SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland is feeling pessimistic about Tennessee’s chances of contending for the SEC East in 2017.
During an interview with Nashville based 102.5 The Game at SEC Media Days on Monday, McFarland said he believes the Vols will be “abysmal” and will need to weigh their options on whether to retain fifth-year head coach Butch Jones after the season.
“I think Tennessee is going to be abysmal,” McFarland said. “I think the people at Tennessee are going to 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 added that he was not sold on Jones’ ability to lead the Vols back to prominence, despite coming off three consecutive winning seasons and victories against SEC East rivals Florida and Georgia in 2016.
“I don’t think the culture problem was the issue,” McFarland said of Tennessee’s 2016 season. “I think sometimes you have a coach that could get you to a certain point. Look at Mark Richt and Georgia. He got them to 10 wins every year, just about. He couldn’t get them over the hump. They brought in a new guy to make a change. I think you’re reaching the same thing at Tennessee.
“Even in a year where (Tennessee) beat Georgia and Florida, they lost to Vanderbilt. I think (Butch Jones) is a guy who has trouble getting his team ready to play at a certain level week-in and week-out.”
McFarland was one of many SEC media members who praised the Vols as a favorite to win the SEC East last offseason. In February, he said during another radio interview that he didn’t think Tennessee had any chance to win its division this season.
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