Butch Jones on firing line after living up to ‘Botch’ nickname in South Carolina loss – CBSSports.com
Tennessee, it’s time.
It’s time to embrace your future, forget about the past and move on from coach Butch Jones. If getting shellacked 41-0 by Georgia two weeks ago at Neyland Stadium wasn’t enough to force Jones out during the bye week, Saturday’s 15-9 loss to South Carolina should do the trick.
Jones is now 0-4 against Will Muschamp during his Tennessee career, including last season’s upset when the Vols were ranked No. 18 and today’s debacle that, in addition to extending an ominous losing streak against Muschamp, extended Tennessee’s touchdown drought to 10 quarters.
How hard is it to tell your redshirt freshman quarterback to spike the ball with no timeouts in a two-minute drill? Jones didn’t even do that when the Vols were inside the 10-yard line with 20 seconds left and Jarrett Guarantano — making his first career start — waited a to run a play as seconds ticked away instead of preserving time.
What more do you need to make a move on Jones? Nothing.
The Vols missed a massive window to take back the SEC East with a roster loaded of talented players including quarterback Joshua Dobbs, running back Alvin Kamara, defensive end Derek Barnett and a host of other players who were brought in to reverse the fortunes of a fledgling program.
They did their part, but Jones didn’t do his.
Throughout that window, an over-coached Vols team failed to live up to expectations and suffered mind-numbingly horrible losses; those players moved on, leaving a program in shambles. Jones is the reason for that deconstruction.
With a road trip to Alabama looming next week, athletic director John Currie has to make a move. If the decision on a coach’s future is already obvious, the worst thing for a leader to do is to delay the inevitable.
LSU AD Joe Alleva did that with Les Miles two years ago at the end of the season, and Miles became a sympathetic figure after beating Texas A&M at home to close out the 2015 campaign. Four games into the 2016 season, Alleva had to fire Miles after a 2-2 start. In 2003, Auburn leaders interviewed Louisville coach Bobby Petrino the week of the Iron Bowl while Tommy Tuberville was still the Tigers’ coach. Auburn won, Tuberville became a sympathetic figure, and AU’s leadership was left embarrassed and apologetic.
Jones isn’t on the level of Miles or Tuberville, and the likelihood of the Vols upsetting the Crimson Tide next week is slim to none. But like Lloyd Christmas’ chances of ending up with Mary Swanson (or is it Samsonite?) in “Dumb & Dumber,” well, “You’re telling me there’s a chance?”
There is one, albeit small. Currie can’t run that risk.
Cut the cord, move on and develop numerous contingency plans for a coaching silly season that will be accelerated due to the tight window created by the new early signing period.
Tennessee will be better off for it.