KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The rumor mill has been swirling since the 41-0 loss to Georgia last Saturday about Tennessee coach Butch Jones’ job security.
The panic seemed to spread into the recruiting side of things earlier in the week when two commits announced via Twitter they were opening their recruitment to all schools.
Tennessee has a bye week this Saturday which will allow the coaching staff to go on the recruiting trail and set the record straight a bit. Running backs coach Robert Gillespie said after practice on Wednesday he looked forward to the opportunity to do the talking rather than the media.
“The biggest thing is it gives us a chance to talk about our program,” Gillespie said. “Rather than the media talk about the program and what they think is going on inside of it. It gives us a chance to go out and put truth to the expectations and how our team is doing. Rather than reading it in the media and Twitter and all those things. It gives us a chance to let those guys see what is going on. So, we are excited about it.”
Wide receiver commit Jatavious Harris and safety commit Brendon Harris, no relation, both opened up their commitments publically this week. There have been rumors on social media and message boards about more commits doing the same.
Specifically, offensive tackle Cade Mays. He has not made any announcement publicly either way. Mays has removed all Tennessee references from his Twitter bio, though.
With hot seat lists popping up on seemingly every website in the south, and people already speculating who will replace Jones before he is even fired can make it tough for the team to block out the noise. The players talked Tuesday about focusing inwardly on the team and trying to look past the animosity on social media.
“We don’t focus on that stuff,” said defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie. “We just focus on this complex, this grass right here and that Stadium over there. The team doesn’t worry about what’s going on outside or the outside noise. We just focus on what we have to do to get better.”
This Friday offers a chance for the coaching staff to get their message out and let them try and take control of the narrative.
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