It’s been a long time coming for some Tennessee Football fans. The last 18 months of Vols football has been as polarizing as ever, and now one era is officially over.
Butch Jones has been fired as the head coach of the Tennessee Vols, per Bruce Feldman. First year Athletic Director John Currie is now on a mission to hire his first football coach.
Butch Jones Fired:
BREAKING Butch Jones is out as #Vols head coach, source tells me. He just informed his staff.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 12, 2017
Jones, in nearly five full seasons on Rocky Top, was 34-27 during his tenure that featured extreme ups and downs.
The “ups” weren’t strong enough or consistent enough for Butch Jones to survive this tumultuous 2017 season. Following his second consecutive 9-4 season in 2016, Tennessee lost 70-percent of its touchdowns due to the NFL, graduation or transfer. Three-year starting QB Joshua Dobbs was gone and a new starter would be called upon. The Vols lost the best sack artist the school ever had.
Jones, in a must-win season, promoted Larry Scott to offensive coordinator – when Scott had never called plays at the collegiate level. QB’s Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano “battled” for the starting job throughout spring ball. Dormady, the only one with some experience, had only attempted 37 passes in two years as Dobbs’ back up. Neither quarterback had the luxury of having a QB coach until this spring when Jones hired Mike Canales to fill the job. Canales hadn’t coached at a Power 5 program since 2006.
Those are just a few examples of how Butch Jones mishandled his program in the last 18 months. Did he recruit well? Absolutely. The cupboard isn’t bare, like it was post Derek Dooley. But, the inability to develop that talent and hire good teachers as position coaches led to his demise.
Don’t forget about the corny cliches that embarrassed Vol fans over the years. The fan base grew very tired of mantras like “Brick by Brick” “My All” “Champions of Life” “5-star Hearts” “Leadership Reps”.
All fans wanted was for Jones to win the SEC East Championship. Instead, Jones delivered “championships” from the Battle at Bristol, TaxSlayer.com Bowl, Outback Bowl, Music City Bowl and of course… Life.
Of course, Butch Jones did some great things during his time in Knoxville. He deserves credit for revitalizing a fan base and a program into relevancy. He snapped the streak against Florida, beat Georgia twice (in dramatic fashion) and got more Vols back into the NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, the ceiling wasn’t high enough. Butch Jones is an 8-4 coach, in my opinion. It’s time for Tennessee to upgrade.