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Live Thursday @ Stover's
Posted: Thursday, September 21st, 2017, 8:09 AM • Permalink
Tailgate With The Kids Benefiting Children of The Incarcerated. September 23rd Circle Park @ Tailgate Tennessee Every child and mentor needs a ticket to the game. Please help. We're also furnishing a full tailgate for these children & Mentors. Thanks To Neal Heath & Hunter Rodgers for purchasing a spot in Circle Park at Tailgate Tennessee!!


Two opportunities for you to drop your tickets by to me for our Amachi Knoxville event. Today: Stover's, 4505 Asheville Highway Friday: Calhoun's On The River




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Vocal criticism from former players of UT's program & Butch Jones leads me to believe something is up. Point is, I don't ever remember so many former Tennessee players hypercritical of the Tennessee Football program at any point in time. John Brice blew my mind yesterday when he offered up at the end of our show a hypothesis that Butch Jones has gotten sideways with VFL Coordinator Antone Davis and perhaps this is why the chatter from former players is so loud since the start of the season. Brice went on to say that Davis didn't even make the trip to Florida even though he was integral in spearheading UT's hurricane relief efforts that were featured on CBS-TV prior to UT/Florida.


Here's the deal. I have no idea what the rub is between Butch Jones toward Antone Davis, but there is something there. And Davis feels slighted after last weekend, plus the first weekend (Georgia Tech game). I found out yesterday that he had to drive all night after not receiving hotel accommodations after the Georgia Tech game. I talked to several former players who believe this is what happened with Davis after the Georgia Tech game and that this was disrespectful.


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The point of all this is that if you're Butch Jones you can't get on the wrong side of Antone Davis who is a beloved member of the VFL community. It's just not good business to have the former players buzzing like a pack of bees on you when you're clinging to the hot seat. Listen to what these former players are saying and the way they are openly speaking. The tone is just different coming from these folks than we've ever seen here.


Is this negativity from former players directly related to the Antone Davis/Butch Jones feud? I don't know. What I can tell you is that I do believe there's heat there from Jones toward Antone Davis and the head of the VFL program feels slighted. This is too bad.


Butch or John Currie needs to nip this thing before it gets out of control.


Before you cast aspersions on me, realize that I want Butch Jones to make it here. But picking fights with your VFL Coordinator isn't a great way to make friends and influence people and keep your job.





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Alex Myers
'Butch Jones: Successes, Failures & Equivalencies To Cuonzo Martin:

With the Florida debacle behind us, lets delve deeper into Butch Jones and his tenure here at Tennessee. Itís no secret that when Jones arrived in Knoxville the cabinet was extremely bare. There were depth issues throughout the roster, but both offensive and defensive lines stick out to me as areas where depth was especially an issue. I remember watching Dooley-era teams get blown past as Tennesseeís team speed had seemingly vanished. Make no mistake, Mike Rowe could have made a TV show out of cleaning up the mess that Jones and his staff inherited.


With the aforementioned dearth of talent in mind, I refuse to act as if Jones hasnít been good for this program. Aside from some unnecessary press conference rhetoric, Jones has represented this program in a very professional manner. On the field, Jones and his ever-changing staff have managed to bring Tennessee Football back to something resembling relevance.


In case you may have forgotten, last season ESPNís College Gameday showed up to three of the Volsí first six football games. Tennessee has become a more attractive program to television programmers, in part because of Jonesí ability to consistently finish among the nation's best in recruiting rankings. Itís simple, teams with more talent are usually more fun to watch. In those three games, Tennessee beat Virginia Tech and Florida before falling in double overtime to Texas A&M.


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I canít list positives without mentioning the Florida game, circa 2016. I donít know that in the rest of my sports-watching days Iíll ever forget that day. I was in fifth grade the last time the Vols had beaten the Gators, and it took them until my final, and fifth year of college to do it again. Down early, that game looked as if it was going to be another disappointment. However, with the help of Jones, his staff, and some playmakers on the field the Vols were able to score 38 unanswered points en route to a streak-ending victory that Tennessee fans will remember for years to come.


However, itís not all sunshine and roses. I donít need to remind folks about the disappointment that has consumed many Vol fans. While last season the Vols started off 5-0, Jonesí team finished the regular season just 8-4, before a bowl win over Nebraska capped off the 2016-2017 season. If one disappointing season was Jonesí only misstep, fans would likely still be heavily in his corner. The problem is, 2016 was far from the first time during Jonesí tenure that the Vols let an opportunity slip away.



In 2015, Tennessee let a tremendous opportunity slip away as they had Bob Stoopsí Oklahoma team on the ropes. That game ended in disappointment as coaching decisions were questioned and the Vols were ultimately defeated in overtime. The Sooners, which looked at that time like a team whose season could go either way, helped use that game as a launching pad to go 11-2 as they finished the season ranked number five in the nation. All the while, Tennessee fans looked around with thoughts of, what if?


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Just two games later, Jones took his team down to Gainesville. Tennessee looked again like they were the better team, but that game ended with a Volunteers defensive collapse that sent some Tennessee fans over the edge. This game was another example that itís not just if you lose, but how you do it. Tennessee seemed passive and let Florida QB Will Grier (now at West Virginia) have all the time in the world on a fourth and long play. The result? A touchdown, of course. It seemed as if fans would forever remember that play as one of the worst losses in the seriesí history.


Then came this past Saturday. Tennessee, once again, seemed as if they had the better team. It was clear going into the game that Floridaís offense wasnít great. A shaky at best QB situation was just one reason for Tennessee fans to be hopeful. Tennessee finally broke the Gatorsí winning streak after scoring 38 unanswered points in Knoxville last season. So, it would seem as if the monkey was off the backs of players and coaches alike. Perhaps this was a chance for the Vols to build a little streak of their own. After lining up in the shotgun near the goal line, throwing an interception near the goal line, and oh yeah, not using simply turning around and handing the ball to what appeared to be the best player on the field, Jonesí offense failed time after time to capitalize on chances they had to get into the end zone against Florida. Even after all of that nonsense, Jones and his team found themselves with a chance to send the game to overtime. Florida was on their side of midfield and the Volsí defense just needed to hold for one more play to make that happen. The rest is history. Tennesseeís defense let Floridaís wide receiver get behind them, turning what should have been at best a Hail Mary, essentially into nothing more than a long pass. That long pass was good enough to win the game and send Volunteer fans roughly 545 miles back to Knoxville disappointed.....yet again.


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By now youíre probably wondering how any of this relates to Cuonzo Martin. Well, where should I begin?

Cuonzo Martin coached Tennessee basketball from the 2011-2012 season through the 2013-2014 season. While Butch is now in his fifth season in Knoxville, there are still several uncanny similarities between the two coaches.


Martin and Jones both put out teams with very good talent levels. Jones has had a lot of success on the recruiting trail, even finishing inside the top five nationally for the 2015 class. Martin also had a talented team. In his final year on the hill, Martinís team had three eventual NBA players on the roster. Jordan McRae, Jarnell Stokes, and eventual Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Josh Richardson all played on the team that Martin took to the Sweet 16.


I've addressed Butch Jones and how his teams havenít always played to their potential. There have been several games and seasons where fans felt like the Vols could have and should have been much better. Martinís teams may not have had the recruiting hype that Jonesí teams have had, but itís also no secret that in basketball you donít have to recruit as many studs to have a good team. If youíre confused about what I mean, let me explain.

In football, a coach can recruit a good quarterback and a five star running back. However, if those players donít have a talented line that has experience, they likely wonít shine to their potential. On defense, the same could be said about the linebacker position. If a five star linebacker needs a year or two to bulk up, he may be looked at as overrated because he wasnít ready to play immediately. If he plays, but no one from his defensive line can absorb a block, heís never going to put up the numbers that he should. In basketball, however, things are a bit different. While strength is extremely important in both sports, a skinnier, lankier player can have great success immediately. Do I need to bring up Kevin Durant at Texas? Another difference is that if you have, say a Kevin Durant or some elite player on a basketball team, they can make a huge difference in wins and losses, even if they have little to no help around them. You can look at a guy like Adrian Peterson and see that if you donít have a solid team to support, in football, it doesnít matter how good one superstar is.

How does this tie in to the Jones/Martin comparison? Well, even though Butch Jones has recruited highly on the national level, itís important for him to do that year in and year out in order to maintain that momentum, and continue to build depth. While Martin may not have recruited at the same level from a rankings standpoint, he had three eventual NBA players on one roster. With that in mind, itís hard for me to defend the regular season that Martinís squad had in 2013-2014.


Martinís teams struggled at times, just as Jonesí teams have. In his first season, with a roster that had Bruce Pearlís fingerprints all over it, Martin led the Vols to a 19 win season, but they failed to make the tournament. The following year the Vols only improved their win total by one, as their season was ended at home in a first round NIT loss to Mercer.


There were some high points for Martinís teams though, just as there have been for Butch Jones and his staff. Cuonzo Martinís teams seemed to fight hard for their coach, just as Jonesí teams do despite debacles. Martinís teams were typically very good on the defensive end. And, for those who enjoy a slow it down, defensive mindset, Martinís teams would have been pretty enjoyable to watch.


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Hereís where thereís a difference between the two, at least from a national perspective. While fans havenít filled a petition to bring back Fulmer, anyone with an ear to the ground around Knoxville can tell you that a large portion of the Volunteersí fan base is highly, highly upset with Jones. Itís about more than just Saturdayís loss to Florida. Itís more about the frustrations that have built up with fans over the past several seasons.


In Martinís final season at Tennessee, the Vols looked to be heading nowhere fast. The team had a lot of talent and everyone around Knoxville knew that. Since the talent level increased, expectations began to rise for the basketball program, just as they have with the football program under Jones. And, just like Jonesí teams to this point, the Martin-lead Vols were simply not living up to those expectations. They werenít playing to the level that they were capable of playing at.

Martinís team, towards the end of the 2013-2014 season, finally found the spark that they needed. The team used the negativity from the fan base and rallied to eventually win enough games to get in to the NCAA Tournamentís Play-In Game. Iíll repeat, they rallied to eventually win enough games to get into the NCAA Tournamentís Play-In Game. Essentially what that means is, the Vols were about one turnover away from the NIT.



Nonetheless, the Vols made it. After beating Iowa in the Play-In game, Martinís team continued their roll. Iím not big on excuses; however, Iíll note that the Vols next two opponents in the tournament were Massachusetts and a Mercer team who had stunned the basketball world by knocking off Duke as a 14 seed. So, some fans, and I think rightfully so, noted that Tennessee had a fortunate road to the Sweet Sixteen to say the least. Whether thatís your opinion or not, the fact remains that Tennessee had to go out and play those games. Martin and his staff put together successful game plans that led to victory. A controversial call near the end of their Sweet 16 game against Michigan frustrated fans, as Martin and his staff were minutes away from potentially reaching as far as any coach or team in program history had goneÖthe Elite 8.


There certainly are a lot of similarities between Cuonzo Martin and Butch Jones as it relates to their time on Rocky Top. Even so, not everything is the same. Many in the national media commented on the situation when Martin up and left for California. Most comments and articles I read at the time had some validity to them. Was Martin underappreciated at times during his stay in Knoxville? Sure, but Tennessee fans werenít totally in the wrong by being critical of his teams either. We could debate all day about how good or bad of a job Martin did while he was here, but Iíll avoid that. Instead, Iíd ask one simple question.



Why was it, that when fans got onto Martin about his team underperforming, there was a narrative nationally that it had to do, in part with his race? However, as Jonesí football teams have underachieved I havenít heard any of this come up. Fans I know are frustrated with what seems to them to be a double standard. Itís hard for Tennessee fans to understand how when one coach underachieves for a large portion of the season, theyíre ridiculed for getting upset and calling them out. However, there has been a lot less talk with fans this go around as they have been equally, if not more outspoken about their frustrations with Jones.



The fact of the matter is that Butch Jones, in my opinion is a huge flight risk at the end of this season. If this, down the road potential scenario were to play out, I think itíd be a situation that both sides would be OK with. Cuonzo Martin bolted for California at the conclusion of his third season, and if Jones can get through this season with eight, or somehow nine wins, I think the possibility is very likely that Jones would look to get out. Thatís a big if though, as right now Jonesí and staff still have a long way to go before the end of the season. Vols fans are passionate, and Iíd encourage them to never lose that passion, for passion is what makes this place so special on Saturday afternoons in the fall.



Until Next Time,

Go Vols!

Ales Myers (@AlexMyersTV)'








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Alex: That's great stuff. I'll add a few more similarities. Both guys are dogged workers and program guys yet neither will wow you with X's & O's expertise. Cuonzo Martin's floor coaching is probably his weakest attribute while the same could probably be said about Jones.


As for your assertion that Jones is a flight risk....I believe this. Jones has repeatedly told folks around UT's program that he feels unappreciated by this fan base. Cuonzo unfortunately felt the same way.


At the end of the day, Tennessee fans want something in both sports they can be proud of. It's not all about winning and losing but really about how you play the game. Tennessee fans were highly critical of Cuonzo's sleepwalking Vols while Butch is the sleepwalker on his side of the ledger.


All of this makes me wish we could wake up from this dream and just enjoy our Vols once again.


Now, here's the question...If Butch Jones does decide to leave Tennessee to restart his clock will he morph into Nick Saban at his next stop? Why do I get the feeling this could happen? Can you imagine being a Browns fan and knowing that you FIRED Belichick? I suppose this is why sports remain the best form of entertainment going.



Here's a snippet from a KNS article yesterday about the SEC in 2017.

'Add it all up, and the SEC is arguably in the midst of its lowest point since 2002, when Georgia won the conference title over Arkansas. Though the SEC still has six teams in this weekís Amway Coaches Poll, the league is 5-6 in games against other Power Five opponents. The vaunted West accounts for just one of those wins, with Alabama beating Florida State in the opener.'


ESPN's Mark Schlabaugh, who cut an absolute promo on the SEC Tuesday at ESPN.com will join the show today along with Mike Huguenin. Yassss.




WINDS OF CHANGE ARE HOWLING
Posted: Thu, Sep 21st, 3:26 PM
by Beano
COACH BUTCH JONES IS A.........
Posted: Thu, Sep 21st, 4:59 AM
by Doink
Finding A Way to Win!
Posted: Fri, Sep 8th, 1:42 PM
by Alison
Fight For Tennessee Exceptionalism
Posted: Thu, Sep 21st, 6:12 PM
by Josh
This is complicated. Link



Tomorrow at Tonybasilio.com....Orange Throat, Jerry's Film Study, Tony's Totals. Matt Dixon's weekend preview, Jack Tate your Movie King.



Final Thought: So, does Butch Jones believe that one or two plays can decide and football game or not? He came down on both sides of this issue yesterday. This take would qualify him to host a call in show but not coach in the SEC. And if he doesn't believe one or two plays are the difference, why does he still have a job in the SEC where every contested football game comes down to 1 or 2 plays? Just sayiní.



Go Vols,

Tony


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FAQ's Asked Of Tony Per Our Relaunch Announcement:

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A: Absolutely. I'm looking forward to year #24 with you.


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A: Great question. 'Subscribe' is a misnomer. What you actually are doing if you choose to help us monthly (and we need this for budgeting reasons) is actually acting as a patron. The goal is to keep the content (ALL CONTENT, from postgame offerings to various podcasts) free for all.


WINDS OF CHANGE ARE HOWLING
Posted: Thu, Sep 21st, 3:26 PM
by Beano
COACH BUTCH JONES IS A.........
Posted: Thu, Sep 21st, 4:59 AM
by Doink
Finding A Way to Win!
Posted: Fri, Sep 8th, 1:42 PM
by Alison
Fight For Tennessee Exceptionalism
Posted: Thu, Sep 21st, 6:12 PM
by Josh
Q: So, if I'm not subscribing and I'm already reading this, why give?

A: Because you value the content and our contribution to the market and you want to help us keep this stuff free for everybody.


Q: Are you going to beat us up for money all the time here?

A: Absolutely not. I will bring this up a few times heading into the football season as we attempt to meet our financial goals and create new programming. I'll also mention it in the post-game format as well as the regional programming. I will not however wear you out with this. Either you feel the need to help us or you don't. This is why I'm taking today to field some question I received after day one.


Q: What happens if this doesn't generate the revenue you're seeking?

A: We will scale back our online offerings accordingly. The blog itself could even disappear. I really don't want this to happen but will be forced to spend my time in the most profitable way necessary. That's why we're having the conversation. All my cards are on the table here.


Q: When will we be able to hear these new podcasts, like that X-Cast?

A: It's all coming soon. We premiered a new Gate Twenty Won yesterday after the Basilio Show live on the app and will debut one today from the 1980 Georgia game. As for the 'X'-Cast....I'm going to upload these in real time with minimal production. Therefore I'm hoping to get one of these up in the next 10 days. It all depends on 'X's schedule.


Q: When will Southeastern Sunday debut?

A: We're shooting for the Sunday after the first full weekend of the football season.





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