David Climer: Butch Jones, Tennessee Vols need time to rebuild

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones yells at his players in the third quarter of the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 in Knoxville. Vanderbilt beat Tennessee 14-10.

Photo by Mark Zaleski, Associated Press

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones yells at his players in the third quarter of the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 in Knoxville. Vanderbilt beat Tennessee 14-10.

NASHVILLE — In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it’s time to stick a fork in this turkey of a football season for Tennessee’s Vols.

And here’s the scary part for UT fans: Next season will be more of the same.

The starters on both lines for the Kentucky game on Saturday night will be playing their last game for the Vols. While we can debate how well those lines performed this season, the coaching staff obviously felt those players gave them the best chance to win.

Breaking in new starting offensive and defensive lines in the SEC is hazardous to your record.

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Comments » 7

Dickattrade writes:

I would prefer to wait until next season before I start any gloom and doom.
There are always good things that can happen and maybe the inches will fall our way during a few games.

asleep#212036 writes:

I would take issue with Mr. Climer's assessment on two major points. First, he claims Butch Jones and his coaches benefitted greatly from the last Kiffin/first Dooley class, citing 9 players who significantly contributed. OK, I'll give him the O-line and that only grudgingly as I think they were vastly overrated. But Neal and the D-line/LB senior players are not elite SEC material, period. The fact that they were, sadly, important players on Team 117 tells us all we need to know. Their being the best we had available, it is no small wonder our defense wasn't even worse which brings me to my next point of dispute. He said that our defense, which "peaked" in the SC game, slid backward to Sunseri levels at season's end. Hmmmm. The next three games, the ones on which I assume he based his judgment, were Alabama and Missouri on the road, and a home date with Auburn. Offensive speed, speed, speed.... all three were loaded with it and we were terribly overmatched. The only team we played prior to that gauntlet with that much speed was.....Oregon, by the way the only other team to make our D look that bad. Once we got back to Vandy the defense looked much improved once again, as it will on Saturday. His premise that we lack team speed, especially on defense, is accurate. However, his conclusion that our defense has gotten worse since SC is flawed - prior to that game we hadn't played but one team that could fully expose the defect. The Vandy loss was a pure offensive issue, as will our fate be in Lexington on Saturday. We have run the ball waaaaay better this season, but our issues as QB have done us in, esp last week. I can't really think of much Butch and Co. could have done differently in the big picture considering all the true/RS freshmen we have starting in skill positions on offense. I'm willing to look the other way next year too, a little, but if Butch hasn't significantly changed the direction of the program by 2015, then I'll once again emotionally sit it out until the next guy comes along. Go Vols!!!

FWBVol writes:

I continue to believe the offensive line is getting a bad rap for this season. As the only veteran group on the offensive side of the ball the O-line did, IMO, a fairly good job.

This is a group that has had three starting quarterbacks, two of them being freshmen. For all practical purposes the line had no supporting cast. Yes, Neal and Lane have run well at times. And I think Neal's numbers are surprisingly good considering the lack of production in the passing game.

I'm not going to say the line didn't miss any blocks or played perfect football, but when you've got green quarterbacks with no sense of when to deliver the football it makes the line look bad. When you can't throw the ball and have to rely 100 percent on the run the defense can stack the box with eight or nine men. The last I checked there are only five offensive linemen so there is no way the can be held totally responsible for not blocking the extra defenders in the mismatch.

OrangePride writes:

I keep hearing that our team next year will really suffer because of the losses to the offensive and defensive lines. Well, offense OK. They were certainly seasoned and experienced, thus they rarely made huge mistakes and did a very good job of pass protecting in almost every game. Defensively? Well, this is one of those areas where we have vastly underperformed for the last 2 years. So new blood and new energy will not likely produce much drop off. In fact, if some of the JUCO players work out, we are likely to see a better pass rush and stronger line play. So this brings me to my point; I doubt we will be championship form next year, but I do expect to see better than 5-7......PERIOD! Yes, we will have a LOT of new faces. GOOD! We need them. And I will be interested to see some additional new playmakers at receiver. This nightmare HAS TO BE over, and over soon!! Losing to Vandy and only being competitive with Kentucky is NOT acceptable under any circumstances.

snowpeapod#263184 writes:

I only have one comment. Can anyone name me another SEC football program that hasn't had a single player arrested in the past 11 months? There may be one but if so, it escapes me.

SummerfieldVol writes:

Like I have said before, CBJ is going to find out what kind of coaching staff he has. They will be coaching (teaching) Freshmen and Redshirt Freshmen. The coaching staff will have the opportunity to show their coaching skills. The number 1 project will be to coach and produce a starting QB, so goes the QB so goes the team as far as offense is concerned. The key to Defense is the Defensive Line, stopping the run and putting pressure on the QB on pass plays. The best pass defense is QB on his back. As we have seen on our team. Now it comes back to coaching and the coaches doing the job they will be paid to do. Especially the 2.5 million the Head Coach will be paid. I am sure we all have seen teams with losing records get a new coach and have a winning season. Getting the right people in the right position makes a big difference to a lot of sports teams, Baseball,Basketball and Football. Same players different positions.

mcrocket writes:

I personally think that Coach Jones got as much as he could out of this team. Lack of depth and other factors have made it a tough year, but we will bounce back. We will have better times and he deserves the time to make it so. Coach has built a winner everywhere he has been, and those schools did not have 1/10 the resources that UT has. GO VOLS!

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