KNOXVILLE — Following just the second loss to Kentucky since 1984, two things are quite clear to most who follow and support the Tennessee football program: Change must occur, and that fact is being ignored by people in position of power.

Butch Jones now stands at 33-26 (14-23 in the SEC) during his five seasons on Rocky Top and has now lost to South Carolina twice, Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the past 14 games.

Change is inevitable at this point and some Volunteers faithful began asking for it following losing to South Carolina and Vanderbilt in the second half of last season.

Others came on board a little later, following a last second loss at Florida this season. Then more voiced their displeasure after an uninspiring effort from Team 121 in a four-point win over UMass.

The next week resulted in an embarrassing 41-0 loss to Georgia, the first shutout loss the program has endured since 1994.

The time to make a change was after the Georgia game with an off week before hosting South Carolina. But Jones stayed. Having an interim head coach at that time was the fair thing to do for the student athletes going forward.

Yet first-year athletics director John Currie went silent and did not address the problems, on and off the field. Numerous incidents on top of losing games in Year 5 are fireable offenses that should have mandated immediate change.

Currie, big money boosters and University board of trustees have let down the team, alumni, fans and former players by not acting in at least a public response regarding the state of the football program.

Their silence is screaming they are bigger than the program.

The lack of response from people in power has alumni such as Paul Finebaum to use his SEC Network platform to question whether Tennessee is willing to accept mediocrity – or worse. After a 29-26 loss at Kentucky a losing culture is now being accepted at Tennessee.

Currie has made an on-field appearance the past two games at Alabama and Kentucky, but that is not good enough in communicating to the ones who sacrifice time and money to help fund the program and former players wanting answers so that the program can get back to a position to contend.

With Currie’s social media footprint and presence of trying to be transparent in the public’s eye, he should understand silence is not the answer.

He was part of the administration that forced outPhillip Fulmer as head coach in 2008, now he must act in cleaning up the mediocrity that he helped create a decade ago. The way to do that is to address the many questions, starting with why he has allowed this season to go in the direction that it has. He needs to take control of the situation.

When Currie was hired , he said that he has “a learning curve” and “I’ve also got a reacquaintance curve, and I’m going to get after it.”

He spoke of his colleagues and friends Scott Stricklin at Florida, who just removed Jim McElwain, and Greg Byrne at Alabama.

“One of the disadvantages is when you’re at a place for a while and you’re part of decisions or stuff like that, you do hurt some feelings or whatever,” Currie said. “There’s also the advantage that you know a lot of folks, too. My two good buddies, Greg (Byrne) and Scott (Stricklin), that took the Alabama and Florida jobs, they’ve never been at those places. They’ve got a learning curve.”

It didn’t take Stricklin long to know he’d seen enough. Soon, Florida will have a new football coach.

Tennessee? Stuck in limbo.

The Vols now turn the page with focus on a homecoming matchup against Southern Miss. Many alumni will return to campus this week, offering their unwavering support. It’s time for Currie to give them something worth supporting.