Tennessee has undergone a drastic change in culture. They Vols have gone from loveable losers to SEC darlings in the span of three years. A lot of that is thanks to head coach Butch Jones, but the older veterans on the team can take some credit for embracing it so well and making the coach’s job that much easier.
Curt Maggitt is one of the seniors embracing change and encouraging the young guys to relish it because the team was so bad when he came to campus. He cut up a video of all the terrible things that Tennessee went through before 2012 — before Jones and his Cincinnati staff came to Knoxville. Jones talked about Maggitt’s presentation from Tuesday night that made such a big impression on him.
“They talk about it all the time, and they talk about our culture, and they talk about us protecting the proud tradition of Tennessee football each and every day,” Jones said. “We give some of those individuals a leadership opportunity in terms of where they present something to our football team. And (Tuesday) night, Curt Maggitt presented the game maxims, and it was very eloquently done. He had some clips of the old culture, back when he was a freshman, and it was a great teaching moment. And he’s the one who picked it all out.”
Fifth-year senior safety Brian Randolph is another upperclassman who can appreciate what Jones has done. He said that the players and staff don’t put up with laziness, loafing, or any of the like now.
“We have a chance to put Tennessee back on the map this year, and we feel like we definitely have the defense this year to do it,” said Randolph, who chose the Vols out of high school at least in part to follow in fellow Atlanta-area native Eric Berry’s footsteps. “We definitely appreciate all the talent we’ve got, and the coaches putting us in the right places to make plays.”
And this year could definitely see the Vols singing a lot of happy Rocky Top tunes if everything goes as planned.