Tennessee head coach Butch Jones joined Mike & Mike this morning on ESPN 94.9 Game 2 to discuss all things Vols football. Jones is entering his fifth season as head coach of the Volunteers, and will be hoping to improve on their 2016 record of 9-4.
Jones opened up the interview with details on the quarterback situation in Knoxville, which Jones says is still open and, at the moment, looks like it will feature both young quarterbacks in some capacity.
“We have a youngster in Jarrett Guarantano out of Bergen Catholic in New Jersey, who will be a redshirt freshman,” Jones said. “Very energetic, live arm, can run the football. Then Quinten Dormady out of Boerne, Texas, who’s an individual who has been in our program. Drop-back passer but sneaky athletically.”
As for what Jones is looking for, that’s easy: reliability and efficiency. After losing QB and team leader Josh Dobbs, the Volunteers will be looking to either replace his contribution with both, or see if one can step up and take over this season.
“Consistency in performance,” said Jones, when asked what he’s looking for in his QB. “Leadership and really taking care of the football. Really managing the game. They don’t have to win the game, just manage the game. But the big thing we want to have is consistency, and that’s what we were able to have with Josh Dobbs for a number of years.”
Tennessee opens the season with Georgia Tech, and will also face divisional rivals Florida and Georgia as their first two SEC opponents. It will be an important opening stretch for Tennessee, which Jones recognizes.
“Our first five opponents, they were all divisional champions last year,” Jones said. “And it’s obviously a great opportunity on Labor Day to compete against a very, very good Georgia Tech team in the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta, but we have three games in 13 days and you know we’re going to have to start fast and be able to take care of our bodies.”
Tennessee has struggled to return to the success found under Phil Fulmer in the late 90s and early 2000s, and Jones recognizes that Tennessee’s current success is a start, but that there is more work for the Volunteers to do.
“Our expectations at Tennessee never change, and that’s to win championships,” Jones said. “That’s why you play the game, that’s why you compete is to contend for championships. There’s only been three programs in the SEC that have won nine games two years in a row and Tennessee happens to be one of them. But there’s so much more expectation and I know our great fan base is hungry, and we’re hungry for it.”
For this interview and more Mike & Mike content, click here.