The Arkansas State football program was a talking point on social media this weekend following the Red Wolves’ historic 73-0 loss against Oklahoma to open up the season. Former Vol quarterback JT Shrout received the start for Arkansas State and went 12-of-26 for 148 yards and no turnovers.
Tennessee fans participated in the internet reaction and seem to have made a big impact on Jones’ analysis of the situation. During a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the Red Wolves week ahead, Jones noted “another fanbase” that was weighing in on the reaction from social media.
“I would hope there would be people that would be upset,” Jones said on Wednesday via KAIT8’s Chris Hudgison. “That means they have passion. But I also know that a lot of that is from another fan base. So I don’t pay much attention to that. I guess, the thing is, whether it’s another fan base or whether it’s this fan base, they care. Because they’re watching. So they must have some invested interest to watch.”
“I don’t pay any attention to that,” Jones continued on to say about the negative reaction. “Trust me – I’ve been in the SEC for eight years. There isn’t anything that I haven’t seen.”
A lot has been said & written in social media & elsewhere about the Arkansas State loss to Oklahoma. @MikeHarleyMedia asked Butch Jones if he addresses that with the team. Interesting response
— Chris Hudgison (@ChrisHudgison) September 6, 2023
More from RTI: Butch Jones Gets Emotional During 73-Point Loss
Jones’s response does seem to be pointing at the Tennessee fanbase as the culprit for the aforementioned reaction. But, at the same time, this is college football – Big 12/Oklahoma football, nonetheless – in the modern year of 2023 with social media as abundant as ever. The whole college football section of social media had their eyes on Oklahoma’s 73-point blowout of Arkansas State to open the season, not specifically just the Tennessee fans.
It’s strange to be covering a Butch Jones quote still, but there is a clear line connecting the unnamed fanbase to the U.T. fans. Jones’s attempt to brush off the social media noise by referring to unnamed social media noise was a fascinating move.
Arkansas State shouldn't have hired Butch Jones to begin with. He shouldn't be allowed back into his office after this one.
— Barrett Sallee 🇺🇸 (@BarrettSallee) September 2, 2023
Tennessee hired Jones as the head coach of the football program prior to the 2013 season. Jones spent the next four years as the Vols’ head coach before being fired after 10 games during his fifth season in 2017. The ex-Tennessee coach then began as an offensive analyst for the Alabama football program from December 2018 to December 2020. Arkansas State hired Jones as the Red Wolves’ next football coach to close down the 2020 calendar and ahead of the 2021 season.
From the start of his time at Arkansas State to the Red Wolves’ Week 1 loss against Oklahoma, Jones has a record of 5-20 overall.