Despite playing in the fourth-coldest game in program history on Saturday night against Missouri, Tennessee stuck with its no-sleeves policy that Butch Jones has instilled in UT’s program.
That was subject of much debate over the weekend during UT 19-8 win. Multiple Missouri players wore sleeves and there’s a very logical argument that the players feeling comfortable and having full circulation works to a team’s advantage more so than does the toughness factor of not wearing the sleeves. Jones was asked about his policy on Monday and gave a response.
“It’s something we’ve believed in everywhere we’ve been,” said Jones, who has also been the head coach at Cincinnati and Central Michigan. “It’s part of being mentally tough and embracing the elements. Our players fed off it. Our players did an incredible job with that. They took great pride in it, and it’s a staple of who we are. It’s a pride of who we are. It’s a mental toughness thing.
“Now, we don’t go to the extremes. We take every precautionary measure on the sideline. I thought our equipment staff and everyone with our game day operations being on the road did a phenomenal job of making sure our players were warm, and making sure our players [had everything they] needed that it took to win the football game, even bringing in some ski masks with the doctors on game day from Knoxville. All those little things add up, and that’s the quality of people that we have here. It’s all about our players. It’s just a mindset. It’s a program philosophy, and it’s a toughness. I know our players believe in it.”
Some players even took it an extra step, going shirtless in warm-ups in Columbia before the game.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) November 21, 2015
The cold shouldn’t be as big a factor on Saturday when the Vols play Vanderbilt in Knoxville with a projected kickoff temperature in the 50s.