Butch Jones focused on development and recruiting, calls speed issue 'glaring'

ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton, left, can’t catch Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates on a play during the first half on Saturday Neyland Stadium.

Photo by Adam Lau

ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee defensive back Cameron Sutton, left, can’t catch Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates on a play during the first half on Saturday Neyland Stadium.

On Saturday, Tennessee coach Butch Jones called the difference in speed between Auburn and the Vols “vivid.”

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Comments » 13

rockypop writes:

I'll repeat an earlier post - sure the speed differential is glaringly different between UT and the top echelon of SEC teams, but the difference in the fundamentals of tackling and blocking are even more glaring. And, that's something that can and should be corrected in spite of the talent gap.

I'm not sure if it's coaching or just the lack of players' ability, but watching teams like Alabama, Auburn and Missouri block and tackle, it's apparent that Tennessee has a long way to go to compete on the same playing field.

The good SEC teams are "bullying" Tennessee at the line of scrimmage, and then taking advantage of them in the secondary. After the first half, UT's starters have nothing in the tank and not much on the bench to spell them. It's like UT has become the Vanderbilt of the last five years.

CBJ may think he has the answer, and as a Cincy grad, I believe in him, but I still worry that he may not get enough time to put his system to work with all the right players. He may be putting together a great class for '14, but he has to match that for the next two years and beyond just to catch up to the top level of the SEC. And, in addition, he's going to need some of the elite programs to take a step back as well.

wigmeister writes:

Because of the strength of the SEC, when you falter, you drop much faster than you can rebuild. This started a long time ago, the last couple years of Fulmer, exacerbated by Kiffin and Dooley. Rome wasn't built in a day, they say, and TN won't be either. Every good recruiting class will boost us higher. It is just going to take time.

trek writes:

in response to wigmeister:

Because of the strength of the SEC, when you falter, you drop much faster than you can rebuild. This started a long time ago, the last couple years of Fulmer, exacerbated by Kiffin and Dooley. Rome wasn't built in a day, they say, and TN won't be either. Every good recruiting class will boost us higher. It is just going to take time.

Exactly.

johndavid writes:

The speed difference is a step or 2 at best, we have nobody within 10 steps?

Scheme on offense is a glaring difference also!

namici#1422384 writes:

Let's take a look at Ole Miss. One good recruiting class by Hugh Freeze (currently playing this year).

They completely dominated Texas
Laid an egg against Alabama
Were competitive with Auburn (Lost 22-30)
Lost to aTm and Johnny Football by 3
Beat LSU
Destroyed Idaho
Beat Arkansas by 10
Remaining: Troy, Mizzou, Miss St. Likely win 2 of those, maybe even 3

Takeaway?--Don't underestimate the power of a single solid recruiting class like Hugh Freeze pulled in last year.

VolFolks writes:

in response to rockypop:

I'll repeat an earlier post - sure the speed differential is glaringly different between UT and the top echelon of SEC teams, but the difference in the fundamentals of tackling and blocking are even more glaring. And, that's something that can and should be corrected in spite of the talent gap.

I'm not sure if it's coaching or just the lack of players' ability, but watching teams like Alabama, Auburn and Missouri block and tackle, it's apparent that Tennessee has a long way to go to compete on the same playing field.

The good SEC teams are "bullying" Tennessee at the line of scrimmage, and then taking advantage of them in the secondary. After the first half, UT's starters have nothing in the tank and not much on the bench to spell them. It's like UT has become the Vanderbilt of the last five years.

CBJ may think he has the answer, and as a Cincy grad, I believe in him, but I still worry that he may not get enough time to put his system to work with all the right players. He may be putting together a great class for '14, but he has to match that for the next two years and beyond just to catch up to the top level of the SEC. And, in addition, he's going to need some of the elite programs to take a step back as well.

I agree. Take a look at the tackling? "technique" in the photo with this article.

But I was glad to see we at least had a screen pass in the playbook against Auburn. Where was it against the hard rushing Mizz Tigers, especially after So. Carolina used it so effectively?

SummerfieldVol writes:

A good example of team speed is the 2009 Sugar Bowl with Alabama vs Utah. Utah ate Alabama up with team speed. Alabama was bigger but a whole lot slower. This late in the season I think I would at least play the fastest DE'S I had to keep runningbacks from turning the corner,I would also have my fastest linebacks at outside linebacker position. We need to turn the wide plays inside where the help is. The priority is to plug the middle. We can not keep giving a team 2nd and 5 or less, we are digging a whole we can't get out of. If we can keep it 3rd and 6 or more we are pretty much sure it will be a passing play instead of not knowing with 3rd and 2. They could run or pass. We are going to have to control the line of scrimmage. The team that controls the line of scrimmage wins the game.

alphaaln#253430 writes:

Did anyone see Baylor beat OK? They did it by rarely missing a one on one tackle.

psychovol2 writes:

When you get beat and embarrassed this bad everything is suspect and I mean everything. I'm a fan of CBJ but he better acclimate quick to the SEC or he too will go the way of the dodo bird. That was a Dooleyesque performance even the master couldn't muster.

southernbelle79 writes:

You know whose performance I was most embarrassed by? The fans, including the students. Our team ran out on the field to an 80% full stadium. The fans sat on their hands most of the game, and then quit on the team early in the third quarter.

It was a painful game to watch, because we were outmatched. But as a Vol fan, this is my team, so I was there early and stayed to the end. The team and the coaches gave it their all throughout. The fans? Not so much.

Alpha-Snail writes:

I grew up in Knoxville but live outside of Atlanta now. Folks down here remember Willie Martinez and John Janseck. They get a lot of blame for some bad years at Georgia. Their current defensive staff is considered much better. After these last three games, I see why.

GreerVol22 writes:

Alpha is right, hearing the same here in SC from local UGA fans....Where o where are the linebackers? Every long run they simply disappear. Not filling gaps, not getting of blocks, and most glaringly out of position taking bad angles for tackles. You cant fix the speed with what we have now, but technique is pityful with this bunch....is someone consulting Sunseri?

SewaneeVolFan writes:

in response to alphaaln#253430:

Did anyone see Baylor beat OK? They did it by rarely missing a one on one tackle.

I watched Baylor whip OK, and although I agree they rarely missed a one-on-one tackle, what I saw most was tremendous athleticism and awesome speed on both sides of the ball.

We're paying for the recruiting tactics of the last two coaches. Kiffin went for a certain kind of NFL prospect who would go with his system and ran off Taj Boyd and Bryce Petty, both of whom have turned out pretty well. Dooley couldn't take a chance on attrition, so he recruited high character, high effort players who'd stay for four years, sacrificing speed and athleticism for having some semblance of security and some semblance of consistent numbers.

Recently, I've been watching again some of the games from the end of Fulmer's career. While it IS true that a couple of times the record dipped below .500, he also recruited an awful lot of players who are in the NFL right now, and that at a time that the Saban's and Meyer's were making serious inroads into areas Fulmer had recruited well previously. And had Fulmer gotten in the Boyds and Pettys and not been forced to hire Clawson, he might have been able to turn things around, although of course we'll never know.

However it happened, though, the cupboard was left pretty bare for Coach Jones, so we've had to put up with being taken out behind the woodshed a few times this year.

But I'm convinced this coaching staff understands both recruiting and coaching, and they'll get some extremely fast, athletic players, and they'll coach them up.

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