Tennessee’s players have consistently stressed they aren’t letting youth and inexperience define the Vols’ 2014 football season.

But after a couple fall practices, it appears they aren’t meeting the standards set by coach Butch Jones necessary to perform at their highest level.

On Monday, Jones canceled nine post-practice player interviews and instead used the allotted 15 minutes to tear into his team’s mental makeup.

“Everything is based on merit,” a frustrated Jones said Monday, after what he deemed an uninspired Sunday practice. “Today, I will be the one speaking to the media. Our players are going to earn the right to talk to the media. It’s an honor and a privilege to represent this great football program in the way we practice. Right now, we have to stop using youth as a crutch, or as an excuse. It is what it is. It’s where we’re at in the program. Nobody cares. Our opponents don’t care.”

Picked to turn around a once storied SEC program, Jones has tried to change the culture in Knoxville since his arrival and he believes that starts with preparation and consistency.

Right now, the Vols aren’t taking the necessary steps to end a four-year losing skid during which their record within the SEC is an uninspiring 7-25.

“Again, everything is a standard. From the minute we walk on the football field, we don’t walk. We run,” Jones said. “It’s all the little things. The small details. We had trouble at times even snapping the football today. We couldn’t make a field goal. We had too many balls on the ground.

“And you’re not going to win with that performance. So, again, we will not tolerate that.”

Hoping to see a starting quarterback emerge from a three-player battle over the next few weeks, it appears all three — Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman and Josh Dobbs — have backtracked according to Jones.

Accuracy has been the biggest issue.

“It’s gotten worse,” Jones said. “We have to go back. We have to look at our mechanics.”