Chaos finds Butch Jones again, and it may soon come time for Tennessee to say 'uncle'
The Volunteers' coach will not escape questions about his decision making, particularly this week
I want to write the book, the one on Butch Jones' life that begins Saturday night.
It will be called something like, "Where Were The F---ing Safeties" or "Not Again" or "Champions … For The Life Of Me I Can't Understand Why This Keeps Happening."
Ballgame. And for all the Butch haters? Endgame. This game concluded almost exactly the way it did in 2015 at The Swamp.
There was a bit more time left on the clock two years ago, but eerily, there were 63 yards to cover for the win in that one, too.
Sandwiched in between was Tennessee's Hail Mary win at Georgia last year. Jones seems to be the one coach on the planet who has lived both a Hail Mary and Holy Hell at the gun.
There's something about Jones and drama. He courts it, oozes it.
It may end him at Tennessee. A guy who has won nine games in consecutive seasons, still hasn't won the right nine games. This one may cost him the SEC East. Not that the Vols were favored to win the division, but it would have been absolutely the most Vol thing ever to win the East as a darkhorse.
This result will cost him -- at least until the next Hail Mary. A large majority of Tennessee fans are begging for Jones' job and the return of their sanity.
New athletic director John Currie has been adamant about Jones' job security. It will probably take 5-7 or worse for the monied Vols boosters to pony up the $12 million or so to buy Jones out.
But with every quirky quote, decision and Hail Mary, that job security slips away.
Anyway, I want to write that book that starts with "Chapter 1: The Butch Jones Show." The Tennessee coach's weekly radio show at Calhoun's on the Tennessee River will feature more questions this week than cans of Bud Light ordered by the live audience.
Where, exactly, were the safeties with nine seconds left in the game?
From its own 37, Florida needed about 33 yards for a field goal, so the safeties had to be deep. Cleveland ran a simple post and got past Tennessee's Micah Abernathy.
At that point, Florida had one offensive touchdown to its name this season. It wasn't sure it had a quarterback, a tailback (its best, Jordan Scarlett, remains suspended) or an offense. It must have done the Head Ball Coach's heart good to see a play he would have dialed up. Or maybe Steve Spurrier would have put up more points. Just sayin'.
To sum up, Tennessee had rallied from a 20-10 deficit against a Florida team that treats visits to the end zone like dinosaur sightings -- equally as rare.
What about the play calling in the third quarter?
There were two trips inside the Florida red zone that ended with no points. Quinton Dormady threw an interception at the 1-yard line after he nearly threw one into the end zone a couple plays earlier.
All that and Tennessee/Jones still had the game in their hands late. Dormady missed an open receiver running a crossing route on third down inside the 10 before Aaron Medley kicked the game-tying field goal with less than a minute to go.
How do you practice really, really important field goals?
Jones used two kickers who combined to miss three of four kicks.
Did John Kelly cost Tennessee the game?
The Vols' junior tailback was about to become the day's SEC breakout star. He ran for 141 yards, including a 34-yard scoring run in the fourth quarterback that cut the deficit to 13-10.
But Kelly made the boneheaded decision to throw up the Gator Chomp to fans in the end zone. The 15-yard penalty applied on the kickoff gave Florida a short field, which it utilized well as Cleveland returned the ball 46 yards and the Gators put together their first offensive touchdown drive of the season to immediately go ahead 20-10.
You want drama? Jones may endure the current torrent of criticism because his tailback decided to taunt a drunk sophomore in the 22nd row.
That seems about right considering the way Tennessee's fortunes sway back and forth. The Vols could have taken early control of the East with a win in The Swamp.
Instead, someone should write a book about why they didn't. The next week of Jones' career could be a novel onto itself.
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