It’s no mystery that former players took issue with the way Butch Jones ran the program while at Tennessee. One of those players took to the airwaves to voice his frustration with Jones on Friday.
While appearing as a guest on Jesse Smithey’s 5 Star Preps Podcast, Smith talked about rekindling his love for the game since joining the Saints earlier this month. According to Smith, playing for Jones had made caused a sort of disconnect with his passion for playing football.
“Just the surrounding support staff, it just didn’t feel like family to me,” Smith said on the podcast. “I’m just gonna be honest. I had multiple meetings with Coach Jones, and he knows how I feel. He was … I just never felt like he was himself. I always felt like he put a front on. I mean, he was in such a hard position that I probably would, too, honestly, so I can’t really say anything too bad about him. I do respect him for all the hard work he put into UT, but I honestly wanted the real him.”
While Smith seemed to convey his understanding that the pressures of the job may have, in part, contributed to Butch’s personality, it’s clear why the wheels fell off the program during the final season of his tenure. It seems that his inability to connect to players and create a family environment went along way in Tennessee’s struggle, especially in 2018.
Smith went on to say that Jones was too serious most of the time which lead to a lot of tension among coaches and players, and that what he has experienced with short time with Saints so far is the opposite.
“I wanted just to be able to, like, laugh, and, like, have a conversation with him,” Smith said. “I just felt like I couldn’t ever do that, or anybody ever could. It was just always too serious, or we were in trouble. I just never felt like it was a complete family, and I think it’s just such the opposite in the NFL.”