Butch Jones talks about the home opener against Utah State and looks ahead to Arkansas State.
Butch Jones addressed the media Tuesday afternoon in his weekly press conference, a day late for this opening week of the season because of Labor Day.
Here's the transcript of what Butch had to say to start the press conference, courtesy UTSports.com:
"Good afternoon, good to see everyone again, kind of a recap from a couple nights ago and then moving onto Arkansas State. From a competitive standpoint, I liked the way we competed, I thought our players were ready to go. I thought they did a great job of really preparing themselves mentally and physically for game day. They put in the work. We talk about investing in victory each and every week, earning the right to win as opposed to hoping to win. I thought our players did a pretty decent job with that considering a lot of these individuals are going through it for the first time of their in-game preparation and weekly preparation.
"I thought they did a good job with our in game management, our overall management of the sidelines. I always had the appropriate personnel out on the field, so that was great to see.
"Offensively we took care of the football. From a communicative aspect, I thought our communication was about above average. We need to continue to improve in that. I thought defensively I thought we did a good job on staying ahead of the chains, staying ahead of the sticks, forcing third-and-long situations. But major, major, major improvements must occur with this football team. It starts with special teams, I was not pleased at all with our performance on special teams. We did not play winning football. In the teams game, we spend, we invest too much time in our special teams game and everyone taking ownership of their role, executing their assignment and doing their job. We chart impactful plays, every individual can impact the game in one shape, form, or another. With Arkansas State, coming in here for a noon game, we need to continue to improve in all facets of special teams.
"Didn't think we had much rhythm and consistency on offense in the first half. We had great field position and we should have had more points at half time. Too many three-and-outs, weren't able to extend drives.
"Defensively, even though we had a couple forced turnovers, I didn't like our ball disruptions. We were trying to get the ball out, I didn't think we swarmed to the football that we expect our defenses to play here. I think we need to make major strides that way.
"And then the ability to run the football, we averaged 2.8 yards per rush. I don't look at averages, I look at run efficiency. What is the definition of an efficient run? An efficient run is four yards or more, or if it is second-and-short or third-and-short you get the first down. Because your average rush or yards per carry could be misconstrued because you could have one 80-yard run and then the rest you are below average. But when you look at the average it looks good. I am more interested in realistic statistics which is run efficiency and I didn't think we did a very good job there. We have to be able to run a little bit more.
"Next challenge now for this young football team, a little less than 50 percent made their debut, offensively there was just one starter that started the game that started last year's Kentucky game. So we started 10 new faces on offense. We need to continue to develop this week with it being a short week it critical. The next evolution of this football team is learning how to prepare your minds and your bodies for noon start. A 12 o'clock game, adjusting your body clocks. That is a little bit different as well in your preparation and your mindset. Everything continues to be new learning experience as we continue to grow and mature as a football team.
"Arkansas State, comes in here, their players expect to win no matter who the head coach has been. They win and they go to bowl games. If you look at their body of work over a period of time it has been very, very impressive. They are an up-tempo, no huddle offense, they like to snap the ball exceptionally quick. Their offensive line does a great job, their center is the gas pedal and he does a great job, they all do. Sprinting to the line of scrimmage and getting lined up. They have one of the best punters/kickers in the country. He can flip field position in a hurry so they are a very good football team. They are a veteran group in the back end of their defense and the secondary and they will pose our receivers some great, great challenges. They are very physical, they run to the football, their quarterback is dynamic with the ball in his hands, he can also distribute the football. They have good wide receivers. So a good football team. Our football team has to come in ready to play Saturday at noon.
"The other challenge is, we need Vol Nation. We had the best football environment in the country, 102,455, our fans were outstanding. It didn't matter, rainbows, rain, shine, they were here and they stayed to the end. Our student section was outstanding, the Rocky Top Rowdies, now as we call them. We are going to need everyone. I am told, again, we are close to a sellout. We need everyone to buy their tickets and support this football team and continue to make one of the greatest venues in all of college football and a home field advantage for this young football team."
We will post the entire video of Butch's press conference, including his answers to questions from the media, as soon as it's available.