Guest Editorial: UT Football, Is That a Light at the End of the Tunnel?

editorial-logo3The following is a guest editorial by Angie Stanley, Jefferson County Post Sports.

“Brick by Brick” is the slogan Coach Butch Jones coined when he first started his tenure with the University of Tennessee Athletic department. The fans actually rallied around him and his catchphrases his first year, as the Volunteers went 5-7. I was behind this man 100%. I bought in to the motivational speeches and the “can do” attitude.

As the records improved, I was on the bandwagon more and more. Even as the Vols didn’t perform so well in the SEC last season, going 4-4, I held on. I was all about “LuckyTop” and taking wins, no matter how ugly. I would get into debates with people about being patient, he inherited a mess, how he was nothing like Dooley.

Now, though, after a less-than-stellar performance against the worst defense in the country and a devastating 41-0 loss against Georgia, Coach Butch Jones finds his wall falling apart, brick by brick.

I can’t fathom a situation where a university is okay that they are paying $4.11 million a year to a coach who loses 41-0. At Home. To a team that, even though they were 5-0, were still 7 point underdogs.

Now, granted, the Bulldogs are on fire right now, ranked #7/8, and they are a tough team. Realistically, I didn’t expect the Vols to win today, but bleeding orange had my hopes up, nonetheless. My issue is loosing so badly. 41-0 is unacceptable from a team that is supposed to be more polished as we troll through the fifth year. By now, with the recruiting classes that Jones has picked up, we should be expecting more out of this team. Phillip Fulmer went 11-2 his fifth year, and by his sixth he was officially a National Championship Coach.

The University of Tennessee was paying Fulmer $2.4 million at the end of his tenure. Let me remind you that they are paying Jones $4.11 Million. Let that one sink in.

After the performance of the Vols this season, I do believe that it is safe to say that Jones has loss all control of this team. You can not perform the way you have in the last two weeks and say “golly-ghee, I guess we all win some and lose some, uh-huh.” You can bet your bottom dollar that Butch Jones is, indeed, in the hot seat, and for good reason. Fans and faculty, alike, have been turning up the temperature since the end of last season. Now, without Josh Dobbs’ leadership to cover up the holes in Jones’ coaching, the team is falling apart.

Now, I’m am not saying that the fans are blameless in all of this. The “Negavols” have been quite loud also. The mass walkout during the UMass game, flat out booing Dormandy, and the ruckus on social media has been enough to make anyone quit in the middle of the season.

With that being said, it is not too late to turn this season around. I have heard it said that, “they remember what you do in October,” and it’s true. The Tennessee Vols are going into October 3-2. After this week’s bye, South Carolina will be coming to Knoxville, and there is still hope to turn this season around.

My question is this: “Will Jones take the opportunity?”

My fear is that he has already quit. He’s just buying his time until someone gets fed up and fires him, so he can get his millions and go back to Michigan. I think that he may have peaked in Knoxville, and the Vols are on yet another downhill slope. I fear that if John Currie does not act soon, all this talent will transfer out.

I have no idea who the University would choose as Jones’ successor. We all have our Peyton dreams and our Gruden hopes, but realistically I’m not sure Tennessee can woo the right candidate now. I can say one thing, though. These are not the darkest days the Vols have seen. There is a light at the end of the tunnel… or is that a burning mattress again?

Source: Angie Stanley, Jefferson County Post Sports/Guest Editorialist

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