Butch Jones Fired: Vols Look For New Coaching Savior
The End of Butch Jones
It’s Smokey, I’ve been gone for a while. Watching Tennessee get that ass whopped and a small victory against Southern Miss just wasn’t enough motivation to write for UT football. Watching UT play has just made me depressed and hate being a UT fan. Well now that Butch Jones is gone, guess who’s back
On Sunday, it finally happened. After sitting here wondering when Butch Jones will be fired, it finally happened after a 51-11 loss to Missouri. I’m of mixed emotions, but mostly excited to see Jones gone. I do want to thank Jones for rebuilding this program and getting us out of the ditch. This program is in much better shape than it was five years ago, and I think we should give Jones credit for that. However, he’s had consistent top tier recruiting classes, but inconsistent results on the field. Tennessee currently stands defeated by every SEC team during their last match. This is not where we belong, but it’s where we are.
This will be our 4th coach in nine years, but I think this job is much more attractive than when Jones took it over. Here are some reasons why the Tennessee job is much more attractive now than it was when we hired Jones in 2012, but first I would like to address a point about injuries under Jones.
Playing For Butch Jones Is A Health Hazard
Is it just me? Or did Butch Jones have more players injured and retire during his tenure than any other coach ever? I mean it’s down right ridiculous how many players have been injured since he’s been the coach. Sure, next man up and yada yada yada. At some point I thought Butch Jones would look himself in the mirror and say, “I think my coaching style might be the reason all these players are getting injured.” I don’t think he ever did that though.
The only common dominator for all those injuries was Butch Jones. Assistants have come and gone, but Butch was still there. Did you not teach them how to tackle right? Was it a flexibility issue? Who knows, but you should have looked into why this happened and made adjustments. Either way this wasn’t sheer bad luck, it comes back to you. Maybe in 10 years they have mesothelioma commercials for people who have played under Butch Jones. Playing for Butch Jones should come with a big warning like a cigarette label.
On Paper, This Roster Is Still Talented
Because of all the injuries, most of the top talent isn’t even on the field. Which might be a good thing for the next coach. You’ll get 2-star receivers in Jauan Jennings and Callaway. You’ll more than likely get 2-star running back in Chandler and Kelly. You get a stud on the offensive line in Trey Smith. You get Bituli, McDowell, Kirkland Jr, and Sapp at linebacker, which is a solid, but not amazingly talented group. The secondary has Nigel Warrior, Abernathy, and Gaulden. On the line you have an underperforming McKenzie, a mangled Tuttle, and Kongobo and Phillips.
I’m not saying any of these guys I have listed have played well this season besides the running backs. I’m just saying this roster has potential and maybe a new coach unlocks that potential.
No APR Issues To Deal With
When Butch Jones inherited this job, the players had to make at least a combined 3.0 to play in a bowl and they got it done. The next coach doesn’t have to deal with that. Makes the job easier for sure. Maybe that will allow us to take a few more chances in recruiting too.
These Players Have Been To a Bowl Game
When the new coach is hired, we still have players that have been to and won a bowl game. When Butch Jones was hired, we hadn’t won a bowl game in five years and had only been to one in three years of Dooley. These players have gone to three bowls in four years and won all three they have gone to. Sure they aren’t the traditional large bowls, but it was a step toward that. Some of these players know what it’s like to have a solid season and get to a bowl.
Money is Bigger This Time
All the rumors seem to indicate that the boosters are willing to throw the bank at whoever they hire. They are talking $10,000,000/year range. At this price, we “should” be able to find a coach that’s really good. Hell we should be able to get just about anyone we want at that price. I’ve heard Jon Currie does not intend to use a search firm and already has three names he’s looking at. I’ve never understood why you would need a search firm for a job like this. There’s literally a maximum of 20 coaches that would make any kind of sense. At $10/million a year, one of those guys is saying yes.
New Athletic Director
If you’re looking at this job, you know they won’t replace athletic directors for a while. They just hired a new one and you’re going to be his guy going into this. What does that mean? John Currie is going to have your back, he’s going to stand up for you and ultimately his success depends on yours. Head coaches never like athletic director changes because it puts them on notice. If you’re coming to Tennessee you should feel safe about John Currie’s job the next five years.
Which Job is Better, Tennessee or Florida?
Five years ago, the answer to this question would have easily been Florida. Fast forward to now, and I don’t know if you can say that Florida is better without at least a debate. Even if you think Florida is the better job, there is no debating that Tennessee is a better job now than it was five years ago. The Florida job has remained even at best and could even be less appealing than it was.
Coaches Already Expressing Interest
According to GoVols247, Taggart, Mullen, and Frost have all expressed interest in the Vols job. If so, these are big names to have interested this early on. Mullen would be a hell of a hire. He would absolutely dominate people with the resources and talent that UT has to offer. We should be excited if these coaches are interested.
What I know
We all know that Jon Gruden is the Vegas favorite to become the next head football coach of Tennessee. We know ESPN is not doing well, Gruden’s MNF contract is up, and if there were a time for Jon Gruden to come back to coaching, now would be the best time. I think some people might question if ESPN can afford to pay him $6,000,000/year at this point.
What I’ve heard
I’m a frequent of the Checkerboard on GoVols247. Sure there’s a lot of fake things or misleading stories that come off of it, but there is sometimes some truth on the board. I’ve heard that Charles Ergen, big UT booster and co-founder of Dish Network, has hand selected Jon Gruden to be his guy. I’ve also heard that Gruden has been making a few phone calls to UT alumni to see if they would join his staff. These alumni are Dale Jones and Tee Martin. I’ve also heard they offered him $10,000,000/year and $9,000,000/year for his staff.
What I Think
I didn’t believe the rumors at first, and thought it was a pipe dream. I just can’t deny them any longer, there has to be some truth to all these Grumors. However, I still don’t believe Jon Gruden will have success at the college level and could do more damage to Tennessee and set the program back 10 plus years. This would not be a great hire in my opinion, but the fanbase would absolutely love it.
Smokey covers the Tennessee Volunteers for the SoBros Network. He loves a good backpacking trip, but hates taking a shit in the woods. Follow on Twitter: @SoBroSmokey