First the precursor. I support the Tennessee Volunteers. I will always wear orange, sing rocky-top and watch every single game I can. That means, if Tennessee decided to hire back Lane Kiffin, I would be right there cheering on the Vols.
Now that we've cleared that up, our house needs cleaning. This disaster of a coaching search couldn't have gone any worse. The Vols needed a coaching search to show the world "Hey! We are still strong! We are still smart," but instead, all this search has done is said, "Hey! We are... Butch."
Before we get to why I am so displeased with this hire, lets take about how our competition did with their hires.
Arkansas got a coach who can come in and compete immediately. Bret Bielema is the only Big 10 coach to win 10 games in his first season in the conference. He won the first Big 10 Championship game ever played (last year) and won it again (this year) 70-31 against a ranked Nebraska team. That, in fact, makes him the only coach to ever win the Big 10 Championship game.
Auburn went with a familiar face. Gus Malzahn was Auburn's offensive coordinator during their National Championship season. He left to become the head coach at Arkansas State where he went 9-3 in his first season and won his conference.
Kentucky got Florida States defensive coordinator, Mark Stoops. Stoops has done a great job transforming Florida State's defense into one that can compete in the SEC (yes, even though Fl St is in the ACC). Add that to the fact Kentucky might have made just a bit of room in Florida for recruiting, and it's a win for the Wild Cats.
That leads us to Butch Jones.
Before we even begin to sum up his record and talk stats, let's all just take a minute to reflect on our competition in hiring Jones.
Jones reportedly took the Kentucky job, before backing out for the chance to work at UT. So who else went after Jones? How about Colorado and Purdue. And ladies and gentlemen, this is how far we've fallen.
Colorado and Perdue aren't going to be competitng for a National Championship anytime soon, yet, here they are wanting the same coach we ended up with. If that's not a red flag, I sure don't know what is.
Overall, Butch Jones record is ok. In 2010, Derek Dooley took over coaching for the Vols. Butch Jones took over for the Bearcats when Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame. Jones went 4-8 in that first season. Ouch. Growing pains to be expected, but the fact that this guy took over a squad who had only one loss the previous season... and, well... Not great.
2011 was much better for Jones. True his team LOST to Derek Dooley, the man we fired... because he wasn't getting the job done. Oh, but he did beat Vanderbilt. And Louisville's Charlie Strong. You know. The guy who turned us down. So that's a good sign... right!?
2012 another respectable 9-3 regular season. Yeah, you lost to Strong and company, but it was in overtime. And yeah Rutgers beat you, but they are ranked this year. And yeah Toledo beat you but... I got nothing on that one.
Add that to the fact he has no southern ties and is untested in recruiting the south.
Dooley once, shame on you, Dooley Twice...
I don't know what the University of Tennessee is thinking. Maybe they know Jones has been anointed by the football Gods and he will be the David to Saban's Goliath. I really don't see it happening.
I hope this guy got a huge buyout, because if he ain't cutting the mustard in three seasons, I don't know if their will be a Neyland left standing.
But he is our coach now. So, Butch, I'm behind you. You did, afterall, tell all those jobs no because you wanted the UT job so bad. And you know what we do to losers. And how passionate this fan base is. Maybe you're the only one who saw all the value the rest of us hear in Big Orange Country thought this job held. So go win coach Jones. For God's sake. WIN!
Until Next Time
GULP BIG ORANGE! (Power T-Minus 268 days)