During the Vols' gauntlet schedule of October, the coach would enter the locker room after every game and ask the seniors what they wanted their legacy to be.
"How do you want to be remembered?" he would ask.
The first target was to reach a bowl.
With that out of the picture as the Vols eye a season-ending game at Kentucky, the seniors' goal has shifted.
Simply put, they want younger players to learn from their mistakes.
"Don't let this happen to you," senior defensive tackle Marlon Walls said. "Know what it takes to win. I think our class opened the younger guys' eyes, you know? Next year, they're going to refuse to have what happened to us happened to them. "
With seniors savoring their last few practices, each is making a point to share both advice and experiences with younger players.
Senior linebacker Dontavis Sapp spent practice warning youngsters not to take any practice for granted.
"They say time flies, and it really does," Sapp told IT. "I was telling them not to ever take a practice off. I mean, we all have at some point. But one day you'll turn around and be a senior and you'll wish you had it all back."
Walls lectured on remembering the pride and tradition that comes with playing for Tennessee.
"I was just telling them you have to realize what it means to play for Tennessee," Walls said. "I want those guys to click up this offseason and bond. I want (those) guys to realize what power you hold putting that jersey on. It goes way back before us. You got a standard to uphold."
To some, the senior class didn't uphold that standard. It never raised a banner or brought home a post-season win for that matter.
Walls admits he envisioned BCS-bowl births and national championship contention when he signed with Tennessee.
While his tenure never lived up to that expectation, he said he wouldn't change his experience for anything.
In his eyes, his time at Tennessee served its own important purpose.
Someone had to set the foundation and weather the rough waters, Walls will tell you.
"I thank God he chose us – this senior class – to go through this," he said. "As much as I didn't like it at times, it was our destiny to go through it. I guess he thought we were strong enough to do it and somebody had to do it in order for this program to get to where it needs to be."
Instead of using down time to sulk on his rollercoaster career, Walls said he already placed a legacy for the underclassmen to live up to.
"We want to be the class to set up team 118 and on and on to go to something great," senior running back Rajion Neal said. "We've pushed ‘em and hopefully they've learned from us. But after Saturday, it's in their hands."
For younger players, they have a whole offseason to start building that legacy.
"Right now," freshman quarterback Joshua Dobbs said, "we just want to get the win for the seniors."
With the final home game of the 2013 season in the books, Jones began his Tuesday press conference by thanking the fans for their season-long support.
Jones also said student attendance numbers are up more than 2,000 tickets per game from last season.
Marquez North update
Tennessee wideout Marquez North is still day-to-day with an ankle injury, Jones said Tuesday.
North did not dress in pads during practice and walked with a limp.
Should the freshman standout not be cleared for Saturday, Jones said the Vols would resort to a "receiver by committee" rotation, adding that Cody Blanc is back from a knee injury and is expected to play.
Project energize Dobbs
Jones said he is challenging Dobbs this week to play with more emotion.
"He's so cerebral sometimes and very calm, sometimes we need to see a little more emotion from him," Jones said. "…Well, he has intensity but sometimes it's not as outward as we'd like it to be. Again, it's a growth and maturation process."
Butch Jones, per university
Joshua Dobbs, per university