July 19, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
New coach Butch Jones is trying to infuse some life in Tennessee football after last year's struggles that included a one-win SEC season. What better way to do it than with music?
"Since Day One he's brought passion and excitement to the game. He's making the game fun again," said offensive lineman Ja'Waun James during SEC Media Days.
James said Jones had disc jockeys at the spring game "just trying to keep us pumped up." The man who likes slogans hopes to have his Vols ready now and when Auburn visits Neyland Stadium on Nov. 9.
Jones has taken over for the ousted Derek Dooley, who went 4-19 in the SEC in three years. Jones hired former Auburn assistants Willie Martinez and Tommy Thigpen to help him do it.
"We talked about building a championship culture, working to get Tennessee football back to its rightful place back among the elite of college football," Jones said. "We talked about doing that brick by brick. That's not a fancy slogan…we really meant that as every brick is symbolic of every individual in our football family and our football organization."
OK, Jones will have bricks, but he needs a new starting quarterback, a new starting running back, three new wide receivers and a new tight end. And he'll do it with a schedule that has the Vols playing five teams that finished in the Top 10 last year in the first eight games.
On defense, Jones has coaches Martinez and Thigpen, who were at Auburn last season.
"I wanted individuals who understood what it was to recruit and compete at a high level in the SEC," Jones said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine