Reports started circulating on Monday night that Alabama is considering bringing in former Tennessee Vols head coach Butch Jones as an off-the-field analyst.
Aside from Nick Saban doing a favor for his agent (Jimmy Sexton, who is also Butch Jones’ agent), I can’t figure out why in the world the premier program in college football would consider this move.
I mean I get that this is kind of what Saban does. He’s brought in Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian after their respective falls from grace at USC. But those guys were actually considered great offensive minds (though that’s up for debate with Sarkisian).
Jones, on the other hand, is nothing more than a used car salesman who found success at Central Michigan and Cincinnati riding the coattails of Brian Kelly.
No one in their right mind would call Jones a brilliant offensive mind. His vanilla offensive scheme, loaded with jet sweeps and goal line shotgun formations, only worked at times because he capitalized on an influx of in-state talent.
In 2017, Jones didn’t have players like Josh Dobbs, Josh Malone and Alvin Kamara to lean on. And his ineptitude as an offensive coach was on display for the entire nation to see. At one point last season, the Vols went 15 quarters without scoring an offensive touchdown. That included a half of football against UMass — a team that finished 4-8.
But what about recruiting?
There’s no denying that Butch Jones did a tremendous job at Tennessee when it came to recruiting. He landed two top ten classes during his time as the Vols head coach. But it’s not like he was great talent evaluator. He just happened to knock it out of the park with players that Tennessee should’ve landed anyway.
And let’s be honest, does Alabama really need help recruiting? They’re already landing the nation’s top recruits.
Plus, it’s not like Saban is going to take a coach off the road to send Jones out there. I doubt Saban would even trust Jones to talk to a recruit in private.
So what’s the goal here? To make Tennessee uncomfortable?
Saban probably doesn’t worry about the Vols too much, considering UT hasn’t beat Alabama since 2006. Maybe he’s paying a bit more attention now because he knows Pruitt is a good coach, but I doubt he’d hire Jones just to mess with Tennessee.
I get the feeling that Saban has some sort of deal with Sexton, that pays dividends in a way we’ll never know (recruits? just saying). Because I don’t think Saban cares either way if Jones is an analyst at Alabama or not. It will be completely inconsequential to the Crimson Tide’s success next season.
By the way, if I were Jones, I’d head to Ohio State (where he also reportedly has an offer for an analyst role) over Alabama. It’s a better fit for him (he’s a Michigan native) and he could eat lunch with Greg Schiano every day (wouldn’t those be conversations be fun to hear).
This whole deal with Alabama and Jones is bizarre. And I’d be surprised if it actually happened. Jones seems destined for a return to the MAC at some point. He’s definitely not going to be an on-the-field coach in 2018, because he likely wants to collect a free year of salary from Tennessee.
Maybe he ends up at Ohio State, but I don’t think he’ll go to Alabama.
It would be too awkward — even for Jones, the king of cheesy slogans and clichés.
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