Tennessee coach Butch Jones announced on Wednesday that John Jancek is no longer the team’s defensive coordinator.
Here’s Jones’ statement:
“John and I had a long discussion this morning and we both came to the conclusion that it was best to part ways,” Jones said. “I want to thank Coach Jancek for his contributions to the University of Tennessee football program the past three years. His hard work and dedication to this program played a major role in our back-to-back bowl wins. These decisions are never easy especially for someone I have worked with at three different schools. We feel strongly about the direction our program is headed and will work diligently to find the best person available to lead our defense.”
One thing is clear: this wasn’t a mutual decision. Jancek was fired.
Should he have been?
Tennessee ranked fifth in the SEC in scoring defense, seventh in total defense and first in third-down conversion percentage allowed in 2015.
— John Jancek (@UTCoachJancek) January 6, 2016
Notice Jancek, who was always great to cover during his three years at UT in my personal experience, included that he “enjoyed improving the defense” at Tennessee.
Jancek went on a long run of retweeting supportive messages on Wednesday. Here are a couple of them:
That's twice in 12 months Butch jettisoned a coordinator who helped him get this job – a few weeks before NSD. https://t.co/iPPE1yxfsD
— Football Time in TN (@FootballTimeMag) January 6, 2016
@UTCoachJancek didn't know you "mutually" part ways when you are improving a defense by leaps and bounds? Best of luck coach! We will miss u
— Kirk Hickman (@kirkhickman83) January 6, 2016
Jancek made sure to point out he expects big things from Tennessee’s defense in the future, and he should be right. Tennessee has a lot of talent returning on a team expected to compete for an SEC championship in 2016, which should make the Vols’ vacant defensive coordinator position attractive.
Where will Tennessee go from here? Penn State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and North Carolina defensive coordinator Gene Chizik were quickly brought up on Wednesday. Both coaches are well respected.
But how much is Tennessee willing to pay? Jancek’s base salary at Tennessee was $515,000, a UT official told Jimmy Hyams on Wednesday. That’s a lot of money, but it’s well below what elite coordinators typically make.
If Tennessee wants a proven coach to replace Jancek, it will have to pay up. And Tennessee fans will expect the Vols to do so.
Here are more talking points for today.
Vols cruise past Florida
Tennessee’s basketball team beat Florida 83-69 on Wednesday night, and the game really wasn’t that close.
Here is what Florida coach Michael White said following the game:
“Tennessee whooped us. They destroyed us. They were better than us in every facet of the game. They played harder and competed at a higher level. They were tougher mentally and physically. They got to loose balls. They did a better job of shooting, passing, dribbling and scouting. It was very unfortunate. Hats off to Coach Barnes, his crew and his team. They were fantastic. I am not pleased with my team right now. A lot of that had to do with Tennessee. It’s not all about how bad we were. I don’t like our defensive effort. At halftime, I have never seen film like that with this crew. This seasons’ Florida basketball team is not the one that I saw in the halftime clips today. We had the opportunity to play at Tennessee, but at the effort that we played with, I don’t understand because we knew it would be very difficult.”
Kevin Punter once again led Tennessee in scoring with 26 points. Admiral Schofield, who put up 22 points at Auburn last weekend, added 17 points against Florida. His emergence could be a big boost for the Vols.
"Without question it's the best game we've played all year and certainly the best 20 minutes we've played all year." https://t.co/EIm165m5Cx
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) January 7, 2016
Tennessee improved its’ season record to 8-6, 1-1 in SEC play. The Vols will host Texas A&M on Saturday.
Bucs make a coaching change
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired coach Lovie Smith on Wednesday night.
The move was a big surprise considering Smith had only been with the Bucs for two seasons and the team just drafted a quarterback (Jameis Winston) with the No. 1 overall pick last year.
But there might not be a complete staff overhaul coming in Tampa. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter appears to be the leading candidate to replace his former boss.
With Lovie Smith fired I would expect Dirk Koetter to be named head coach within the week. They still will interview a few other candidates.
— Mark Dominik (@MarkdominikESPN) January 7, 2016
That could mean good news for Bucs quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian, who left Tennessee as offensive coordinator following the 2014 season.
Griffey Jr., Piazza make the Hall of Fame
Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Griffey received the highest percentage of votes ever at 99.32%, just three votes shy of unanimity. Why would three people leave Griffey off their ballots? Let me know if you find out.
Hall of Fame candidates are required to receive 75% of the vote to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Jeff Bagwell (71.6%), Tim Raines (69.8%) and Trevor Hoffman (67.3%) were close but fell short.
Nobody won the $524 million Powerball jackpot on Wednesday.
That means Saturday’s jackpot will be an estimated $675 million, the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. The largest Powerball jackpot of all time was worth $590.5 million in 2013.
If you happen to win the jackpot on Saturday, remember two things.
- Sharing is caring.
Will West and I will discuss Tennessee’s vacant defensive coordinator position and the Vols’ hoops win over Florida.
Hear Admiral Schofield discuss playing in his first SEC home game.
Jonathan Hutton of Titans Radio/The Zone in Nashville, John Wilkerson of Sports Radio WNML and WWE Superstar Kane will all join the show.
See you at noon.