On Monday, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones held his weekly presser two days after the Vols’ embarrassing, four-point win over 0-4 UMass at home. At the end of the presser, Jones had a particularly long-winded statement regarding the media and negativity surrounding the program.
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According to Gridiron Now’s Jimmy Hyams, four sources told him Warrior punched Tuttle, prompting him to ask Jones about it Monday. Here’s Hyams’ recount of the exchange at the presser:
“Football is an emotional game,” Jones said. “It is a competitive game.”
That response seemed like a prelude to explaining that, yes, indeed, sometimes teammates get into skirmishes at practice.
But that’s not where Jones went. Instead, he said: “The injury was caused not by a teammate. He (Tuttle) landed on a helmet and that’s the truth.”
Jones then went on a lengthy rant about the media’s influence over the program.
Here’s Jones’ full statement, as transcribed by Gridiron Now:
“I think we have to understand, what do we want out of our media? This place with the drama, and again, these are kids and I think we all have children and we’re all adults, Jones said as transcribed by Gridiron Now. “Are we focused on Tennessee football from a recruiting standpoint, from all the positive things we’ve done, from all the positive things this football program brings to the community, this great fan base? Are we in the reality world of TV?
“I think all of us as human have to self-check ourselves, and you may not like that answer, but I’m a father, I have three boys and I think we sometimes got to put ourselves in a role of a parent as well. And I understand we all have jobs to do. My expectations as the head football coach, I’m the caretaker of Tennessee football.
“I’m here to develop and grow the football program, recruit the best possible student-athletes to represent the University of Tennessee and win football games and graduate our players. That’s my responsibility. I take that very seriously. But also, I love our kids and I’m going to protect our players and I’m going to protect our programs. Sometimes the negativity is overwhelming.
“If everyone is Vols fans, how do we let our opponents use this in the recruiting process with fake news? Sometimes, again, we have to check ourselves. What are we here for? What’s our values and principles that guide our life every single day? And I appreciate everyone in this room.
“You guys have a job to do, and I’m respectful of that. I’m friends with a lot of you guys in the room and I appreciate it, but also there comes a certain time where enough is enough. So, thank you. You guys have a great day. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday. Go Vols.”
It’s no secret that even though Tennessee is 3-1, Jones appears to be a dead man walking. Between his Champions of Life statement, the five-star hearts thing, and this latest rant, Jones seems to have an us-vs.-them approach when it comes to the media, which sometimes isn’t the best look.
We’ll see if anything further comes from the alleged Warrior-Tuttle situation.