So the main reason it's been more quiet than usual around these parts is all of us are hard at work on the Rocky Top Tennessee 2013 preseason magazine. One of the stories I'm contributing this year is a narrative history of Butch Jones' tenure at Central Michigan and Cincinnati: what's the how and the why behind his 50-27 overall record?
In doing research and studying every game he coached over the last six years, two trends became evident: his teams played a lot of close games, and they loved a good fourth quarter comeback. Which is good, because those two things have been in short supply in Knoxville.
Butch Jones is 16-11 (.592) in one possession games as a head coach. For reference, Phillip Fulmer was 49-23-1 (.671) in one possession games. But Fulmer remains the loftiest of goals - the better comparison is to see what the Vols have done in one possession games since 2008: 5-13 (.277). And the five wins? Northern Illinois in 2008, Kentucky in overtime in 2009, UAB in overtime in 2010, Vanderbilt in overtime in 2011, and Troy in 2012. Not exactly a confidence booster.
And how many of those losses could've made a difference for Derek Dooley? They include both extra time heartbreakers from 2010, the Georgia loss and the backbreaker at Kentucky from 2011, and the final drive nightmares against Georgia, South Carolina, and Missouri from 2012. This doesn't even count the winnable games against South Carolina in 2010 and 2011, or the Florida and Mississippi State games from 2012. Any one of those wins could've made a huge difference in the way things went down and the direction of the program.
However, most of us seem just fine with the direction of the program at the moment with Butch Jones. Still, it's encouraging to have a guy who has gotten it done with the game on the line more often than not at both of his previous stops.
And of those 16 one possession wins, 10 happened because a Butch Jones team came from behind in the fourth quarter:
- 2007 at Western Michigan: down 31-27 with 1:34 to play, won 34-31
- 2007 at Akron: down 32-20 with 8:08 to play, won 35-32
- 2008 vs Buffalo: down 18-17 with 14:26 to play, won 27-25
- 2008 at Toledo: down 23-17 at start of 4th, won 24-23
- 2008 at Indiana: down 34-28 at start of 4th, won 37-34
- 2009 at Michigan State: down 27-20 with 7:33 to play, won 29-27
- 2009 vs Troy: down 31-19 with 8:01 to play, won 44-41 in 2OT
- 2011 at South Florida: down 34-30 with 1:27 to play, won 37-34
- 2011 vs Vanderbilt: down 21-17 with 14:03 to play, won 31-24
- 2012 vs Virginia Tech: down 24-20 with 1:49 to play, won 27-24
- 2012 vs Duke: down 31-27 with 12:45 to play, won 48-34