One of the most important and often underrated aspects of qualifying for a bowl game, according to most college football coaches, is that it allows a team to get several more weeks of practice in at the end of the season, which can help the team build on things for the following season, and can specifically give younger players a chance for more reps than they would have received during the regular season. In Butch Jones' first season at the helmet of the Tennessee Volunteers, things didn't go exactly as he planned, and his team didn't qualify for a bowl, meaning that extra practice time won't be an option for it. But he is still expecting his guys to stay motivated and in shape on break:
Every college student just wants to kick back and relax a bit on winter break, and it can be tough to motivate players for next season already, considering it doesn't start for another eight months. But Jones is right that continuing to improve and develop is absolutely vital, so testing the players to make sure they stay fit is probably a good thing -- as long as they don't fail. Vols fans will just have to hope for some positive news in a few weeks.