Unlike most University of Tennessee fans, I was praying to the sports gods before the Alabama game for the Vols to pull off a miracle and upset the number one team in the country on the road. I know, wishful thinking. While the Vols got embarrassed (45-7), again, two years ago we gave the Tide a hell of a ballgame. The praying wasn’t just to shock the world with the biggest upset in college football, but I was praying that Butch Jones could be the coach so many of us believed he would be.
I actually feel slightly bad for Coach Jones while the rest of Vol Nation wanted him fired before the Alabama game. Butch can recruit and I personally think his corny catch phrases are kind of funny. What the sports gods continue to show us is that Butch just can’t manage in-game coaching or admit that he is part of the problem for UT football. It is no secret that the fan base has given up on Butch. I’ve accepted that Butch will never be that coach that finally beats Bama and wins an SEC Championship. So now what? He is still coaching this Saturday….
I can’t imagine how awful it must be to walk into work every day and wonder if today is the day you are getting canned. Going to the bakery at the local grocery store and seeing cakes with “Fire Butch” written in icing or driving to campus and seeing stores with signs saying “Fire Him Now” can’t help in making him a better coach. And then the student body paints the Rock with a tombstone saying RIP Butch Jones. When the old lady at the bakery hates you in Knoxville, you know your time is limited. But the fan base keeps asking when will we stop the bleeding?
The only person who seems to want to keep Butch employed is athletic director, John Currie.
“John and I talk all the time. The great thing is, John has been here, and he understands the program. He understands where it’s come from” said Butch. Ture, Butch has improved the program from where Derek Dooley left it, but there is still a long way to go and Butch has shown us that he just isn’t the coach to put Tennessee back where they used to be.
When you play in the SEC, football is serious and the fan base needs to win. Is it too much to ask for the Vols to be respected again in the SEC East? Butch’s salary of $4.11 million ranks him 20th nationally according to USA Today’s annual college football salary database. His team isn’t even ranked anywhere close to 20th or at all. He is paid $4.11 million and two (Florida and South Carolina) of his four losses are losses because of horrible coaching and play-calling. How much does it cost for better coaching and play-calling?
The Vols travel to Kentucky this Saturday and for the first time since 2007, they opened as an underdog. This is terrible and embarrassing! With RB John Kelly, the Vols best player suspended, it’s going to be another day of cussing while watching Tennessee football and wondering when the Butch Jones era will end.