Fourteen head coaches, 42 student-athletes and 1,239 media members can make it awfully tough to concentrate on one subject.

But on Wednesday at the 2013 SEC Media Days event, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones had one simple message.
"We have to focus on the process," Jones said. "We can't worry about the end result right now. We have to be a better football program minute by minute, hour by hour, day to day, month by month."

Jones was one of four coaches who experienced the three-day event for the first time. In his opening statement, he weighed in on the circus-style theme of the unofficial kickoff to SEC football.

"The most asked question so far is 'how has your first SEC Media Days been?'" Jones said. "I'll say what I've always said. When the SEC does something, it's truly something special. It's a spectacle, and that's what makes it the best conference in the country."

Jones called the off-season's coaching transition "extremely seamless," and said the stability from his coaching staff played a big role when comparing his new job to his last two stops, Cincinnati and Central Michigan.

"Well, the circumstances are different," Jones said. "The situations are different, but the process and how you develop your football team doesn't change.

"I think that's a great thing, not only for myself, but our entire staff. This is our third time taking over a football program."

Jones' assurance that his staff has been here before is unquestionably relieving, considering UT's fan base has endured four losing seasons in their last five. The Vols will face road tests in consecutive weeks as they travel to Oregon and Florida on Sept. 14.

Week-by-week improvement will be essential if the Volunteers are entertaining the idea reaching a bowl game after missing out on postseason play the past two seasons.

"The big thing again for us is constant and never-ending improvement," Jones said. "We have to be a better football team week one, two, three. Those steps may be small, but we have to continue to progress."
Dealing with another coaching change—UT's third in five years—was the big theme surrounding the Vols on Wednesday. According to senior offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James, the team has responded much better to their new coach than recently departed Derek Dooley.

"They're making it easier," James said. "You feel like you've known these guys for years. They've done a great job of making us feel at home. Just seeing them around the complex, you can tell it's more of a genuine and personal level."

"Genuine" was a word used consistently by Tennessee's student-athletes to describe their new coach. That includes senior defensive end Jacques Smith, who told of his first encounter with Jones.

"I was out in California and it was my birthday," Smith said. "He calls me at six in the morning and is like 'hey this is coach Jones, happy birthday.'"

Jones was hired just a week before when he made the call.

"I wasn't really expecting to meet him until I got back to Knoxville, and he calls me. I was like wow, I love him," Smith said.

Jones said a priority during his first offseason at the helm of UT has been establishing and imparting a championship standard into the program.

That culture change has required a hefty amount of re-learning for the players, but Jones' staff also has been included in the re-tooling and learning process.

"I think the challenge of being a first-year head coach in a program is, every day is a learning opportunity," Jones said. "You're learning more and more about your football program."

The Vols will have to follow a "brick by brick" slogan that has become Jones' big point of emphasis since taking over the job in December. He used that mindset to elaborate on how UT will get back to the pinnacle of college football.

"We talk about building a championship culture, working to get Tennessee football back to its rightful place among the elite of college football," Jones said. "We talk about doing that brick by brick.
" Every brick is symbolic of every individual in our football family and organization. It's having clearly defined and articulated standards, expectations and values that are going to guide you on a day-to-day basis."

The foundation from months of "brick-by-brick" additions will begin to be revealed in two weeks as the Vols kick-off their fall camp on Aug. 1.

The Butch Jones era will officially take flight on Aug. 31 as UT opens up its season against Austin Peay in Neyland Stadium at 6 p.m.