KNOXVILLE — Butch Jones’ past three games have provided enough cause for fans, alumni and boosters to have rational reasons in wanting to move on from the fifth-year head coach.

The question is: Do UT decision-makers believe the same thing?

Philip Jones, a walk-on defensive lineman (1973-1974) under Bill Battle, believes it’s time to replace Butch Jones and said the key players are on the same page. And he trusts athletic director John Currie to make it happen.

“Currie will get these guys (big money boosters) together and tell them this is who I want and he will have three mentors together backing him in Peyton Manning, Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors,” Philip Jones told Saturday Down South.

Manning and Fulmer have recently and repeatedly expressed their support of Butch Jones. Last week, Manning said “I’m all in, I’m all behind Butch Jones.” So perhaps this speaks to the trust they have in Currie’s leadership.

There is no secret of past animosity between Fulmer and Majors, but Philip Jones said “all of the skeletons in the closet have been burnt and Majors and Fulmer are absolutely on the same page now.”

Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly is mentioned for every prominent job, even those like Tennessee that aren’t open. Philip Jones thinks “he would do great at Tennessee.”

He thinks Kelly would be attracted to the Vols’ job since the talent has been elevated and that a “coach like Kelly can evaluate the talent and win.”

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Jones also added that Currie would go after Kelly or a Bobby Petrino caliber coach if and when Butch Jones is fired.

Few are more invested emotionally in the Vols than Philip Jones.

Philip Jones’ career ended before he had the opportunity to play on Saturdays inside Neyland Stadium. In the spring of 1974, Jones went in to sack Condredge Holloway in a scrimmage and he tore his ACL and MCL, ending his Volunteer playing days.

But he has given his all for Tennessee since.

Jones has carried season tickets since 1975 and attended 36 bowl games. He’s only missing 16 home games since 1974, donated over $100,000 since 1976, and has sponsored fundraisers in Nashville for the Tennessee Fund and the Big Orange Caravan over the years.

He doesn’t like what sees on Saturdays, and hasn’t for a while.

“Butch Jones can recruit and he’s a great car salesmen, but he cannot coach on Saturday,” Philip Jones said. “The biggest concern I started having with him was after the (2015) Oklahoma game when he blew a lead after halftime and said ‘halftime adjustments are overrated.'”

Jones said “halftime adjustments are what the great coaches like Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer do to win games.”

“I can’t tell you over the years the number of times when I’ve been in the locker room where I heard all of the adjustments going on. With Butch Jones saying that about adjustments, it worried me,” he said.

Jones does not “think it’s the players” and “does not think Butch is getting everything out of his players.”

Now with recruits expressing their desire to open up their recruitment process following the loss to Georgia, there is a growing sense of urgency to keep the recruiting class in tact.

Philip Jones said “if you’re going to make a change, then go ahead and make Brady Hoke the interim and try and keep the class together.”

He also says that the assistants “are more responsible for the class than Butch is” because “they are the workhorses.”

Jones also thinks Fulmer returning in an interim head coaching role to finish the season is possible. He says that “it would be a great move.”

But the interim role is only a quick fix. Philip Jones’ background of working alongside Currie with the Tennessee Fund leads him to believe that the new athletic director will bring in an elite coach.

“I got to see them up close and personal,” he said. “Currie is a very brilliant person and he will have the ink signed and dry before he lets anyone know and that’s the best way to hire a coach.”