When starting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano had to leave the game for a few plays in the first half of Tennessee’s game against Southern Miss on Saturday, coach Butch Jones had a decision to make.
With backup Quinten Dormady out for the season, should he just go to the wildcat formation for a few plays? Or should he burn the redshirt of freshman quarterback Will McBride?
Considering Jones’ precarious hold on the job, and the fact that the Vols aren’t playing for much of consequence at this point, most people would have chosen the former. Jones, instead, went with the latter, burning McBride’s redshirt for all of three snaps.
That decision prompted a swift, and nearly unanimous, backlash against Jones. And not just from fans online — from the guys doing the halftime show on the SEC Network as well:
SEC Network crew ripping Butch Jones at halftime for his decision to burn Will McBride's redshirt pic.twitter.com/v6Ltb2T6tJ
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) November 5, 2017
If that is indeed the only playing time McBride sees this season, it is definitely going to be a difficult thing for Jones to defend. Considering how unlikely it is that he remains Tennessee’s coach beyond this season, it is likely going to be a bigger issue for Jones’ replacement than it will be for him.