Butch Jones

Butch Jones is an 8-4 football coach. That’s what he’s coached Tennessee to the last two seasons. However, he’s not on the hot seat.

The Vols finishing 8-4, including an embarrassing 45-34 loss to Vandy, is nothing but an utter disappointment. Tennessee, heavily favored to win the SEC East, blew the chance at the East against South Carolina and then fumbled away hopes for the Sugar Bowl against Vandy.

Butch Jones is the only person you can blame for this season that ends with endless “what if” scenarios. The injuries were at an unbelievable level. But, I don’t care. This coaching staff has recruited enough 4-star athletes over the last four years to have depth. The fact is: Butch Jones and his staff have failed to develop the talent they recruited.

But, it doesn’t stop at lack of development. Jones has shown a trend of making terrible in game coaching decisions, year after year. Poor clock management and a backwards “chart” has been prevalent in losses at Florida (2015), at South Carolina and Saturday night at Vanderbilt. If your team is down by eleven with two minutes left and face a fourth down in field goal range, take the points. Kick the field goal. You’ll need it eventually. Butch decided to go for it on fourth down and came up short. Ball game.

Now that his coaching short comings have been exposed, Butch’s recruiting will drop off. Kids notice these kinds of things. He’s peaked.

Tennessee’s problem: Butch isn’t going anywhere

Butch Jones has a buyout that is north of $10 million. However, that’s not why his job is safe on The Hill. Tennessee’s current Athletic Director Dave Hart is retiring in the coming months, and the University just hired a new chancellor this month. Even if UT was ready to fit the bill and move on from Jones, who’s going to make the decision? Who would be in charge of the next hire? Crickets.

The only way Jones isn’t the coach of the Vols next season is if he decides to leave on his own. That wouldn’t be a smart business decision to miss out on the buyout, but with the amount of pressure and negative attention going on, who knows?

Those two texts I received after the game Saturday night carry some weight. First, you have a professional athlete, who is a competitor on the highest level of sports, that can see a personality trait like that. Then you have a person familiar with Jones and pressures of big time college football saying they wouldn’t be shocked.

I don’t think Butch would quit in the offseason. I don’t know where he would go if he did. He’s not one of those head coaches who would go back down to being an assistant somewhere. He’s not built like that.

Follow Austin Stanley on Twitter @AustinStanley81.