Butch Jones addressed the media on Monday following the Vols’ 45-7 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Alabama.
Jones discussed what went wrong in Tuscaloosa, reviewed his offense’s performance and announced a key departure from the program.
Here’s what he had to say.
Injury Update: Jack Jones Retiring From Football
Multiple starters missed out on Saturday’s game at Alabama. Butch Jones updated Tennessee’s injury report on Monday and it included the end of one Tennessee football player’s career.
Justin Martin and Jashon Robertson will both practice on Monday. Jones anticipates both of them to play against Kentucky when the Vols travel to Lexington this Saturday for a 7:30 Eastern time kickoff.
But offensive lineman Jack Jones, who’s missed a lot of time due to injury this season, is done with football for the rest of his career.
“Jack Jones has had some recurring neck injuries, and after meeting with doctors, everyone thought it was in his best interest that he no longer play football,” Jones said.
“He’ll continue to be a member of this team moving forward.”
Jones started eight games in his Vol career, playing various positions along the offensive line in the process. He was a former four-star recruit out of Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Offensive Line Depth
Jones talked a lot about his offensive line. After injuries and a departure earlier this season, the depth at the position is dwindling. And Jones realizes he’s short on numbers there.
In addition to Jones, UT has already lost Venzell Boulware to transfer and Chance Hall to injury. Butch says his guys need to continue being competitive in that group.
“Continuing to battle and battle,” Jones said of what his offensive linemen need to do. “Those kids know nothing but that. We’ve seen it in practice, but it’s applying it.”
Redshirt freshman Ryan Johnson got a chance against Alabama when the Vols had a few injuries on the offensive line. Moving forward, Jones expects him to contribute.
“It was good to get Ryan in the game. When he went in there, we thought he did some very good things from a toughness and leverage standpoint,” Jones said.
With so many guys having left the program, Jones says it’s vitally important to get new talent in this year.
“The offensive line recruiting is paramount for this program,” Jones said. “Individuals are going to have an opportunity to compete and play right away. It’s going to mean tremendous opportunities who come to Tennessee.”
Jones opened his press conference by emphasizing the little mistakes that lost his team the game on Saturday. He made it clear that the results of the past few weeks aren’t acceptable.
“First of all, when you go back and look at the game on Saturday. We’re down 7-0 with five minutes to go at halftime, and we had some catastrophic penalties…they take advantage of your mistakes,” Jones said.
“Tennessee is not okay with being 3-4. And Butch Jones is not okay with being 3-4,” Jones stated. “We have to work our way out of this and learn from our prior seven games.”
Jones recognizes that there’s a clear disconnect between how his team practices and how they play in games. His main objective is figuring out a way to translate the preparation during the week to Saturdays.
“We’re all disappointed in our performance,” he said. “We see things in small increments that are positive. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show up on gameday.
“I evaluate everything, every single day in our program starting with me first and foremost…I see some progress, but unfortunately we don’t see it on gameday. It’s an execution type deal. Eventually you’re going to see that come to fruition.”