is that the coaching staff’s individualized approach to player development has been the greatest factor in the Vols’ success of the last two seasons.