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Butch Jones talks redzone, failure to score touchdowns, Guarantano and Alabama

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Quotes from Monday’s presser.

South Carolina v Tennessee Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The main topic of conversation today at Tennessee’s weekly Butch Jones press conference was the struggling offense. Just two weeks removed from getting shutout by the Georgia Bulldogs, Tennessee was held to just nine points against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

They weren’t able to score a single point in the second half.

“Overall in the first half, we started fast. We had 130 yards of total offense in the first quarter. We did everything we needed to win, except for one element and that’s scoring touchdowns,” Jones said.

Those three first half field goals were all the Tennessee offense could muster against the Gamecocks.

“When you get in the redzone, the field condenses. So you’re spacing and timing is different. Everything speeds up. The game speeds up. We work very hard at that and we will continue to do that,” Jones said.

The redzone issues continue to be a problem for Tennessee. They ended the day converting on 3-4 opportunities, but as Butch said today — that’s not good enough.

The Volunteer offense did seem to get some sort of spark from redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano. Butch was upbeat when speaking of his young passer. “A lot of things to build upon. I thought he brought some energy. He was able to make some plays with his legs, but also some growing things — in his first start against a very good and fast defense.”

“I liked the overall command presence. I thought our players fed off of his leadership and energy. He made some plays, he gave us an opportunity to win at the end.” Jones said.

Looking ahead, Butch Jones gave his thoughts on Alabama. “Probably the most complete football team I’ve seen in a number of years. They lead the SEC in total offense and total defense. They lead the SEC in scoring offense and scoring defense. It’s going to be a great challenge, but also a great opportunity.”