Tennessee Vols fans wake up on another Sunday following another demoralizing defeat and Butch Jones is still their head coach.
After a 45-7 loss at top-ranked Alabama, the Vols have dropped their last three SEC games with a total of NINE offensive points, ZERO touchdowns under two different starting quarterbacks.
“Why is Butch Jones still the head coach?”
“When is Butch going to be fired?”
“The Bama game HAS to be it for Butch Jones, right?”
“What the hell is John Currie waiting for?”
Fans screaming these questions at the top of their social media lungs are more focused on the last one. Why hasn’t new Tennessee Athletic Director John Currie not pulled the trigger yet?
Last Monday, following the Vols 15-9 home loss to South Carolina (following a bye week) our show at A to Z Sports told you these two reasons of why Jones survived another week.
One week later, the story is the same.
The Butch Jones show is starting right now. That likely means there’s no announcement today.
— Nathanael Rutherford (@Mr_Rutherford) October 22, 2017
For those 16 thousand or more who didn’t see our show, I’ll spell it out for you. Although we had some amazing discussions about these two reasons in the video above.
Reason 1 of why Butch Jones hasn’t been fired yet:
I spoke with a source the Sunday following the South Carolina loss and this is what I learned from that “individual” (see what I did there?).
*UPDATED SOURCE: In the case that this Tennessee team misses a bowl game a negotiation would take place for Butch Jones’ buyout to be “reduced significantly”. There has been no talk, or expected discussion of firing Jones midseason.
MY REACTION: Obviously Currie is a first year AD and spending $12 million on a coaching staff buyout and then another $12-ish million on a brand new coaching staff is something he would like to avoid out of the gate. This also makes me believe that the coach Tennessee hires is currently coaching in college football and wouldn’t be able to be announced until the end of the regular season anyway.
I could see John Currie making the decision after the seventh loss of the season – ending bowl eligibility. That could come at home against LSU with Vanderbilt being the only game remaining. Also remember that Tennessee has never lost eight games in a single season – something that can only be said at Tennessee and Ohio State.
By allowing Jones to continue to coach the Vols Athletic Department can save millions of dollars by being patient. Is this the right way to go about things? I don’t think so… we discussed it in length in our show above.
Reason 2 of why Butch Jones hasn’t been fired by Tennessee, yet:
SOURCE: Currie and the other members who would be involved in the search are hesitant to give an interim coach an opportunity to win over the fan base. Example: Ed Orgeron at LSU last season. Orgeron’s success as the interim hampered the coaching search. This isn’t specifically about Brady Hoke, but whomever the interim would be.
MY REACTION: I’m not worried about the fans falling in love as I am the locker room falling in love with the interim. I know the fan base wants a big splash and doesn’t want to settle for an interim option. But, if the interim coach wins games and brings this crumbled locker room back together, the players might push for that interim coach to stay. That would put Currie in a difficult spot so he would like to avoid that.
Again, not the right way to think in my mind, but it’s what John Currie and others (potentially Peyton Manning and Phil Fulmer) are thinking about.
To make things clear, I don’t agree with either of these reasons. Tennessee will continue to lose games to teams like South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt if Butch Jones continues. Losing those games is unacceptable for Tennessee.
With the brand-new early recruiting signing period in December, waiting to make a move could hurt the recruiting class as teams around the country get their ducks in a row sooner than in the past.