Nov. 11, 2017, 3:32 p.m.: This post was updated after Tennessee athletic director John Currie’s official confirmation of the firing.
The firing comes on the heels of a 50-17 loss to Missouri in Columbia in which the Vols gave up 659 yards of total offense and allowed the Tigers to score 33 consecutive points after things were tied at 17.
Jones increased Tennessee’s season win totals each year until this season, but will largely be remembered for so many “What if?” moments that preceded 2017’s current 4-6 campaign.
Last year’s squad started out in prime position to win the SEC East for the first time since 2007, beating rivals Florida and Georgia in back-to-back weeks. However, after two road losses to Texas A&M and Alabama, the Vols faltered at South Carolina and stumbled against Vanderbilt to miss out on both Atlanta and a potential Sugar Bowl berth.
After 2016’s 9-4 finish and loss of multiple graduates and NFL-bound players, the Vols responded in seemingly every opposite way for what set up as a rebound year.
You could argue that the Vols current 4-6 record should be 3-7, maybe even 2-8. Tennessee overcame a late two-score deficit to force overtime and beat Georgia Tech 42-41 (2OT) in the season opener.
Then, at home against UMass, the Vols’ offense struggled in a 17-13 win. The Minutemen lost their starting quarterback and played the entire fourth quarter with a backup who struggled through the air.
For a coach hired to make forward progress for the program, Tennessee has taken steps anywhere but forward since starting 5-0 last year. With last night’s loss to Missouri, the Vols have a “losing streak” to every SEC team — Tennessee’s last game against each conference foe has ended in a loss. All 13 teams.
In six SEC games this season, the Vols have been outscored 206-79. Jones didn’t prove he could win at Tennessee without Josh Dobbs at quarterback, and his strange, repeating injury-prone teams didn’t do him any favors.
After cementing top-20 recruiting classes in each year in Knoxville, the Vols haven’t shown any developed depth to replicate elite team’s “next man up” ultimatums.
Jones’ final records at Tennessee: 34-27 overall record, 14-24 SEC record.