In this scenario, maybe there’s a chance Butch Jones saves his job at Tennessee (or not)
Here’s your chance to weigh in on Tennessee football, via our mailbag column featuring the best questions supplied to SEC Country beat writer Mike Griffith from the Tennessee Volunteers Insiders page on Facebook or Mike’s Twitter account @MikeGriffith32.
Look for the Question of the Day Tuesday through Friday on the Tennessee SEC Country page.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee tailback John Kelly said the Vols don’t plan on letting one game define their season, but there’s a possibility that one game could have sealed the fate of Butch Jones.
Tennessee’s 41-0 loss to Georgia last Saturday was the worst shutout loss in Neyland Stadium history. Even worse, it happened on a national stage with CBS and Peyton Manning in the house to be honored amid an orange-and-white checkered audience.
This leads us to our Question of the Day:
“Mike, let’s say Tennessee turns it around, still loses to Bama but pulls off an 8-4, 9-3 season. Do they still keep Butch? — Eric Filas
That’s a definite maybe at this point, because there are still several yet-to-be determined variables.
Even in a scenario in which the Vols win every remaining game except for Alabama — and a bowl game, to boot — some will be unhappy that Jones has not produced an SEC East Division title in five seasons.
First things first: The Tennessee players need to show they are still willing to play hard for Jones against South Carolina.
If the Vols beat the Gamecocks and are competitive against Alabama, that opens the door for Jones to save his job with a strong finish to the season and a top recruiting class.
But if Tennessee isn’t competitive against South Carolina and gets blown out against Alabama, the possibility of an interim coach comes about, and a coaching search begins in earnest.
The Tennessee administration would need to make a decision at that point if it’s all-in on investing the resources to pull in a marquee name.
Problem is, there are no slam dunks out there. Texas learned that with Charlie Strong.
For now, Jones is in control, and if the Vols are willing and capable of playing hard for him and executing, there’s still a chance he could return to lead the program into the future.