Clarksville Tn – It took 19 days and several “no’s” from other possible coaching candidates before the University of Tennessee found its next head football coach in Cincinnati’s Lyle Allen “Butch” Jones, Jr. But as hard as it turned out in getting a new coach, now the real work begins on Rocky Top.
True, the Volunteers have a long and storied past when it comes to football, with six national championships, 49 bowl appearances and 25 bowl wins, but you have to go back to 2008 — and a 21-17 victory over Wisconsin — for its last postseason victory and back another 10 years for its last Southeastern Conference and overall national championship season in 1998. In fact it’s gotten so bad of late for the football program in Knoxville it has suffered through its first three consecutive-seasons under .500 finishes since the 1909-11 campaigns.
Still Jones came out and said the Tennessee job was his dream job, but it will be an up-hill “fixer-upper” effort to bring the Vols back to its former SEC power position. He won’t have a lot of time to do it, as this is prime recruiting time, the lifeblood of any successful program. The 44-year old must start out showing the fanbase, alumni and supporters he will bring back stability and order to the program – something that has been lacking at times during the Derek Dooley era.
Along with reinvigorating the fan base, he must retain and hire a quality coaching staff with University of Tennessee ties, or at the very least ties to the southeastern part of the country because he himself doesn’t have many ties to the southeast so he needs coaches that do.
Sure, Jones needs to assemble a staff he is comfortable with, but former Vol standout Jay Graham served on Dooley’s staff as a running backs coach and would likely be one that could stay on staff; as well as offensive line coach Sam Pittman – both are player favorites and quality coaches. Another name that has been bantered around as a possible addition to the coaching staff is Tee Martin, who quarterbacked the 1998 national championship team and is currently on the USC staff.
As for recruiting, National Signing Day is less than two months away – which is tough enough already — and presents a difficult challenge for a new coach taking over a program. Luckily, it looks like Tennessee has been able to hold on to its 18 committed prospects that Dooley recruited, but those players — and other prospects — were waiting to see who would be brought in.
Tennessee is in good position with several top prospects (Vonn Bell/5-star safety, Marquez North/4-star wide receiver, Derrick Green/5-star running back among others), but it’s crunch time and now that’s Jones is on board, he must get out there and sell himself and the program.
Only time will tell if he was the right coach, but I think Tennessee could have done a lot worst.
About Hank Bonecutter
Hank is a forty year broadcast veteran, talk show host, writer, producer, and stand-up comedian. Hank is the President of Bonehead Promotions and Clarksville Sports Network.com, and is a contributing author/journalist for Clarksville Online. Hank is an advertising consultant, and social media adviser/manager for exclusive customers.
Web Site: http://clarksvillesportsnetwork.com/
SectionsRoll Call with Sarge
TopicsButch Jones, Chris Austin, Cincinnatti, Derek Dooley, Derrick Green, Jay Graham, knoxville tennessee, Marquez North, Sam Pittman, SEC, Southeastern Conference, Tee Martin, Tennessee Football, University of Tennessee, Vonn Bell
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