Butch Jones had somewhat of a surprise media opportunity before Saturday’s basketball game against LSU, where he was asked multiple questions about UT’s culture in light of recent headlines.
Here’s a complete transcript of what he said:
“Obviously very excited to be here today and support Coach Barnes and our basketball team. We’ve been on the road recruiting, so an opportunity to get back and show our support, but also an opportunity to honor our team for being Outback Bowl champions, and I know our players are looking forward to halftime.”
Q: Do you think there’s a culture problem with the program?
Jones: “No. We‘ve worked very hard to build our culture. We’ll continue to defend it and we’re very proud of what we’ve got here. When you just look at the academic excellence, the graduation rates, the community service, winning on the field, winning off the field. There’s no culture problem.”
Q: What are the measures you’ve taken to work on the culture since you’ve gotten here?
Jones: “Well everyday you’re building your culture, but over 50 speakers, guest speakers, 4th and 1 programs – we’re one of very few schools in the country that has a year-round personal growth and development program. Most people do it just in the offseason and we take all accusations very seriously. Can we continue to improve? Yeah, just like any team, company or organization. You know, our players have done a great job and we have great people here at Tennessee.”
Q: What can you say about the situation with Alexis Johnson?
Jones: “It’s ongoing legal process, we take all accusations seriously, and nothing has changed.”
Q: Was Drae Bowles assaulted?
(no comment from Jones)
Q: Will the program do anything differently this year?
Jones: “Well, we are always looking to get better, but like I said, we’ve tried to be proactive. We’ll continue to be proactive with guest speakers and continuing to educate our players.”
Q: How will he approach spring practice?
Jones: “Well we’ve had a very good offseason – our players have worked exceptionally hard. We’ve talked about working towards those 25 points, last 18 games, we’re 13-5 in our program and those five losses have come by a total of 25 points, so we’re working for those 25 points in everything we do – in the classroom, in academics, in our strength and conditioning program, so everything, and that’s kind of been the rallying cry.”
Q: What do you think the perception of this program is around the country?
Jones: “Well again, the people that know us – they know our football program – they understand what’s going on here with all the positivity. They understand that and we just have to continue to work and grow and get better and let it galvanize us closer as a football team and a football program. People who understand what we’re all about, they understand that we have a good culture in place.”