In Blowout Aftermath, Vols' Jones Says "Losing Will Never Be Tolerated"

Coach Says Quarterback Competition Being Reopened In Gator Preparation

Monday, September 16, 2013 - by Special to Chattanoogan.com

Nobody likes to lose – at any sport.

Butch Jones lives in that world and wants his Vols to join him.

Not only did his Tennessee football team get rocked, 59-14, by Oregon on Saturday, the loss was every bit as bad as it looked on national television.

Jones doesn’t want to see any more performances like that.

“Losing will never be tolerated here or accepted at the University of Tennessee,” Jones is quoted as saying at his Monday press conference via information posted on the school’s athletic website. “You can search for all the excuses you want, but winning is a habit and losing is a habit. Our players are going to understand that.”

The unbeaten and second-ranked Ducks destroyed the Vols after falling behind 7-0 by scoring 59 straight points. They piled up 687 yards of total offense and sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota put up career-high numbers with 456 passing yards and four touchdowns in less than three quarters.

It was Tennessee’s most lopsided loss since Mississippi State whipped the Vols, 48-0, in 1910. The 59 points were the most against the Vols since Florida dismantled them, 62-37, in 1995. Florida also scored 59 points in a win over Tennessee in 2007.

The Vols (2-1) now try to shake the ill effects of the Oregon blowout, in which they looked woefully over-matched, and somehow get ready to play the stout-hearted defense of 19th-ranked Florida in Gainesville on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

“The demands become greater,” Jones said.

Florida (1-1) ranks third nationally in defense, allowing 208.5 yards per game.

The Gators are No. 3 in rushing defense, begrudgingly giving up just 50.0 yards each game.

The only chink in Florida’s defense thus far has been a moderate amount of passing yards (158.5) they yield.

However, Tennessee’s passing attack, led by quarterback Justin Worley, who has not yet shown the ability to power the Vols effectively through the air, ranks 114th nationally with 137.3 yards per game.

Tennessee’s offense is ranked 78th (381.7) and the rushing attack is 29th (244.3).

The Gators lead the country in third-down conversion defense, giving up just two in 24 attempts against them.

“Third down conversions, I’ve never seen this in all my years of coaching,” Jones said.

After the Oregon debacle, Jones plans to address the problem of the Vols’ mental toughness for their first test in a grueling string of games against nationally ranked teams to open the Southeastern Conference campaign.

How does he do that?

“Just continue to demand,” Jones said. “Everything in our football program is based on mental conditioning, mental toughness. It’s just grinding. It’s the ability to focus and concentrate.”

Jones also admitted Monday that the lack of team speed against the Ducks was extremely difficult to comprehend.

How big was that one factor in the game’s outcome?

“Big factor,” he said. “You can have guys that run 4.4- or 4.5-(seconds) on the stopwatch, but they don’t play that fast. Football is a game of instincts and reactions. I didn’t think that we reacted as quickly as we needed to.”

Jones also addressed questions pertaining to quarterbacks – his own and Florida’s Jeff Driskel.

First, Driskel.

The Gators offensive triggerman has thrown for 442 yards, completing 39 of 55 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

In the 2012 game against Tennessee, Driskel proved he’s a mobile quarterback, as well. He ran for 81 yards on eight carries – that’s a 10.1-yard average – with a long gainer of 28 yards in a 37-20 win in Knoxville. The win was built on a 27-point second half.

“He’s been elusive for us,” Tennessee senior defensive lineman Daniel Hood said, “and he’s been able to run against us. We’ve got to do a good job containing him, forcing him to make throws and then getting after him when we know it’s a pass down.”

Jones said with a year of maturity and experience, Driskel’s base knowledge of the Gators’ offense has improved greatly.

“I think he’s in charge of their offense,” Jones said. “He’s going to present many challenges for us.”

And Worley?

“Well, first of all it’s been challenging at the quarterback position because we haven’t had any big-splash plays,” Jones said. “I’d like to see Justin settle in a little bit more and (be) a little more aggressive.

“We need him to attack more.”

Once again Jones said the quarterback competition is open and which one of the four – Worley, Nathan Peterman, Joshua Dobbs and Riley Ferguson – has the best practice will likely start against the Gators.

“If that means a freshman quarterback, that means a freshman quarterback,” Jones said. “We’ll have more quarterback run in our package this week. We just needs to find ways to generate explosive plays and it’ that’s Josh Dobbs running the read option or Riley Ferguson, that’s what we’ll do to create plays.

“That’s going to be our focus and preparation this week.”

Worley is not a runner. Dobbs is probably the best running threat of any of the four quarterbacks.

Dobbs and Ferguson are true freshmen. Worley is a junior and Peterman a redshirt freshman.

Jones didn’t give the young receiving corps a free pass on the Vols’ poor offensive showing against the Ducks, though.

And performances at the receiving positions have a direct bearing on the quarterbacks.

“It does,” Jones said. “Everyone looks to the quarterback, but there were two instances when we had seam routes wide open and our slow receivers were off their landmark. Everything is about rhythm, spacing and timing. It’s about reception areas and every once in a while you look to the quarterback, but the receivers paint pictures for the quarterbacks. I tell them their route artist.”

Talented freshman wide receiver Marquez North had only three receptions for 9 yards in the Oregon loss.

Jones had a good reason for that lack of production.

“He’s playing against two NFL corners on Saturday,” the coach said. “I see him getting better, but that’s the luxury that we have. We have to play true freshmen and they have to grow up in a hurry.”

NOTE: Jones said nothing has changed about the status of senior defensive lineman Maurice Couch, who was ruled ineligible for the Oregon game after a Yahoo!.com story alleged he received improper payments totaling $1,350 from an agent’s runner in 2012.

“I will keep you (media) informed on his status and the ongoing process,” Jones said. “You know as much as I do and I have told you everything that I know.”

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com)

 

 


UTC's Levin, Davis Represent Mocs At SoCon Media Day

Two All-Americans are set to represent the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga at the 2016 Southern Conference Football Media Day on Wednesday, July 27, in Spartanburg, S.C.    Senior offensive lineman Corey Levin and senior defensive end Keionta Davis are making the trip to the annual conference kickoff prior to the start of the 2016 college football season.  Head ... (click for more)

UT To Implement New Bag Policy For All Athletic Venues

To enhance safety and expedite fan entry to athletic events, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is implementing new safety policies for fans bringing bags into all athletic venues, including Neyland Stadium, beginning in August. Only one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon clear resealable plastic storage bag per person will ... (click for more)

County Schools Receive Community Gift For Almost $1 Million To Fund Public School Bible History Program

Bible in the Schools presented a community gift for nearly $1 million to the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) to reimburse 100 percent of the costs of funding a Bible history program in 18 public schools for the 2015–2016 academic year. Enrollment data for 2015–2016 reported 3,582 students in grades 6–12 elected to take a Bible history classes. “This gift from the ... (click for more)

DA's Office Defends Suspended Sentence In School Bus Driver Rape Case

The District Attorney's Office defended a controversial suspended sentence in a rape case involving a substitute county school bus driver. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said the victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the March 2015 incident, was in agreement on the plea and refused to testify against Alexander Rodriquez. Rodriguez, 34, last Thursday pleaded guilty to ... (click for more)

Make America Good Again - And Response

“No people can be great, who have ceased to be virtuous.”   Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) Last week I witnessed first hand the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. As I observed the happenings within the Quicken Arena, the one theme that continued to pop up again and again, was  Make America Great Again .  Of course, that being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Keep Mike Carter’s Genius

Mike Carter, who has just been chosen as the “Best Overall” member of the Tennessee Legislature by a group known as the Tennessee Forum and “Legislator of the Year” by Citizens for Home Rule, is truly both. A lawyer and then a Sessions Court judge for 8 ½ years, he is overwhelmingly favored to win a third term during next Thursday’s election and rightly so. While it is laudable ... (click for more)