Butch Jones is an offensive-minded head coach.
Given Tennessee’s track record on offense this season, you would think that statement is fake news — the Vols rank dead-last among Power 5 teams in total yards per game, are 14th in the SEC in third-down conversions (there are 14 teams in the SEC, by the way), and have scored only 36 points in four conference games.
Clearly, whatever Jones and offensive coordinator Larry Scott are doing isn’t working. And for the record, Scott’s lone experience as an offensive coordinator prior to this season came during the 2004 season… for Sebring High School.
However, if you ask Jones, his offense is improving.
“Obviously, we’re all disappointed in our (offensive) performance,” Jones said. “We’re making progress in some areas. It’s not showing up on gameday.”
Furthermore, Jones also revealed that the offensive play-calling won’t change, despite saying the team “needed to run the ball more.”
At this point, there’s no way of knowing if Tennessee’s offense will make any strides on offense for the remainder of the season. It’ll likely end its 14-quarter offensive-touchdown drought against Kentucky on Saturday, but the Vols haven’t scored 20 points in a game since September 16th against Florida.
Offensive lineman Jack Jones will retire from football due to recurring neck injuries. With Chance Hall being out for the season, Tennessee’s offensive line is lacking in the depth department.
Star kick returner Evan Berry is “day-to-day” according to Jones. Despite practicing last week, Berry was unavailable against Alabama.
Suspended defensive end Darrell Taylor continues to make progress and will meet with Jones this week. Jones did not confirm if Taylor was still suspended, so there’s a chance he’ll play in Lexington on Saturday.
Jones not happy with 3-4 record
For the third time in five seasons, the Vols find themselves at 3-4 under Jones.
“Tennessee is not ok with being 3-4,” Jones said. “Butch Jones is not ok with being 3-4.”
The Vols started 3-4 during the 2014 and 2015 seasons, but finished with winning records on both occasions.
Despite negative press surrounding the program, offensive lineman Brett Kendrick offered a positive perspective.
“I don’t think the sky is falling right now,” Kendrick said. “It’s just raining a little bit.”
If losing three games in a row by a combined 85 points and already being out of the SEC East title race is “raining a little bit,” there’s no imagining what a hurricane looks like to players in Knoxville.