It’s time for preseason magazines to start hitting shelves, and one of the more nationally acclaimed publications, the Lindy’s 2017 SEC Preview magazine, is officially out. And this year’s edition features a section where SEC coaches spoke anonymously about other SEC teams and coaches.
Several coaches had comments about the state of Tennessee’s football program and the job Butch Jones has done thus far as head coach. And according to an article by 247Sports that took quotes from the magazine, the opinions about the Vols aren’t exactly glowing from opposing SEC coaches.
Keep in mind that these quotes have been given anonymity by Lindy’s.
One coach claimed that for all the publicity Tennessee’s recruiting has been given, the results haven’t reflected the hype:
“When you’re in your fourth year and the defense is that bad, that ain’t good. The thing about Tennessee this year, they don’t have a quarterback, they don’t have a running back, and for all those guys they’ve signed, I don’t see any dominant, draftable players.”
Another coach was critical of the way Butch Jones has handled the media and criticism while at Tennessee:
“A part of me says Butch Jones has done a good job. A part of me says no. I think he’s too concerned with what the media says than doing his job. If you win, the media doesn’t matter. If you lose, everything matters. I think he gets caught up in public opinion. I think he’s an insecure guy.”
And another coach’s criticisms went beyond just Jones and critiqued the entire program over the last decade:
“Tennessee hasn’t won 10 games (since 2007). No way they should go 10 years at Tennessee and not win 10-11 games. No way. That’s an indictment on the coaches, the school, the president. You have the resources, the fan passion, the stadium, the financial commitment.”
As the last coach stated, the Vols haven’t won 10 games in a season since 2007 and have been tantalizingly close the last couple years under Jones. But for one reason or another, the Vols have fallen short of that milestone the last two seasons.
Jones is heading into his fifth season as the Vols’ head coach this year. The Vols’ record improved every year under Jones until his fourth year when Tennessee posted a 9-4 record for a second straight season. Many fans and media members alike have been critical of Jones after the way the Vols collapsed last season and let the SEC East title slip through their grasp.
This season is a pivotal year for both Jones and Tennessee. Many starters from last season are gone, but the roster is full of potential. But potential doesn’t win games, and the coaching staff and team will have to prove themselves on the field in the fall in order for fans to believe.