It took some time, but it seems as if we’re all slowly making our way onto the Butch Jones bandwagon. We had to go through our meltdown, but now we’ve all been recycled and repurposed as brand new Tennessee fans once again. We’re like water bottles: emptied emotionally, cast away, melted down, and inevitably turned into… you guessed it. A new water bottle!
Derek Dooley took a lot out of this fanbase emotionally, and I suspect that contributed heavily to the delusions of grandeur from Knoxville (and parts unknown) associated with this coaching search – that along with the fact that some of you ARE, in fact, psychotic. However, after threatening not to renew your season tickets and ceasing your donations, the majority of you appear to be back on those Big Orange tracks. Granted, none of us are really sure where the hell this train is headed.
But, since we’re all here, it’s time to talk about something important: offense.
You may be saying to yourself, “But, Ryan, offense is dumb and you’re dumb and this is the SEC.” Two out of three ain’t bad, but what Butch Jones is going to do philosophically with this offense is the single greatest asset Butch Jones brings to the table. And even though we scored in bunches last season, the way Butch Jones’ offenses are going to score will define how and if we can separate ourselves from the rest of the SEC East, the conference as a whole, and inevitably the country.
If you take one single thing from the Derek Dooley era at Tennessee before filing the rest of it away to the dark, damp space of your brain where your nightmares manifest, it had better be that we can’t do things like Nick Saban. Not without Nick Saban, at least.
Yes, I understand that playing defense and running the football have been pillars of SEC football since before you first smelled the whiskey burning down Copperhead Road, but nobody in this conference can run the football and play defense quite like Alabama does. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t run the football and play defense altogether.
Butch Jones still wants to do both of those things; he just wants to do them differently. That scares some of you because, “He’s only ever played with Brian Kelly’s players.” It’s a legitimate concern to wonder whether he can recruit at this level of college football, but as a coach, being a Brian Kelly disciple is something that most people in college football are welcoming right now.
Kelly took the Irish from the brink of irrelevance to the national championship game in three seasons, and he did it at Notre Dame with millions of the most judgmental people on the planet watching: Catholics. Butch Jones comes from that coaching tree. I, for one, am effing ecstatic.
Jones came out in his opening press conference and stated bluntly that Tennessee was going to play fast offensively – they were going to run an up-tempo no-huddle offense. However, don’t confuse that with the Air Raid offense you saw from Mike Leach at Texas Tech and now at Washington State.
It may look similar before the snap, but the principles are very different and if you need an example of how Butch Jones is going to do things, but you aren’t necessarily brave enough to watch Big East football, then I urge you – again – to watch Brian Kelly’s team at Notre Dame and if you don’t like Brian, why don’t you take a look at Chip out in Oregon – they’re both predominantly running football teams. Sure they spread teams out, but they do so to assess the numbers game at the line of scrimmage and then empower their playmakers to make plays in space.
They do that by reading and optioning defenders, creating mismatches on the edge and getting lineman to the second level. I could spend time diagramming the read option and other basic principles of these offenses, but I’m lazy and it’s already been done so well by Smart Football and Grantland’s Chris Brown in this piece on Oregon.
Essentially, the piece illustrates how, even though the tempo makes it look new-fangled, after the snap it operates via several very basic fundamental principles. The same sort of power-running principles this conference has embraced for so long.
That’s exactly what Butch Jones is going to try to do here at the University of Tennessee. If he can do it successfully, it could bring Tennessee rightfully back to the forefront of college football too.
I understand that there will be a lot of concern over whether or not Butch Jones and Jon Jancek’s teams play defense, but playing defense boils down to the kind of athletes he recruits, and that’s something that takes time to truly determine. However, offensively, if Butch Jones can out-scheme defenses, that’s where he’ll be able to separate himself from the pack.
If he can’t, then we’ll scrap the system for parts and head back to the heap to find someone who can make this damn train chug. For God’s sake, let’s hope Jon Gruden has a job by then.
I don't see Bray coming back, and i think that is probably a good thing for the VOLS. Don't get me wrong, i think Bray is talented, but I don't think he holds the character of being a team leader. I also think HE thinks HE is better than he is. If you mix that, being in Cali for the winter break with all the money-hungry agents lurking AND his top 2 weapons are likely gone...I think if he's going to have to press the reset button, he might as well learn a new system/coach in the NFL.
Do we have QB on the roster that is a good fit for this offense? Do you think Tennessee will recruit more mobile qb's under Jones?
@RonniePeterson I think a more mobile QB is a better fit, but this is an offense that can easily be molded to fit the skillsets of the players currently on the roster. If Tyler Bray comes back, they'll find a way to make it work. I do, however, think that Nathan Peterman is a very good fit in this offense. He had a Cincinnati offer before choosing the Vols, so Coach Jones obviously thinks he's a good fit too.
I agree for the most part. Dooley at least hasn't left the team without talent. Something that Fulmer had let slip in his recession years. I truly think if Fulmer had gotten rid of Sanders earlier, we would still have a HOF coach at the helm. I miss the good 'ol days as much as the next guy, however we all need to take a breathe and get ready for another 3-4 year rebuild process. A whole new system that hasn't been recruited for is going to take its toll once again. We all see how switching to a 3-4 worked out for us when we hadn't recruited for it. If everyone comes back next year, then we are atleast an 8 win ball club no matter who is running the show. It will be year 2 and 3 that we need to watch. This will tell more about who we have as a coach than any other year. I truly hope we have a winner and someone we can keep for a longtime. Looking forward to the change!
Pretty good piece of writing. If this holds true though, our "explosive" offensive success will largely fall on our RBs making plays in space...something i haven't seen in years.