"I think everyone needs to understand, I think we do, but when you are building a culture, when you are building an environment, when you are working on changing habits, it takes time."
The opening statement from head coach Butch Jones at his weekly Monday press conference expressed a sentiment that has gone unnoticed among everyone who witnessed the Vols scratch and claw to a victory against an inferior South Alabama team this past Saturday.
Say whatever you'd like, but the fact of the matter is it isn't easy for any team – SEC, Sun Belt or any other conference – to perform at their best when learning on the fly.
That's exactly what this UT football team is doing, and for whatever reason, Vol fans seem to have forgotten the most crucial aspect of this team: their youth.
Now, the current state of the program is nowhere near where it used to be 10 years ago, but it's hard to argue that Jones isn't the guy that will eventually lead the Vols back to the top.
Over the past couple of days, the talk of Knoxville has surrounded the man who was a major contributor in the fall of this once-storied program: the unemployed Lane Kiffin, who was fired on Sunday from his position as USC's head coach.
But what's done is done, and there is no need to continue to talk about the past.
The future, on the other hand, can't be talked about enough.
As previously stated, Jones is going to do his part. Recruiting and coaching-wise, he's as good as it gets.
But coaches can only provide so much, and what currently holds the program back is the fan base.
Harsh, but true.
There is no excuse for fans exiting the stadium by the thousands when their "favorite team" is in a close game, and there definitely isn't one for having what looked like 50,000 fans – in a stadium that has a capacity of 102,455 – showing their support as the Vols were attempting to forge a goal line stop to avoid overtime and possibly a loss.
What makes a good fan is their willingness to stick with their team through all the ups and downs, and Saturday proved that the Vols have a shortage of good fans.
Fans affects players on the field with their intensity and that same energy is the reason why recruits come to play for a school.
The truth is that fans are what separate the good programs from the great ones, and right now the Vols are suffering from a lack of support.
Hopefully all of you fans can prove me wrong when Georgia comes to town this week, because the Vols are going to need all the help they can get.
Upset of the Week
Two weeks ago: Purdue over Wisconsin
This week: No. 25 Maryland over No. 8 Florida State, 48-42
Last Saturday said a lot about this Florida State football team.
The Seminoles have collectively bought into the "Famous" Jameis Winston hype and it showed when Boston College, a team that won two games last year, was able to jump on the Seminoles early.
Their post game press conference, where they admitted they overlooked the Golden Eagles, didn't help either.
But this prediction has less to do with the Seminoles inflated ego and more to do with a talented Maryland team.
Offensively, the Terrapins are one of the best teams in the nation. Led by senior quarterback C.J. Brown, who has accounted for 13 touchdowns this season (seven passing, six rushing), Maryland has dominated every opponent they have faced all season, including a shutout against a West Virginia team that beat No. 11 Oklahoma State last week.
And if the 'Noles don't watch out, sophomore wide receiver Stefon Diggs is one of those players that can change a game with a single touch of the football.