Tennessee coach Butch Jones: 'We're still forming our identity'
One of the more surprising outcomes of Week 1 in college football was preseason SEC East favorite Tennessee eeking out a 13-20 overtime win against Appalachian State.
The Volunteers are one of the most experienced teams in college football but struggled to build any momentum or dictate play in their home win last Thursday. Butch Jones spoke on the idea of a team’s identity during Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference, and he believes it’s something that is still taking shape.
“I think we are continuing to evolve our identity,” Jones said on Wednesday. “I don’t think you find your identity in one week… I think in Week 3 or Week 4 is really where you begin to find yourself and reveal your identity.”
The team’s sloppy performance undoubtedly worried Vols fans who expected to push for an SEC title in 2016, but Jones was quick to identify the most important thing to take away from the first game.
“The mark of good teams is that they find ways to win games when they don’t play their best football,” Jones said. “All in all, it’s about winning the football game, and we won the football game.”
Tennessee will play a tougher opponent this weekend when it plays Virginia Tech in the much-anticipated Battle at Bristol. Jones is excited to get the opportunity to play a high-caliber opponent and he likes what he’s seen from the Vols in practice leading up to the contest.
Although overreaction is a part of college football, especially after Week 1, Jones said it takes time to know what a team is all about and that each game reveals more about a group’s identity.
“We’re still forming our identity, and you don’t make a judgment on your team based on one game,” he said. “I’ve liked our approach (in practice). We are still forming our identity, we are still building that identity and another step toward that building is Saturday night.”
Tennessee will face Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.