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Tennessee-South Carolina: Here’s what Butch Jones had to say after the loss

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NCAA Football: South Carolina at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee fell to 3-3 on the season today after a loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks. They are now 0-3 in SEC play. Here’s what Tennessee head coach Butch Jones had to say about the game.

“I’m really proud of our players. I thought they showed some resolve and some resiliency,” Butch Jones said. “We had a chance to win the football game and obviously came up short.”

“They hurt. I think they showed their character and we’ll continue to show our character in this football season,” Jones said.

“We gotta score touchdowns. We can’t kick field goals,” Jones said of his offense’s first half performance. Tennessee was held to just nine points today against South Carolina, all of which came in the first half.

Speaking on Guarantano, Jones said “I thought he was very poised and calm. Made some plays with his legs. I think there are a lot of things positively to build upon.” Guarantano finished the day 11-18 for 133 yards.

“We didn’t have many big plays. Against that defense or any defense, you need splash plays — we didn’t generate any. We just gotta keep working,” Jones said. “There were a number of times where we had something, but the protection broke down.”

“We ran the ball effectively in the first half, particularly in the first quarter. Jarrett was able to make some plays with his legs. In the second half, we weren’t able to run the football.” Butch didn’t offer a reason or explanation why. He said that he needed to watch the video first.

When pressed on his preparation and the bye week, Butch Jones asked “did we not play a good football team?” It was sort of an awkward moment as Jones declared that South Carolina was a good football team.

“I did — our kids got better,” Jones said of the bye week. “That’s a good football team,” Jones said again. He also mentioned that they did consider handing the ball to John Kelly on the final play.

“If we run the ball with four seconds left you don’t get another play. Then you’re sitting here asking us why we handed the ball off,” Jones explained. Kelly finished with 16 carries for 58 yards on the day.

Tennessee will once again be tasked with picking themselves up off of the ground and moving on. This time, Alabama is looming though. Things are going to get worse before they get better, I’m afraid.