There's no downside to Alabama's newest 'intern,' ex-Tennessee coach Butch Jones

The rumored marriage of Butch Jones and Nick Saban became a reality on Tuesday when Saban confirmed that the former Tennessee coach is now an official member of the Alabama coaching staff.

"He's a intern, an analyst. I guess we can have several names for it," Saban said, according to 247Sports. "He can't coach on the field; he can work with us off the field. And today was actually the first time that he was cleared by the NCAA."

With that announcement came the predictable, obvious and necessary jokes. The coach with the five-star heart is joining a program with five-star players. The man who coined the phrase "champions of life" is now a member of the national champions. A former SEC coach is now going to be getting coffee for the greatest coaching legend of our generation. 

Jones became a lighting rod for criticism during his five years at Tennessee where he went 34-27 (14-24 SEC), failed to win the SEC East and spoke in a never-ending stream of cliches that wore thin on a Volunteer fan base that has been craving a winner for more than a decade.

But once you get past the jokes and get down to the nuts and bolts of the move, it's hard to find a downside for either side. 

It's not like Jones is being asked to lead the Alabama program, call offensive plays or develop the young Crimson Tide offense into a force. He's an intern, an analyst, an extra set of eyes who sits in an office, watches film and offers advice.

Saban can (and will) ignore him if his advice is terrible or unnecessary. 

But it might not be. While Jones did become a bit of a laughing stock in SEC circles over the last half-decade, he was still in those SEC circles. He knows the conference, the players, at least some tendencies of his coaching counterparts. And he might -- at some point -- offer up something that could be useful for the 2018 Crimson Tide. 

If (and when) that happens, the move will be worth it for Saban. Jones got the Tennessee, Cincinnati and Central Michigan head coaching jobs because of his offensive prowess. It didn't work out as the coach on Rocky Top, but that was due in large part because of rabbit ears toward the media, inability to handle pressure of a major job and poor decision-making in creating and sustaining his organization.

He won't be asked to do any of that in Tuscaloosa.

For Jones, it's an obvious chance to go through the Saban doctorate program for coaches who have gone astray. Saban took a chance on former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin prior to the 2014 season and revitalized his career. He gave Steve Sarkisian a chance as an analyst after Sarkisian was fired in the middle of the 2015 amid personal issues. Saban's two current coordinators -- defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley -- first came to Alabama as analysts after road blocks in their respective careers.

It's a win-win.

At least, after you get beyond the jokes that are obvious ... but still need to be said. 

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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