Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones talked about the one percent during his pre-fall camp press conference Monday and it had nothing to do with Wall Street and social injustice. Jones said he always wants his team to get one percent better:
“We have to be one percent better every time we leave the practice field and the meeting room. We don’t need to be a finished product after practice one, practice five or practice ten. We just have to focus on the things that we can control and be one percent better. I can give you the greatest analogy of one percent better. We had a great turnaround last year in third down conversions. We finished eighth in the country and second in the SEC. Here’s an example of one percent better: if we had been able to get just one more stop on third down defensively, we would have led the country in third down efficiency. That is the illustration of one percent better. How are you getting one percent better when you step off the field or leave the meeting room? So again, we stress that to our players.”
It’s going to be all about the small things this season.
The famous quote “The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at time” comes to mind when Jones mentions this new concept of being one percent better. Improve in a lot of small ways, and the team as a whole will grow.
This is the perfect message to send to Team 119. Jones emphasized today that 64% of his team had one year of collegiate football experience or less. They’re young, but they’re talented. It will be the harnessing of this talent and getting better in small ways through experience that will help Tennessee find success in 2015.
And there’s seemingly no area where Tennessee could use one percent of improvement more than in red-zone efficiency. Jones noted that the Vols had a 27% success rate on offense when inside the 20-yard line in 2014. And 73% of the time, Tennessee left points on the table from inside the 20, to win this year, that cannot happen. To put that in perspective, if that rate of success were raised to something like 35%, 2014 likely would have ended with seven, eight, or even nine regular season wins. But the only way to get to 35% is to first get to 28%.
The Vols could very well find success in 2015, they have the talent but need the experience. The only way to bring Tennessee back to national prominence is to get better, one percent at a time.