UT fans cautiously optimistic about coaching announcement

UT fans cautiously optimistic about coaching announcement

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"Especially in the middle of finals week," said UT Junior, Drew Alley. "It's kind of rough to be worried about that and worried about what's going on with the athletic department." "Especially in the middle of finals week," said UT Junior, Drew Alley. "It's kind of rough to be worried about that and worried about what's going on with the athletic department."
"Get the players pumped up," said junior Andrew Scalf. "I think that's something we lacked in the Dooley era was getting the players pumped up." "Get the players pumped up," said junior Andrew Scalf. "I think that's something we lacked in the Dooley era was getting the players pumped up."
"We want to put a good product on the field and we want to coach the good recruits we have at this point and that's kind of up to him now," said fan Casey Dowd. "I'm always going to be a fan regardless if we go 3-9 or 12-0." "We want to put a good product on the field and we want to coach the good recruits we have at this point and that's kind of up to him now," said fan Casey Dowd. "I'm always going to be a fan regardless if we go 3-9 or 12-0."

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - University of Tennessee fans are cautiously optimistic about the announcement that former Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones will be their new head coach.

Most of campus was still asleep when the news that Butch Jones had been hired first came down and by the time they woke it was official.

So far that news has been met with lukewarm feelings.

"I was surprised. It kind of caught me off guard," said senior, B.J. Byers. "I didn't really expect it, but at the same time I'm not surprised because everyone passed up on us."

Many fans were holding out for a bigger name, but as time went on reality set in.

"You're always hopeful, but after our past few seasons you have to be reasonable," said Byers.

If there is one sure relief for UT fans, it's that the endless rumors have finally met their end. Students say they've have had a hard time keeping up.

"Especially in the middle of finals week," said UT Junior, Drew Alley. "It's kind of rough to be worried about that and worried about what's going on with the athletic department."

Now that a coach is in place students say its time for some results and offered Jones this advice.

"Get the players pumped up," said junior Andrew Scalf. "I think that's something we lacked in the Dooley era was getting the players pumped up."

"He's got to recruit and step up to the plate and be able to compete with the big boys in the SEC," said Alley.

The group putting perhaps the most pressure on the new coach's shoulders is this year's junior class.

"It's been a long three years here and I'd like to at least go out with a winning record," said Alley.

They aren't getting their hopes up too high just yet. The plan is to simply wait and see.

Former players and current sports radio personalities also weighed in on the announcement.

Former UT quarterback Erik Ainge says Tennessee's recruiting class has improved since Dooley was let go and he believes Jones could also help bring in more top recruits and ease fears among fans.

"If he brings back a little bit of these former Tennessee players Tee Martin, retain a Jay Graham, someone who knows what it takes to win at Tennessee, I think that will go a long way with him with these fans," said Ainge.

Former UT wide receiver Jayson Swain describes Coach Jones as "a guy that fires up his team.  His team rallies around him. He has high energy."

Ainge described his coaching style.

"I know he likes to spread it out. I know he likes to run an uptempo offense. I know he's an offensive guy," Ainge said.

On Friday afternoon, fans watched with great interest as they were introduced to their new head coach.

"I think we've been through a roller coaster the last couple days looking for a coach and we were all really excited about Gundy and we were all really excited about Strong and then we feel like for the last time in six years we've settled on our third choice," said fan Casey Dowd.

There's still an underlying hesitation over whether Butch Jones is the right man for the job, but fans were ready to hear him out.

"All I know about Butch Jones is a couple years ago we played Cincinnati and I remember seeing him and I think we won by like three touchdowns, so its pretty disappointing at first, but Derek Dooley was my favorite coach for two years so I'm going to support the guy," said Tyler Gustafson.

After watching the news conference, fans said Jones' enthusiasm won them over.

"He's really meeting the hearts of the Tennessee fans right now with all of the enthusiasm and everything," said fan Max Salyer.

Fans say there's still a bit of trepidation, but they're ready to put their support behind him if he brings them results.

"We want to put a good product on the field and we want to coach the good recruits we have at this point and that's kind of up to him now," said Dowd. "I'm always going to be a fan regardless if we go 3-9 or 12-0."

The announcement was also the talk of Tennessee fans on Twitter and Facebook.

On Facebook, Roger Asberry wrote, "Hope he can coach as good as he talks. Let's give him a chance. Good luck, Coach!"

"His energy and interaction reminds me a lot of Bruce Pearl," said fan John Turner. "I also found it reassuring that the Cincy fans that were interviewed at the basketball game last night ALL said they would hate to see him go. That's reassuring!"

On Twitter, Andrew Jones tweeted, "The general stupidity of my school's fan base makes me livid. Grow up and have pride in hiring an up-and-coming coach like Butch Jones."

6 News Reporters DREW GARDNER, ALEXIS ZOTOS, and STEPHANIE BEECKEN contributed to this report.

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