When Lane Kiffin fled to U.S.C., the University of Tennessee filled their head coaching position with Derek Dooley. After three consecutive seven-loss seasons, Dooley received the boot from Tennessee. Once again, there was a coaching vacancy in Knoxville.
Tennessee’s prayers may have been answered when former Cincinnati coach Butch Jones agreed to be the head coach of the Volunteers.
The 45 year old Jones began his coaching career as an intern for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987. Twenty years later, Jones was named the head football coach at Central Michigan University. In just three years at C.M.U., Jones and the Chippewas won two Mid-American Conference (M.A.C.) titles and finished 2nd in 2008.
In 2010, Jones was given the Cincinnati job, replacing current Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. After a disappointing 4-8 season with the Bearcats, Jones followed up with two consecutive Big East titles. In 2011, Jones was named Big East Coach of the Year.
What should we expect from the Vols in 2013?
Unless another Peyton Manning comes walking into Knoxville, keep the expectations low for Tennessee in 2013. I understand that Jones is a very capable coach, but this is the S.E.C., not the M.A.C. or the Big East. Give Jones a few years to bring recruits in and maybe things will start changing for the Vols.
Butch Jones is trying to change the philosophy of the Tennessee football program. Jones is going to expect excellence in the classroom from his players. In 2011, Jones’ Bearcats were the only team in the country to win a conference championship and its league's top academic honor (UTsports.com).
After watching an ad for 2013 Tennessee football, it is easy to see that Jones is focusing on doing things correctly.
In another ad, Jones seems to be a very intense coach. At one point, Jones yells to one of his players, “Come on man, I’ll run all day! I’m in better shape than you and I’m 45 years old.” This guy really knows how to motivate his players.
Jones says that he does not believe in standing around or walking, but at the same time he understands that he needs to slow down and teach the fine details.
At first this guy came across as some hyped up assistant coach, certainly not someone who could be the head coach of a once prestigious football program, but if you take a second and listen to this guy, it’s easy to see that he knows what he’s doing.
Butch Jones’ closet should be full of Tennessee orange. Expect him to wear that orange Tennessee pull over jacket on the sidelines. He’s also been known to wear a visor, but we’ll see if he chooses to wear it in 2013.
How is the Vols offense going to look in 2013?
The Vols don’t have a lot to offer at the skilled positions in 2013. Tennessee lost a substantial amount of offensive production following the 2012 season. Quarterback Tyler Bray went undrafted and ended up signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. Wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson were two of the top wide receivers in the draft. Hunter was drafted by the Tennessee Titans and Patterson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Luckily for Vols fans, Jones’ teams have not been ones to “air it out.”
Although there is a lot of uncertainty at the quarterback position, Jones has a couple of proven running backs. In 2013, expect a heavy dose of the run game from Tennessee. Jones’ Cincinnati teams were very good on the defensive side of the ball, so maybe that will carry over to Knoxville.
Butch Jones’ favorite food should be…GATOR! After all, Tennessee vs. Florida can’t even be considered a rivalry now-a-days. One thing that would help Butch Jones’ popularity in Knoxville would be a win against the Gators. Will Muschamp and the Gators aren’t going to take Tennessee lightly, but there is no way that he is stressing a game against the Volunteers as much as a game against the Crimson Tide. Maybe in a few years Tennessee will pose as a threat to Florida but not this year.
The Vols went 5-7 last year and I expect the same record in 2013 if not worse. It would be highly unlikely for the Volunteers to get to six wins and clinch a bowl berth.
Don’t be discouraged Tennessee fans! The Vols have some very promising freshmen quarterbacks and if Jones is given three or four years,Tennessee could return as one of college football’s elite programs.
Butch Jones is definitely the right guy for the Tennessee job. I believe that he’s going to turn things around in the next few years if given the chance. Hopefully he is given the chance to bring his recruits in and implement his philosophy because all too often in sports today coaches are not given a chance. Jones seems to be an all-around good guy, a very good football coach, and someone who is going to bring success to Rocky Top.
While his articles read like a seasoned veteran, Tyler Downhour is actually a 17 year old High School senior from Indiana. He hopes to study Sports Journalism at IUPUI and continue what has already started to be a fantastic career. You can reach the youngest member of the Stanley’s Stinkers Sports team at TylerDownhour@StanleysStinkers.com.