SEC Media Days got off to a less than resounding start for Tennessee, and Butch Jones and the players had nothing to do with why.
Booger McFarland, an analyst for the SEC Network and former standout defensive lineman for LSU, is in Hoover, Alabama for SEC Media Days, and he was interviewed by 102.5 The Game in Nashville on Monday afternoon. McFarland discussed several topics of interest around the SEC, but when he was asked about Tennessee, he had nothing good to say about the Vols.
“I think Tennessee is going to be abysmal,” McFarland said. “I think the people at Tennessee are going to have to make a decision at the end of the year. Do you take a chance on being great, or are you satisfied with being good?”
But that wasn’t all McFarland had to say either. He also shared his thoughts on Butch Jones more specifically, and McFarland is clearly not sold on Jones’ ability to lead the Vols back to national prominence.
“I don’t think the culture problem was the issue,” McFarland said of Tennessee’s 2016 season. “I think sometimes you have a coach that could get you to a certain point. Look at Mark Richt and Georgia. He got them to 10 wins every year, just about. He couldn’t get them over the hump. They brought in a new guy to make a change. I think you’re reaching the same thing at Tennessee.
“Even in a year where (Tennessee) beat Georgia and Florida, they lost to Vanderbilt. I think (Butch Jones) is a guy who has trouble getting his team ready to play at a certain level week-in and week-out.”
Booger McFarland was one of the national media members highest on the Vols heading into the 2016 season. McFarland had high expectations for Tennessee for 2016, and he continued to hype up the Vols throughout the season until their late collapse down the stretch.
Now it appears McFarland is just one of many national media members to have soured on the Vols. But McFarland’s distaste is a little more unexpected and drastic considering how high he was on Tennessee last season. But he, like many others, are now predicting Butch Jones won’t be Tennessee’s head coach after this season.
The national media has been rough on the Vols this offseason, and this isn’t a good way for SEC Media Days to kick off for Tennessee either. Butch Jones and his three player representatives will have a chance to control the message later on today, and the media will vote on division winners and All-SEC teams later this week.