Butch Jones explains why Tennessee went for one instead of two

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With his Vols up by six points, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones opted to go for one point instead of attempt a two-point conversion attempt after a third quarter touchdown extended the lead to 12. Tennessee got the extra point, but ended up losing to the Florida Gators by one. After the loss, Tennessee’s 11th straight against Florida, Jones was left with some questions to answer regarding his coaching decisions.

For starters, why the heck didn’t you go for two?

“Well a number of reasons and we were discussing that prior to the drive. If we did score whether we go for one or two, we have a chart that is pretty standard in football first of all and maps it all,” Jones explained, seemingly admitting he chose to ignore the chart he made sure to mention. “We just felt like at that stage in the game that we had great confidence in our defense of getting off the football field and allowing them to push the ball down the field so we felt very comfortable with the decision.”

Rule number one: When you lose to one school for 10 straight years, you never trust your defense with a quarter and a half to play to hold a 13-point lead.

Rule number two: Two weeks after experiencing the agony of defeat when victory was seemingly knotted up, you never trust your defense to hold a 13-point lead.

Rule number three: If you have a chart that tells you when to go for two points in your hands on the sideline, you follow the darn chart!

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs shared his thoughts on whether it was good enough to go for one point after that touchdown.

“No, when you come on the road in the SEC the game’s never over,” Dobbs said.

Jones was also forced to address another questionable coaching decision that came back to haunt him earlier in the third quarter. Florida was in a fourth down situation (4th and 6 from the Tennessee 25-yard line) and took the field looking to line up in a field goal formation. Jones chose to burn one of his timeouts, fearing the Gators had a trick play in the works. Florida came out of the timeout with its offense and Will Grier completed a pass to Brandon Powell for a 21-yard gain and the Gators scored a touchdown on the next play.

Did Jones give his counterpart on the other sideline, Jim McElwain, time to rethink the decision to kick a field goal? McElwian did not admit to having a trick play ready, so it is difficult to say whether or not the Vols made the right call taking the timeout.

“We thought they were going to do a fake field goal so that is the one time that we did it,” Jones said after the game. “Another time is making sure we had the right personnel on the field in some different things we had seen from scouting.”

Jones may be a fine coach, but yesterday proved he is certainly not exempt from the trend of coaches out-thinking themselves in critical situations. Sometimes the best solution is the simplest solution.

Air Force football sanctioned for recruiting violations

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.

The penalties were announced Thursday after Air Force and four individuals reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations. A fifth individual in the case has contested their role and will be heard by the committee on infractions.

The sanctions also include a fine and a reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program in the 2022-23 and `23-24 academic years. In addition, there’s a prohibition on unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022, and a reduced number of evaluation days this fall.

Air Force has around 115 players on its varsity roster, plus a JV team that all count as NCAA athletes and its roster size.

“The (committee) appreciates the parties’ efforts in working collaboratively together to reach agreement on the violations, levels, classifications, and significant and meaningful penalties,” Gary Miller, the chief hearing officer for the panel and president at Akron, said in a statement. “The panel also recognizes that Air Force has gone above and beyond in its overall approach to this case.”

In a joint statement, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and director of athletics Nathan Pine said: “The U.S. Air Force Academy is pleased that our case has progressed to the point of the NCAA accepting our negotiated resolution. We will continue working with the NCAA on this ongoing self-reported case from the COVID dead period, as it’s our responsibility to ensure integrity of the institution, athletics department, cadet-athletes and staff.”

The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start and host Navy on Saturday to begin the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition. The trophy is presented to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin format.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”