By David Bradford, for VFL Insider
It was recently revealed in an edition of Lindsy Sports that a few SEC head coaches anonymously ripped into Tennessee head coach Butch Jones.
The Butcher is no stranger to criticism, as his career has slowly morphed into a giant meme and is on the receiving end of relentless bashing from a certain segment of the Volunteer community that shall remain nameless.
Here are some of the quotes:
“When you’re in your fourth year and the defense is that bad, that ain’t good. The thing about Tennessee this year, they don’t have a quarterback, they don’t have a running back, and for all those guys they’ve signed, I don’t see any dominant, draftable players.”
“A part of me says Butch Jones has done a good job. A part of me says no. I think he’s too concerned with what the media says than doing his job. If you win, the media doesn’t matter. If you lose, everything matters. I think he gets caught up in public opinion. I think he’s an insecure guy.”
“Tennessee hasn’t won 10 games (since 2007). No way they should go 10 years at Tennessee and not win 10-11 games. No way. That’s an indictment on the coaches, the school, the president. You have the resources, the fan passion, the stadium, the financial commitment.”
First, let’s eliminate Nick Saban from potential perpetrators. He’s an asshole and a Sith Lord, but he won’t bash a competitor. Neither would Ed Orgeron, who is months away from sending LSU into its dark ages.
Regardless of who said, is there validity to the statements?
Yes and no.
Let’s start with the obvious. Butch is an insecure man who cares way too much about his image and how the media perceives his image. Credit to him for always keeping the same robotic demeanor, but his act is running shallow. We know when he’s bothered, which is often these days.
Next, Butch has done a fine job at reviving a once-proud program from the depths of Hell. Remember, if you look at a calendar, the year 2013 doesn’t immediately come after 1998. In between are seasons of ineptitude that made Tennessee’s fan base/resources irrelevant to the equation.
And lastly, Butch shouldn’t be blamed for last season’s defensive collapse. The entire interior of the defensive line was essentially slashed due to injuries, as was the offensive line at points. And while this team won’t yield anywhere near six NFL draft picks, that doesn’t necessarily mean the team can’t win nine games.
At the end of the day, people are going to say whatever they want in whichever fashion they want, but at some point, we have to be objective about Butch’s performance so far. He may be insecure, but not everything is his fault.
For more perspectives on the quotes, check out what Austin and Zach had to say about the topic on Wednesday’s A to Z Sports.