Butch Jones Wants More Positive Affirmations From Writers?


Head Coach Butch Jones asked the media to be more positive about the Vols program in his post game comments.

Butch was asked just why the adjustments made by South Carolina defense stymied his Tennessee offense in the second half. “We are building something special here” Jones replied. “We need people to be more positive around here” he went on to say.

The Vols came dangerously close to losing yet another game after surging to a quick 17-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game. Tennessee withstood a steady post Spurrier Carolina comeback attempt to escape the damp Knoxville night thanks to Malik Foreman. Yes Malik Foreman.

Foreman punched the ball out of the hands of a Gamecock receiver on his way deep into Tennessee territory with just 30 seconds in the game remaining. South Carolina trailed just by three. I am convinced the receiver would have scored, or that the Gamecocks would have scored a touchdown on the next play but for Foreman’s heads up play.

Foreman also broke up a third down pass play two series earlier that looked as if it would allow the Vols to seal the deal with just under 3 minutes to play. Should have know better by now huh? A quick three and out ensued by Joshua Dobbs and company. Offensive Coordinator Mike Debord went empty backfield on the first play of the crucial drive to end the game, or extend it for South Carolina as would be the case….again.

Dobbs pass was promptly batted down. Next play was a misread keeper by Dobbs on the option. Next play was a pass to Jalen Hurd that was not near him in any shape or form. Daniels punted.

Tennessee would have yet another opportunity with just over two minutes to go. Another Debord three and out (when all you must have is a first down) gave the Gamecocks the opportunity to win the game with under two minutes to play.

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South Carolina went 63 yards in 5 plays with no timeouts in 43 seconds. Are you kidding me? South Carolina? Perry Orth quarterbacking? Thank God for Foreman’s play and Jalen Reeves-Maybin on the recovery. This was not going to end well for Tennessee if that receiver held on to the ball.

I always write positively about the Vols. I am a passionate fan. I went to school there with my wife, and have had two children graduate there, and one is still there as a Junior. I am invested. Have been my entire life. I am all Vol.

But I can’t be too positive here on this game. Tennessee is like a race horse that is great out of the gate but struggles to finish. I realize Tennessee is young. I realize that Tennessee is undersized and overmatched on the offensive line no matter who they play. But this team plays undisciplined and unfocused after a lead is built.

Teams tend to take on the character of their coaching staff. I have always said I think Tennessee goes in at halftime and each player receives a juice box and a box of animal crackers while other teams x and o and yell and scream. The Vols get the Saturday Night Live “I’m Ok, Your Ok” affirmations of Al Franken.

Well here is something I am positive about. Please forgive me Vol fans as it is hard for me to be like this. I am glad they won the game. I have seen the Vols lose too many of these not to appreciate it. But here is my positive thought.

I am positive that until Tennessee learns to go to the I Formation with Alex Ellis or Jacob Johnson in front o Jalen Hurd that we will be in these situations more and more as time goes on. I am positive that we won’t always be in position to get a lucky punch on the ball (from behind no less) and recover the ball. I am positive we will lose a percentage of those games late if this keeps up.

We have to get 10 yards and a first down. The zero read is not a good offense to make “have to get yards”. It takes what the defense gives you. You have a back on the same level as Fournette and Henry. Line him up with a fullback and watch him get 10 yards in 3 plays. At least you can go play action, roll the quarterback and hit a short pass for the first down.

You don’t take what the defense will give you.You take what you want, when you want it, and that is how you win. I realize that is simplistic and easier written than done. Their guys are on scholarship as well and are big time players. But that is a winning mentality.

Butch wants positives. Butch wants affirmations. Butch wants to be told he is good and that his team is good. Again, the team reflects leadership. Sometimes things don’t go your way. In football it comes down to man vs man. You have to be more physical than the other guy. It does not matter how glowingly people speak or write of you.

Get more physical and finish the dang game. That is how you positively win, and how you get positive reviews.