Since Butch Jones began his coaching career, he has always felt a sense of discomfort and anxiety throughout game week preparation, he told reporter on Monday at his first weekly press conference in Neyland Stadium.
His first game week as head coach at the University of Tennessee will be no different as the Vols gear up to take on Austin Peay at home this Saturday.
"My mind's been racing," Jones said during his Monday media session. "I woke up about three times in the middle of the night last night worried about the first day nuances. All the game management type situations keep running through my head. I'm pretty well used to this feeling."
After giving his players the weekend off following a mock game in Neyland Stadium on Friday night, he believes they are as ready and anxious to begin game week preparation as he is.
In fact, the first-year head coach believes that success is ultimately found in preparation.
"I get more nervous in preparation Monday through Friday than I do on game day," he said. "You win Saturdays by winning Monday through Friday. It's all about the way you prepare, focus and practice. Those are the things you mention when talking about winning football. Everything is habit-forming."
One of the upperclassmen who will try to pass down some good habits and lead the newcomers will be senior offensive lineman Ja'Wuan James.
The second-team All-SEC offensive selection looks forward to sharing the game day experience with his teammates Saturday in the last home opener of his career.
"I'm excited for them," James said. "I remember being nervous and excited in my first game. I had guys like Chris Walker and Nick Reveiz who inspired me to go out there and play confident. I've talked to several of them and passed down what those guys told me, because if you prepare well you can go out there and be confident."
James and fellow offensive lineman Antonio "Tiny" Richardson are excited to get on the field to begin the Jones era in winning fashion and start writing the last chapter of their careers in a positive manner.
"I think we just look forward the most to winning," Richardson, a first-team All-SEC offensive selection, said. "We haven't won these last couple years, but it's a new era now. We've been focusing the most on our effort. I think people will see a lot more effort out of this team this year."
While Jones and a group of newcomers will enjoy the game day traditions they have never experienced before, they believe the key lies in remaining focused on the task at hand.
"Running through the T and the Vol Walk is all part of Tennessee, but we can't lose sight on what the task at hand is," Jones said. "At the end of the day it's about performing and winning football games."
The new Vols coaching staff will overemphasize the importance of game week preparation to their players, as they believe that will be what can push the squad over the edge.
"We have to understand what it takes to play winning football," Jones said. "That's why this week of preparation is critical. The greatest teams I've been around are the teams whose week of preparation is unmatched. You have to live the game everyday. It's all about investing in victory."