Matt Hinton spells out the rather gloomy position in which new Tennessee coach Butch Jones finds himself.
At the same press conference, Jones cited Tennessee’s facilities and instantly recognizable, “national brand” as major assets, which is certainly true compared to, say, Central Michigan and Cincinnati. The reality he faces is a division in which equally accoutered Florida and Georgia have just surged back into the national elite after short-lived crises of their own, and South Carolina continues to prove its staying power. The Volunteers also gets the short end of the stick in cross-divisional scheduling, thanks to a guaranteed date with Alabama every October. Butch Jones is the first coach to arrive in Knoxville in decades who has to confront the undeniable fact that, under present conditions, it is hard to win at Tennessee, at least on the level Tennessee has traditionally expected. Those conditions are not going to get any friendlier in the foreseeable future.
All that, and Matt doesn’t even mention that Vanderbilt appears to have a pulse under James Franklin.
Which makes me reconsider my initial skeptical dismissal of John Pennington’s take on Jones’ attempt to add Tee Martin to his staff.
If Jones can land Martin, he’ll prove to doubting UT fans that he can at least do two very important things:
1. Recruit well enough to bring a favorite son home
2. Hurt Kiffin’s staff
Both would please a UT fanbase that was less than happy when Jones was hired last Friday.
Could the Vol fan base be that shallow? Beats me. But I guess it’s better to focus on the warm and fuzzies of punking Junior than to think about what that defense, which has gone from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and back again to a 4-3 in straight seasons will look like next year.
As you hear about Mike Bobo’s coaching opportunities, you might want to keep in mind that his agent, Russ Campbell, until recently had also been Bobby Petrino’s agent. Which means that (1) he’s got more time on his hands than he used to and (2) he certainly knows how to spin for a client.
I finally got up the nerve this past weekend to being watching the replay of the conference title game. But I’m taking it in small, easy to chew sized bites. A few random observations from the broadcast:
- Yes, it was a physical fifteen minutes. It wasn’t in the same ball park as the first quarter of this year’s Georgia-Florida game, though. It just wasn’t. Hatred, ftw!
- Even early on, huge difference between the Alabama offensive line’s pass protection and its run blocking. This was a situation where offensive balance wasn’t such a good thing. Unfortunately, the Tide staff came to realize that, too.
- Tons of attention paid to Jarvis Jones. On the sack that led to Alabama’s first turnover, he was relentless, fighting off two blockers and then pouncing on McCarron.
- And that turnover led to a huge wasted opportunity by Georgia. Georgia’s offensive line was having its share of difficulties in pass protection, too.
- Danielson sure was quick to judge the success of the ‘Bama fake punt call that was wiped out by the delay of game penalty. I’m not as certain, simply because it looked like some of Georgia’s defenders relaxed when they heard the whistle. But what did it say that Saban felt the need to try that so early in the game?
- Great, great run by Gurley to pick up the first down on that second-and-12 play on the last drive of the quarter. He looks like what an SEC back should look like.
- And Murray kicked it in, too, with a gorgeous throw to King that moved the ball into Alabama territory. That was the first moment I felt this year’s Georgia offense wasn’t going to wilt like it did in the 2011 SECCG.
More to come…