The writing is on the wall for Tennessee coach Butch Jones.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Florida and barely beating a winless UMass last week, Jones’ proverbial hot seat is the hottest it’s ever been. That doesn’t bode well for him as his team prepares to host undefeated Georgia on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Many believe this could be Jones’ last game as Tennessee’s head coach. On Monday, it seemed as though the coach himself was aware of his potential demise as he blamed the negativity surrounding the program on the media during his weekly press conference.
When asked whether Shy Tuttle’s injury was caused by a teammate, Jones denied the allegation, claiming he “fell on a helmet” and went on a long rant about how the media’s “negativity is overwhelming” at times and also called similar reports “fake news.”
“I’ll tell you this. Football is an emotional game. It is a competitive game. The injury was caused not by a teammate. He landed on a helmet, and that’s the truth. And I think we have to understand, what do we want out of our media? This place, with the drama. And, again, these are kids, and I think we all have children, and we’re all adults. And it’s, are we focused on Tennessee football from a recruiting standpoint, from all the positive things we’ve done, from all the positive things this football program brings to the community, this great fan base, or are we in the reality world of TV?”
Jones, while referring to several media members as “friends” and claiming he appreciated their work, still blamed reporters for the negative impact they apparently have on the program.
“But also, I love our kids, and I’m going to protect our players, and I’m going to protect our program. And sometimes the negativity is overwhelming. If everyone is Vol fans, how do we let our opponents use this in the recruiting process with fake news?Advertisement
“Sometimes, again, we have to check ourselves. What are we here for? What’s our values and principles that guide of our life every single day? And I appreciate everyone in this room. You guys have a job to do, and I’m respectful of that. I’m friends with a lot of you guys in the room, and I appreciate it. But also, there comes a certain time where enough is enough.”
Yeah, Lyle. Enough is enough. Enough with the excuses and coaching lapses. There’s no one to blame for your shortcomings except yourself.
A lot of what Jones said above is valid. Media scrutiny doesn’t help a program, especially with recruiting. But you know what prevents media scrutiny? Winning football games without making excuses.
Jones has blamed the media for the better part of his five seasons in Knoxville, but he’s a walking target for media scrutiny. Between his corny phrases and coaching lapses, it’s impossible not to write something negative about him after losing a very winnable game in the Swamp or failing to dominate against a winless UMass team.
You need to take responsibility for your own actions and stop blaming others, Lyle.