Tennessee coach Butch Jones supports embattled kicker
Tennessee coach Butch Jones’ hasn’t changed his stance on kicker Aaron Medley.
“No,” Jones said flatly when asked if he would open up the place-kicking competition this week after the sophomore struggled against Alabama. “Aaron Medley is our kicker.”
That was very similar to what Jones said after the Bama game, in which Medley missed three field goal attempts from 51, 51 and 43 yards. He missed another that was negated when Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban called a timeout in hopes of icing the sophomore kicker.
Medley looked to be the heir apparent to succeed a long list of successful kickers at Tennessee when he debuted last season. As a freshman in 2014, Medley made 20-of-26 field goal attempts. This season, Medley is 9-of-17.
“We have great confidence in Aaron,” Jones said. “He makes those kicks in practice. He’ll get those things corrected. We’re going to need him down the stretch.”
Jones wouldn’t exactly say if Medley’s misses would affect Tennessee’s play calling in the future. However, the Vols have a high success rate of converting on fourth downs (5-of-7) and sophomore punter Trevor Daniel has proven surprisingly solid this season.
“There’s so much that goes into that decision making process,” Jones said.
Tennessee has another kicker with game experience on its roster: junior George Bullock. However, he has only handled kickoffs in a game.
Jones said he believes some of the challenge for Medley is mental. However, his faith hasn’t wavered – at least publicly.
“We believe in Aaron Medley,” Jones said. “He’s shown it. He’s proven it…We have great confidence in him and I know he has great confidence in himself.”