Butch Jones needs to hold off on talk even with three SEC wins
Tennessee coach Butch Jones has made progress in his second season. The Vols (5-5, 2-4 SEC) are one win shy of surpassing their total from 2013 and ending a three-year bowl drought.
Jones, who has been vocal since his arrival in December 2012, promised Tennessee fans a turnaround after several years of losing. His preaching has brought optimism to a fanbase that has had little to cheer for. But even with a bowl appearance, Jones may want to hold off on making promises for his own sake.
The coach has already set expectations high in his second season. Even after a 5-7 finish in 2013, Jones continued to to note the Vols’ progress. When Tennessee struggled to a 3-5 (0-4) record entering November, the coach praised his young team’s ability to compete in “moral victories” against overmatched opponents.
There’s nothing wrong with building a team’s confidence, even more so when its played over 20 true freshmen. But a portion of fans began to grow weary of Jones putting a positive spin on mediocrity.
An improved record and bowl appearance shows that he has made progress in his second season, but Jones may need to limit his promises to buy himself more time.
“Brick by brick” is the most well known phrase in Knoxville. Jones has used this montra as the blueprint for Tennessee’s rebuilding process. The Vols’ recruiting success is the foundation for a rising program that should see progress in the future.
This process has worked thus far, but not at a rapid pace. Tennessee is just now finding its offensive groove and should be a promising team in 2015.
With a roster of young talent that has gained in-game experience, the Vols could be a contender in a weak SEC East. For Jones, the best decision may be to let his team speak for itself and build optimism through winning.