Here are some notes from Monday’s press conference with Butch Jones and selected players:
Injury update: After he missed the final minutes of the game, Jones updated the status of top cornerback Cam Sutton and cleared up any false rumors that might be circulating around. “We anticipate him being ready to go,” Jones said. “I think a lot people, it’s easy to guess and be right. I want to set the tone right now, he does not have a broken jaw – that is absolutely false.”
Jones listed receiver Pig Howard, who did not play on Saturday as “day-to-day” going forward. He said he hoped to know more about him later on Monday. Jones said that receiver Johnathon Johnson (hamstring) was only available in case of emergency at Florida and that they lost another receiver (likely referring to Marquez North) during the game at The Swamp, but he expects him to return.
Taking responsibility, but standing by decisions: A lot of the talk over the weekend revolved around whether or not Butch Jones would own up to a few potential coaching mistakes during the Florida game.
Jones clearly took responsibility for the loss, re-emphasizing that fact several times.
“In order to improve and correct this, we must own it,” Jones said. “It starts with me first and foremost, and it starts with everyone within our football organization. Really, really proud of our players. They’re putting themselves in positions to win. We just have to perform at the critical moments, the critical junctures of the game, but with their effort, their style of play, [I’m] very, very proud of them. We’re going to continue to need that, and more so as we continue to move forward.”
Jones also concluded his time by saying that he has broad shoulders and wants the blame for mistakes put on him so that his assistants and players don’t have to worry about it.
Jones also stood by his coaching, saying the staff coached well enough to win and didn’t say he would necessarily change any decisions such as declining a couple Florida penalties or how the Vols handled their final few drives.
“I do,” Jones said when asked if he thought the staff coached well enough to win the game on Saturday. “I think we all did. Again, it’s one or two plays. We are two plays, or 10 seconds, away from being 4-0, but we are 2-2. We can’t let two plays or 10 seconds define who we are. We have to continue to work and grind. I thought our coaching staff had a great plan going in.”
Vols currently favored by 6.5 points over Arkansas: The Vols opened as 7.5-point favorites over Arkansas, according to Vegas Insiders, on Sunday. That line dropped to 6.5 points by Monday morning.
Jones called Arkansas QB Brandon Allen “one of the best in the country,” and also had high praise for the Arkansas defense, the offensive line, running back Alex Collins and tight end Hunter Henry, who he called the best in the nation at his position.
“Bret [Bielema] has done a phenomenal job of building that program,” Jones said. “They’re basically in the same situation as we are. They’ve had some gut-wrenching losses where they could’ve won the football game, and it’s a play here, it’s a play there.”
Georgia time set: Tennessee will again be the CBS 3:30 pm ET game when Georgia comes to town on October 10.