2. Tennessee football is hit with a horrific injury bug in 2016 and 2017.
It seems like the strength team and medical staff had issues. But even if that was the case, you don’t get hit with the injury bug the way Tennessee football did in 2016 and 2017 without some horrific luck. And that’s exactly what happened.
Tennessee made the splash move to bring in Bob Shoop in 2016, and at the time, it seemed like a great hire. Shoop was a star in the making. What people didn’t realize, though, was he clashed with the Tennessee Vols’ staff.
On top of that, Jones had the conditioning program in limbo after parting ways with the previous strength coach. The result? A Tennessee team that was supposed to win the East in 2016 got hit with a rash of injuries nobody could explain.
Make no mistake, without those injures, the Tennessee Vols go 11-1 in the regular season. Jones might still have a job as well. But instead they fell to 8-4 on the regular season in what was clearly a disappointing year.
You can mention the actions of Jones, the strength team and the medical staff. But isn’t it ironic that this all happened the first year that Tennessee football was expected to compete for a title after Fulmer’s firing?
Honestly, could you think of a bigger curse than that? The guy being away clearly brought negative energy, and this proved it more than anything else.
Anyway, Jones tried to rectify it by bringing in Rock Gullickson for 2017 to run the strength program. But it all happened again. A rash of injuries kept this team from probably getting to 6-2 at the end of October.
As a result, the Tennessee Vols suffered another highly disappointing season. And yes, part of the disappointments had to do with lots of bad luck. It all led to the firing of Butch Jones, which is what led to the final piece of bad luck for the program.