The Volunteers were a longstanding top 25 program that were slipping, needed the likes of Jones to help remedy the impending situation. Having not played in a BCS game in eight long years had furthered the vexation that rabidly was chasing the program.
The talented and versatile senior was a member of a signing class that was meant to catapult the Vols back into the orange tinted light of the Top 10 they were accustomed to being a short decade earlier.
Jones, who is not a math major thankfully, said Monday his analysis indicated “we have like seven left, maybe six,” players left. Actually, attrition has seen the signing class drop to ten players on the present roster four seasons later – to 37%.
Seven of those remaining ten players are present day starters or are in the top rotation charts, while one is sidelined with a season long Achilles heel injury.
“It’s always good to have older players teaching you. We’re young and that destroys a lot of things,” says Jones of the indifference surrounding the current 2-5 record in 2010.
Head coach Derek Dooley does not accept the situation in those exact terms. Dooley said on Monday he does not buy into the phrase “that’s who we are… It’s an excuse not to win.”
“I tell the team all the time we’ll never compromise the standard. The standards are the standards,” says Dooley. “You’re looking for ways to lose the game. That’s a hard culture to change.”
Jones would like to see the team make a bowl appearance, to redeem the weights and measures of the program more than anything, while leaving things better for the future.
“I don’t want to see these young guys go through everything I went through,” adds Jones. “I want them to stay with these same coaches, in the same offense. That way they know the offense like the back of their hand.”
Jones has played under four different offenses and has had four different coordinators during his four years playing in Knoxville.
“I just hope they can stay with these (very same) coaches. If they do, they will be a hell of a team,” in a season or two,” says the senior playmaker.
Jones and his teammates are 17.5 point underdogs on the road at South Carolina this Saturday. SEC TV Network at 12:21 PM EST.