SEC Media Days kicked off Monday morning, and Braden & Fitz quickly got to work and play as they grabbed ESPN football analyst and personality Booger McFarland for an early morning interview to discuss the Tennessee Volunteers and all things SEC football.
McFarland spent a good bit of time talking about the SEC East and the Vols specifically, but did not have high expectations for UT, saying that the team will likely disappoint and that the administration in Knoxville will have some serious decisions to make.
“I think Tennessee is gonna be abysmal,” McFarland said. “The people at Tennessee are gonna have to make a decision at the end of the year: do you take a chance on being great, or are you satisfied with being good?”
McFarland said that this was part of a bigger regression seen in the SEC, and that the East division being down is thanks to the major powers like the Vols going through a stagnant period.
“I think the SEC overall is not as good as last year,” McFarland said. “Last year wasn’t as good as the year before. The East is down, and it depends on Georgia, Tennessee and Florida to be up… Overall, it’s Georgia, probably Florida and I would put Kentucky up there, and everyone else after that.
The former LSU-player said that Tennessee’s troubles are on the shoulders of head coach Butch Jones. Jones’ record at UT is 30-21, which is somewhat below par considering Tennesee’s success over the previous couple decades.
McFarland compared Jones to Mark Richt, the former Georgia Bulldogs HC and current HC at the Miami Hurricanes, saying that Jones may have reached his potential in Knoxville.
“I just think, sometimes, you have a coach that can get you to a certain point,” McFarland said. “Let’s look at Mark Richt at Georgia. He got them to 10 wins just about every year, but they couldn’t get over the hump… I think you’re reaching the same thing at Tennessee.”
Tennessee will kick off its sixth season under Jones on September 4th against Georgia Tech.