Randy Smith: Vol Fans Wait, While Butch Plows Forward

Monday, October 23, 2017 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith
While the Tennessee offense extended their touchdownless streak to 14 quarters in their 45-7 loss to Alabama, Coach Butch Jones and his staff went back to work on Sundaygetting ready for the Vols' game at Kentucky this weekend. In the meantime, Tennessee fans are waiting for the axe to fall on Jones; speculating on just when his firing happens. Things are as bad as I've ever seen them in Big Orange country.

You really can't blame the Vols' faithful. After all, after starting the season with two wins, Tennessee has dropped four of their last five games; all SEC encounters. They've lost these games by a combined score of 127-36. Their offense is having trouble scoring against air and while the defense has played well at times, they wear out in the third quarter because they spend so much time on the field. And when the defense was finally able to get a touchdown against Alabama, a Vols' player flipped off the Alabama student section, drawing a fifteen yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Let's face facts; nobody ever thought Tennessee would be able to beat Alabama. I did think it was possible to compete against them for a while which they did. The score was just 7-0 with less than seven minutes left in the first half. But too many mistakes led to a 21-0 halftime lead for the Tide. By then the defense had worn out and the players looked like they played the second half with that old familiar "deer in the headlights" look. Now the Vols are listed as a 5.5 point underdog this weekend when the face the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. 

An underdog to Kentucky? This can't be happening. The Wildcats have just one win over the Vols this century and this is the same Kentucky team that lost 45-7 at Mississippi State last weekend. Has the Tennessee program really sunk to this unbelievable level? Are the Vols really this bad? I believe the answer to both those questions is yes. This Tennessee team bears absolutely no resemblance to the Vols from just last year, when they finished 9-4 and when you think about it, they really bear no resemblance to the team that scored a 42-41 overtime win over a pretty good Georgia Tech team in the season opener.  This team is playing like one that has been wandering in the desert for more than a month; one that can't find their identity nor find a way out.        

So, Tennessee fans are ready for a change though I'm not sure if Athletic Director John Currie feels the same way, just yet. There are a lot of intricate details that need to be worked out before Butch is sent packing. There are several Tennessee fans who still believe this team can avoid a losing season by winning each of their five remaining games. Even a loss to LSU in November would give them a 7-5 record and send them to a bowl game for a fourth straight season.But if the Vols have gone in the tank only a change at the top could snap them out of it. That's what Tennessee fans are waiting for. 


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