The moment Tennessee Football fans have been waiting for since the hiring of Butch Jones in early December of 2012 is finally here.
The Butch Jones era will kickoff Saturday night, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. in Neyland Stadium against a far less than average Austin Peay team, who is looking to redeem themselves after a dismal 2-9 record in 2012. To most Saturday will be viewed as a mere tune up game for the Vols, but according to first year head coach Butch Jones, that isn’t the case at all.
“We have to be prepared,” said Jones. “This team is not good enough to just show up. We have to be prepared each and every week.”
What the Vols lack in experience they more than make up for in youth, and will certainly face several personnel challenges on Saturday. From the obvious quarterback position that is still an “ongoing competition,” as Jones called it, even after naming Jr. Justin Worley the starter, to the amount of freshmen and walk-ons that may see first team reps in the game.
“We could play as little as 10 freshmen to as many as 15 or 16 true freshmen Saturday night,” Jones said. “When you look at our backend, every back-up in our secondary is either a true freshman or a walk-on. That is just where we are at in the program.”
Two true freshmen that had a big fall camp were WR Marquez North, and CB Cameron Sutton, both of which have earned starting positions for Saturday’s opener against the Governors. Beyond North and Sutton, only four more of the 22 listed on offense and defense are listed as starters that are either redshirt freshmen or sophomores for Saturday.
The Vols have never lost a game either in August or to an OVC opponent, and have only lost lost three season openers in the last 29 years. Saturday looks to be no different of a result.