Heading into the bye week, and fresh off a disastrous 41-0 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs at home, Jones discussed Todd Kelly Jr.’s season-ending injury, how the quarterback play must improve, and blocking outside noise.
Todd Kelly Jr. to miss the entirety of the 2017 season
Star safety Todd Kelly Jr. will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving knee surgery in Florida. Kelly will be eligible for a medical redshirt and is set to return for the 2018 season.
Jones calls for improvement at quarterback position
Both Quinten Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano struggled against Georgia on Saturday. Dormady completed only 6-of-15 passes and tossed two interceptions, while Guarantano threw for 17 yards on seven pass attempts.
“You know, we always say it, but (we need) consistency (from them),” Jones said. “The ability to make the routine play and calls. A command presence about themselves… at the line of scrimmage.”
Jones attested Dormady’s turnover problems to a combination of inaccuracy and failures in the decision-making process.
“The No. 1 statistic for winning is turnover margin,” Jones said. “We’ve always prided ourselves in the turnover margin… it’s an area of this team that needs to step up.”
Blocking the outside noise
With questions of Jones’ job security filling the air waves and social media platforms, it’s crucial for the state of Tennessee recruiting that Jones and the recruits block out the noise. This is especially true after offensive lineman Venzell Boulware announced he was leaving the program, while a few committed recruits have recently opened up their recruitments.
However, Jones is confident that his 2018 recruiting class — which currently ranks No. 6 overall in the country — will remain in tact.
“It stems from relationships,” Jones said. “… we live in a week-to-week society. These players and families have been here a lot on campus. They know what we’re about as coaches. They know what we’re about as people… they know this program and where we’re headed.”
Jones later stated that he wakes up in the morning, goes to work, and doesn’t listen to anything. This statement comes one week after an infamous 2-minute rant where Jones called the media “reality TV” and said that the negativity surrounding the program was “overwhelming.”
Offensive line lacked synergy against Georgia
Against the Bulldogs, Tennessee’s offensive line was routinely overwhelmed. That was obvious when watching the game live, but when Jones investigated the film, it was a lot worse than he originally had imagined.
“That’s why you watch the tape over and over again,” Jones said. “We’ve talked to our team about synergy. It’s everyone working together… nine individuals would do the right thing… but if 11 individuals are not working collectively as one, you’re not going to have success.”
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 3, 2017