When it comes to getting the attention of players by grandstanding at the dawn of fall camp, give new Texas coach Charlie Strong a solid edge over Tennessee coach Butch Jones. Strong, of course, took the iconic Longhorns logo decal off his players' helmets and told them they would have to earn it. On Monday, Jones was angered enough by his players' performance at practice that he canceled their media interviews, according to various reports.
Nine players had been scheduled to talk. Instead, Jones did all the talking.
"Everything is based on merit. Today, I will be the one speaking to the media. Our players are going to earn the right to talk to the media," Jones said. "It's an honor and a privilege to represent this great football program in the way we practice. Right now, we have to stop using youth as a crutch, or as an excuse. It is what it is. It's where we're at in the program. Nobody cares. Our opponents don't care."
For a lot of players, telling them they can't conduct media interviews is sort of like sending a kid to bed without getting to eat his Brussels sprouts. It's not how a lot of them like to unwind after practice. Credit Jones for trying to change the mindset in the locker room, but as "attention-getters" go, it's not exactly Jackie Gleason-quality.
Of course, every player on the Texas squad will eventually wear the decal, for games if not practice, but that message will get through loud and clear by which players have the decal in short order through practice performance, and which don't.