How can Butch Jones get Vols to next level?

ESPN.com college football writer Chris Low stopped by the WBIR studios to talk about Tennessee's season and what Butch Jones needs to do going forward to get Tennessee to the next level.

Butch Jones has done some really good things at Tennessee, both on and off the field.

When he arrived in December 2012, the Vols were coming off their third straight losing season. That hadn't happened since 1911.

Tennessee was also in serious danger of facing penalties from the NCAA due to a low Academic Progress Rate, which measures the eligibility and progress toward graduation of a team's student-athletes.

Jones helped orchestrate a monumental turnaround to avoid the penalties and the team has posted the best APR score in program history in each of the last three academic years.

On the field, after going 5-7 in 2013, Jones has led Tennessee to three straight winning seasons and two bowl victories (with another bowl game still to be played) and restored the talent on the roster to a level necessary to win in the SEC. 

He also has ended some horrid streaks, like the 11-game losing streak to rival Florida.

The Vols are relevant again.

Now it's time to take the next step.

Tennessee finished the 2016 regular season at 8-4, the same regular season record they had in 2015.

Losses to Vanderbilt and South Carolina (both have 6-6 records) prevented the Vols from reaching the SEC Championship Game in a year when they were certainly talented enough to do so. 

Fans expect the Vols to be on the highest level - competing for and winning championships at the division, conference and national levels.

How can Jones get them there?

We asked ESPN.com college football writer Chris Low:

"It's times like this that you forget all the good work Butch has done. He was the perfect guy in a lot of ways to bridge that gap from Dooley to where they are now. He won a lot of battles on campus, recruited well, upgraded the roster. I think all Tennessee fans are asking, can he get them to that next level and win championships and swim in those championship waters on a consistent basis," Low said.

"I think he's probably going to have to tweak his staff, I don't know what that is. I think you'll see him do something with the strength and conditioning program. Bob Shoop, to me, is a good defensive coordinator. His track record speaks for itself. Was it his best year? Maybe not, but he did not have all of his bullets so I don't think you assess or evaluate Bob Shoop simply on this season. It's tough when you come in as a defensive coordinator and you don't bring your guys, that hurts. I think look at the staff, maybe you shuffle some things, the strength and conditioning program and they just have to be better in close games and be a more consistent football program. Where does that start? I think that goes right to the top with the head football coach."

 


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment