ESPN Says Butch Jones is Under Most Pressure in SEC in 2017

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    According to ESPN’s Edward Aschoff, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is facing the most pressure among SEC head coaches going into the 2017 football season.

    Aschoff compiled a list of the six SEC head coaches under the most pressure heading into the 2017 football season, and Butch Jones topped that list. Aschoff clarified that all the coaches on the list aren’t “in trouble of actually losing their jobs, but they are all feeling the most pressure for various reasons.”

    While Aschoff doesn’t specify if he believes Jones’s job is at stake heading into this season, he does mention the Vols’ disappointing 2016 season and Jones’ comments such as “champions of life” and “five-star hearts” that have led to Jones’ relationship with fans taking “lumps.”

    Aschoff states that Tennessee’s 2016 season “was a major disappointment at Tennessee, and Vols fans want — and deserve — more.”

    He does go on to defend Jones, claiming that making and winning a bowl game for three straight seasons and winning nine games in consecutive seasons are reason for optimism. But Aschoff notes the Vols are facing an uphill battle in 2017.

    “With so many solid departures on his roster and an almost complete offensive overhaul, the deck is stacked against Tennessee,” Aschoff writes. “But being overlooked could be a good thing for Jones and the Vols.”

    Butch Jones has earned a 30-21 overall record while at Tennessee, but his Vol squads have won just 14 of their 32 SEC games under Jones. Jones is winless against Alabama and the rest of the SEC West, and he’s notoriously 2-2 against Vanderbilt in his four years at Tennessee.

    The Vols did earn their first victory in 11 years over Florida last season and also defeated Georgia for the second consecutive season, but fans quickly forgot those triumphs after the Vols lost to South Carolina and lost the SEC East in the process.

    Butch Jones in undoubtedly under more pressure this season than he has been his entire head coaching career. Jones may not be fired even after another disappointing season in 2017, but most Vol fans would be less likely to make excuses for Jones should the 2017 season fail to deliver.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.