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Pearl prefers Jones insert his own personality into his eight-game head coaching gig. Pearl recalls his own mentor, Tom Davis, telling him to have his own personality and do what he knew how to do.

Tony’s going to add his own personality to the game,” Pearl said. “He’s going to have his own feel and instincts at times, but we’ve been together for an awful lot of time.”

Jones won’t say just yet if he’ll adopt Pearl’s tradition of honoring late Tennessee coach Ray Mears by wearing an orange blazer when the Vols host Vanderbilt on Jan. 15.

Pearl won’t be completely removed from his team until his suspension ends Feb. 8 at Kentucky. He’s allowed to coach them on days in between games, will spend time with Jones and assistants Steve Forbes and Jason Shay scouting opponents, can travel to away games and will be on the sideline for a nonconference meeting with Connecticut on Jan. 22.

But when it comes to game days, Pearl isn’t allowed to be around the team at all. On Saturday, he plans to watch from his Fayetteville hotel room with his wife Brandy and Tennessee associate athletics director Desiree Reed-Francois. He’ll watch games in Knoxville from his home.

“Impossible. I don’t want to think about it. Helpless, sad, embarrassed,” Pearl said when asked how he thought it would feel to watch. “I’ve never missed a game in my entire career.”