Butch Jones and his Tennessee Vol football program had a very disappointing 2016 season, whether he wants to admit it or not.
An 8-4 regular season and a trip to the Music City Bowl is not exactly what Vol fans had on their Christmas lists. But, that’s what they got. In order for 2017 to not be a repeat of this past fall, here’s a Christmas List for UT fans to follow when shopping for their head coach.
Butch Jones’ Christmas Wish List
An Athletic Director
David Blackburn, specifically. Tennessee needs an Athletic Director to come in and take control of the entire department. Dave Hart is on his way out (retirement), and while he did an okay job, he created controversies during his time on The Hill. Whether is was due to him having an Alabama background, getting rid of the “Lady Vols” or the Title IX lawsuit, Dave Hart’s tenure wasn’t well received by some fans and boosters.
Blackburn would bring much needed stability and a return of a “Tennessee man” to the head of athletics. Blackburn spent over 20 years in UT’s athletic department and worked under names like Johnny Majors, Phil Fulmer and others.
Jones needs a strong athletic director for him to go to during difficult times. Blackburn has seen UT Football at an all-time high and understands the expectations, pressures and traditions.
Pre-game Speech Classes
Tennessee couldn’t start a game fast to save its life in 2016. Constantly, the Vols found themselves down HUGE in the first half to Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama, you get the picture.
Butch Jones must be the worst motivational speaker in all of college football. For whatever reason, UT started games sluggish and unfocused. It’s like they expected an easy win just by taking the field. Somebody out there find a motivational speaking coach and buy Butch a holiday package to work on his craft for year. I’d avoid this guy, though:
Strength & Conditioning Coach
I could argue this wish needs to be at the top of the list. Butch Jones’ Team 120 suffered a severe case of the injury bug this season. Over 20 players who started a game for the Vols also missed a game, or games, due to injury. Defensive stars Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Cam Sutton and Darrin Kirkland Jr. all missed the majority of the season. At one point, UT was forced to use walk-on defensive tackles due to injuries.
A strength coach will fix many of the problems Tennessee ran into this year. Dave Lawson exited, mysteriously, in the spring and was never replaced. Travis Haney of 247 Sports reported that several UT players disagreed with Lawson, and that led to his departure.
A new coach will bring back structure and discipline to a program that greatly needs it. Remember, the strength coach is the one who has the most hands-on time with the team outside of the regular season and spring practice.
Offensive Coordinator or Quarterback Coach
Mike DeBord has been absolutely awful as offensive coordinator. And, Tennessee doesn’t even have a QB coach on the staff, yet they have multiple offensive line coaches. DeBord’s play-calling is way too predictable and vanilla. At one point, DeBord had used the same play for the opening snap in 80-percent of the games he’s called plays at Tennessee.
See his offense is so uncreative the opposing defense becomes bored
— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) September 11, 2016
DeBord’s play sheet pic.twitter.com/lgCAXVtkAU
— Andrew Darago (@AWDarago) September 11, 2016
Yes, Josh Dobbs set career highs for passing yards and TDs while developing a down field passing game. However, the running game took a gigantic step back. Jalen Hurd left the program and Dobbs ended up as the leading rusher.
Get a damn QB Coach. Tennessee is the only Power 5 football team without one. They’re kinda important.
The Game of Life
Butch Jones loves winning championships that don’t matter. Give Butch the board game of Life this holiday season. Can’t you see him now, intensely playing board games with his wife and kids, bragging about the number of Championships of Life he won…
Congrats Seniors! pic.twitter.com/dVN4aTPeIu
— John Monroe (@MinisterofD) November 21, 2016
Shoes and Watches
Don’t even bother with the new ties, socks or underwear for ya boi Butch. He’s a shoes and watch type of guy. It’s his hobby. He can’t get enough shoes and watches. He told Chris Vernon at 2015 SEC Media Days.
I can get down with Butch Jones. Finally got to experience a real person haha. Shoes and watches for the win
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) July 14, 2015
Butch likes Nike… in case you didn’t know.
Please… No Vests.
— Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) December 8, 2016