HOOVER, Ala. — Butch Jones didn’t give the media who were looking to troll him (what’s his latest catchphrase, how many cliches) -much to work with at SEC Media Days on Monday.
The Tennessee head coach instead delivered solid story lines and updates on injured players’ health.
While other SEC coaches sidestepped questions about unsettled quarterback battles, Jones embraced it and opened up to the idea of playing two quarterbacks in games.
Jones did, in fact, make it pretty clear he’s more than ready to play both Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano.
As for the disappointed media, it seems if they can’t make fun of Jones’ catchphrases, they’ll choose to attack him for what he doesn’t say.
When asked if he was disappointed by last year’s 9-4 season — an odd question considering only Florida and Alabama won as many or more in the SEC last season– Jones acknowledged Tennessee fell short of its goals.
The Vols’ coach did not, however, say it was disappointing because he has said repeatedly he felt his team did the best it could under the circumstances of a demanding early-season schedule and injuries.
How demanding? Tennessee opened the season with four FBS division champions and then played at Georgia, and then played at then-Top 10 ranked and undefeated Texas A&M.
And then played Alabama, at which point the training room looked like a mash unit en route to 17 starters missing games with injuries.
Jones didn’t get to where he is in the coaching ranks by dwelling on failure or pouring his heart of emotions out in front of a room filled with strangers.
In fact, I’m trying to remember the last time any SEC coach came to preseason media day and spoke about how disappointed they were with the previous season.
The Vols’ players brought down to SEC Media Days didn’t appreciate the “hot seat” questions about their head coach, either.
Tennessee had better win games or it will only get worse.
It is interesting that many of the same people in the media who complain about what a circus college football has become are the first to criticize when it’s not a circus.