Tennessee looking to turn program around under Butch Jones

The football program at the University of Tennessee has a long and storied history, but of late, there has been very little to be happy or proud about in Knoxville.

The Tennessee Volunteers football program will attempt to turn things around starting this season and hired as their head coach, Butch Jones to lead their football program. Jones has six seasons of experience as a head coach for a FBS school at Central Michigan and then Cincinnati. Both times Jones replaced Brian Kelly at each of the schools.

Of his six seasons as a head coach, five have been winning seasons, with four shared or outright league titles and two seasons with 10 or more wins.

That was accomplished at schools that are not known for having gridiron powerhouses.

Tennessee officials decided to make the change for Jones after suffering two consecutive 5-7 seasons. They also suffered losses in one season to Kentucky followed by Vanderbilt the next. Seats were empty at games, something that never happens to the Tennessee football program.

As far as this season is concerned, the roster is not loaded with talent. Marquez North a wide out who is 6-foot-4 will be an immediate impact player and Josh Dobbs at quarterback should excel in the upbeat offensive system of Jones.

The 2014 class of signees should be much better for the Volunteers and some football experts have said it is the No. 4 class in the nation headlined by Jalen Hurd a running back taken in state.

When Jones was announced as the next Volunteers head coach, he was greeted with more of a polite applause than anything else. Of course, it is not surprising since it seemed the school was very close to hiring Charlie Strong, Mike Gundy or the most popular choice Jon Gruden.

The recruitment Jones has done will help make him in the future, but with fans, trustees and supporters all remembering the name of the other coaches on the list of possible new head coaches, he might not get the slack from the Tennessee faithful he would like with regard to the results on the field this fall.

Looking to the future, the biggest advantage Jones has is he is coaching at the University of Tennessee a football program with very good resources, tradition and a recognition factor of challenging for both conference and national championships. The program will not be as bad as it has been for the last five seasons.

The toughest challenge for Jones and the program moving forward is being able to take top recruits from the states bordering Tennessee and occasionally get a blue-chip national recruit. Those days were lost the past five seasons and could be hard to get back. Part of the reason is thanks to the headline coaches that have come on the scene like Mark Richt in Georgia and Steve Spurrier in South Carolina.

As far as this coming season, Tennessee should have a strong offensive line with four starters returning. Defensively A.J. Johnson the team’s all conference linebacker returns and has a front seven that has experience. However, most of their secondary was lost.

Making things even harder will be games played on the road against the likes of Florida, Oregon and the national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. The Vols should win 6 or 7 games on the season, but playing in a bowl game might be a stretch.

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