Nationally syndicated Fox radio and television host Colin Cowherd had some strong words about Tennessee coach Butch Jones on Thursday.
Discussing Chip Kelly, who could be one of the hottest names on the college football coaching market next year if he’s still available after recently being fired by the San Francisco 49ers, Cowherd said that Tennessee should be a place that the former Oregon head coach should consider.
“That’s a gold standard job,” Cowherd said of Tennessee.” If you ask me the 10 best coaching jobs in college – that doesn’t mean they’re winning right now, but these have fertile recruiting. It’s USC, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Florida and Tennessee – 10 best jobs in college football.”
Of course, Tennessee has a head coach right now. Cowherd, however, doesn’t think very highly of Jones and predicts that he’ll be out following the 2017 season.
“Tennessee’s got Butch Jones, and I don’t mean to be mean, but remember when Tennessee beat Georgia this year?” he said. “Do you remember his reaction? Does this look like Nick Saban to you? I want you to watch this (as video of Jones celebrating at Georgia plays on screen). Does that say John Wooden, (Bill) Belichick, Andy Reid, Nick Saban, Bo Schembechler – crying on the field? Hell, they beat Georgia, they didn’t even beat Alabama. He’s a gym teacher. There’s coaches and gym teachers. He’s not an elite coach. He’s a nice guy. He would not be a candidate for any other top-25 job in America. Tennessee is a gold-standard job, and he ain’t beating Saban next year and he’s probably out of work. That job you take (if you’re Kelly).”
It’s a little early to fire up the 2017 coaching search rumors for UT. Jones, despite falling short of expectations in 2016, certainly has at least one more year to prove himself.
There’s been clear improvement in almost every area of the program since Jones took over, and he does have a lot of talent on the 2017 roster. So the “gym teacher” comment might be a little over the top, but Cowherd is correct in his assessment that this is a huge year for Jones – one that might be win or else for him.
And if there’s an opening in Knoxville? Kelly should be one of the first calls if he’s available.