Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones will be making his second offensive coordinator hire in two years this offseason. Mike DeBord had been the Vols’ offensive coordinator the last two seasons, but it was announced on Tuesday that he accepted the same position at Indiana and would be leaving Tennessee.
Now Jones is on the search for another offensive coordinator just like he was after the 2014 season when Mike Bajakian left to be the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL.
Jones spoke about that search and his expectations for his new offensive coordinator on Tuesday, saying he views this as an “opportunity to enhance your football program, and not change what we’re doing, but be able to enhance it,” adding he doesn’t foresee “making monumental changes” on offense.
Jones doesn’t want wholesale changes on offense with his new hire. In fact, Jones expressed that he likes what the offense has done over the last few years, particularly at the end of this season.
“I’ve really liked the way we played football, particularly towards the end of the season,” Jones stated. “I think the stats and the points per game and everything we’re able to do speak for themselves.
“I liked our balance, I liked the way we pushed the ball down the field, I liked our formations, I liked our different personnel groupings and our motions.”
Tennessee’s offense did show a great deal of improvement in 2016, but inconsistencies still existed and kept the Vols’ offense from being even more dynamic than it already was. Jones did go on to say that although he liked what he saw from the offense, he embraces the opportunity this new hire brings.
“We’re going to do what we do on offense,” Jones said. “We’ve been very successful on offense. So, to the recruits who are committed, or who we are (recruiting), it’s pretty much going to be the same offense.
“But it’s also exciting because it’s an opportunity again to maybe get a fresh set of eyes, to get some new ideas, bring some new energy.”
For Butch Jones, this hire may be one of the most important hires he’s ever made as a head coach. Jones is heading into a pivotal fifth season as Tennessee’s head coach after a disappointing fourth year at the helm. Fans want change, and Jones appears willing to give them that.
“Again, I like a lot of things that we’re doing,” Jones stated, “but I also think it’s an exciting time for us because again, we can bring maybe some fresh ideas in here – some new things.
“I think change is good, and I think it revitalizes our players coming back.”