In a span of seven days the Vols will be facing two head coaches that couldn’t be more opposite.
Last Saturday, against South Carolina, the Vols went against Steve Spurrier, a man known of his lack of respect for his opponents.
This Saturday, Tennessee will face Nick Saban and Alabama.
Saban isn’t the apple of any Tennessee fan’s eye, but his even-keel personality prevents him from giving Vol fans very much ammunition.
That’s because Saban, much like Butch Jones, doesn’t get into a war or words, via the media, with other coaches. You’re not going to hear Saban or Jones take shots at the other.
The mutual respect is what gives the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry an old school feel.
Both coaches have taken plenty of time this week to praise the other.
Butch Jones On Alabama and Nick Saban:
It [facing Alabama] is definitely a great challenge. There are no weaknesses. They have depth every where across the board, from special teams to offense to defense. They are very physical, they play with great effort, they are technically sound. They just don’t rely on their abilities. They are fundamentally sound. You have a quarterback who can make all the throws, he is a control, big imposing offensive line. I think where they have really taken great strides offensively is they have great perimeter skill and speed. So yes, it is a great challenge. It is really hard to simulate it in practice
I understand the rivalry and I understand the tradition that’s in this football game but every game I coach in is critical. This isn’t any more important than last week or three weeks prior or the following week. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but every game is the most important game in terms of coaching. This week is critical. I put a lot of pressure on myself, on our staff and on our preparation. We talk about pride in preparation and this week we have to be extremely prepared for anything and everything but not only are you preparing your kids physically but mentally going into a hostile environment, playing against some very skilled athletes in the physicality of the game, preparing their mindset and making sure they’re ready to execute the small details and we put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves as coaches for that.
Alabama is a great football team and great program and I have great respect for Coach Saban.
Nick Saban On Butch Jones And Tennessee:
Tennessee is emerging as a very good football team in the last two weeks. I think Butch Jones has done an outstanding job there. When a team improves like they’ve improved, it’s always a sign of good coaching, good coaching staff and a lot of people doing a very, very good job.
This is one the best rivalries in all of college football. Hopefully the Vols will take a step toward making it a competitive rivalry on Saturday.
Tennessee and Alabama kick off this Saturday at 3:30 pm ET on CBS.