Column: 'Praise and blame, it's all the same'

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By Chris Cannon

I’ll have to be honest. When I first heard that Butch Jones was hired for the University of Tennessee job, I wasn’t the happiest.

I mean, he did get beat by Derek Dooley, 45-23.

However, after looking up more about Jones and hearing him speak at his press conference last Friday, it seems like he’s going to become the perfect fit for the University of Tennessee.

After all, it is his dream job.

“It was not 20 minutes into our conversation that lasted through the night that I could see genuine passion,” University of Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hart said. “It wasn't artificial when he said, 'Dave, this is my dream job.' I knew that that was coming from his heart."

For Jones, his passions and “thick skin” from his Cincinnati job will come in helpful here.

As it’s been proven, many Volunteer football fans put all the pressure on the coach instead of the players on the field.

During the press conference, Jones clarified a few things.

“Just like a quarterback - I think sometimes coaches get too much praise when they win and too much blame when they lose,” he said. “We have a phrase that we say, `Praise and blame it's all the same.'”

However, with the coaching style and coaching group that Jones is putting together, this season looks to be majorly different.

Keeping Jay Graham, the recruiting guru from the Dooley era was a good move.

Throw in Mike Bajakian as offensive coordinator and John Jencek as either defensive coordinator or linebacker’s coach, and things are getting interesting.

Mark Elder will also be the tight ends coach for the Vols.

Not to mention, the picking up of Tommy Thigpen. He, in my opinion, is your best person on the staff under Jones thus far.

Being in the nations Top 25 recruiters three different times, while garnering the 2011 SEC Recruiter of the Year award, Thigpen is sure to help Jones on the recruiting trail.

To Jones, if you can recruit, you can recruit.

“It doesn't matter what school you come from or where in the country... recruiting is selling,” he said during the press conference. “Recruiting is a people business so I want the best teachers and best recruiters no matter where we have to go to get them. I do think it's important that we have some coaches that know the lay of the land, but I really think if you're a great recruiter, you can recruit anywhere because it's all relationship based.”

That’ll be big news for the Vol fans, as players have already been calling. One of those would be the top dual threat quarterback in the nation.

Asiantii Woulard, the 6-foot-3, 204 pound dual threat quarterback and four-star recruit, already had an offer from Jones and Cincinnati. He also has Tennessee on his list of perspective schools, as he has offers from 14 different big-name colleges around the nation.

However, what’s so special about Jones?

Over six seasons as a head coach, the new head coach of the University of Tennessee boasts a 50-27 record, while taking four conference championships in six years.

"We have won four championships in four years,” Jones said. “I think that first, we are going to be a team that takes care of the football. If you look at the greatest stat as far as wins and losses, it is turnover margin.”

In all of his five winning seasons, Jones’ team has come up with 123 takeaways, while only turning the ball over 91 times to result in a 46-19 record. In 2010, his team had 29 turnovers, while only taking the ball away 14 times for a 4-8 record.

In 77 games, Jones has also outscored his opponents, 32.2 to 25.7, while averaging 414.2 yards per game.