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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Column: McElwain isn’t the only one feeling the heat: Three coaching hot seats in the SEC East

<p>Tennessee head coach Butch Jones yells to a players in the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)</p>

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones yells to a players in the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

We’re smack dab in the middle of SEC football conference play, and some coaches are already suffering from severe butt sweats from how hot their seats are. Some might also be a little more soothingly warm on the buttocks than you might expect.

Everyone at Florida is talking about possibly cutting ties with Jim McElwain, but the Gator Nation isn’t the only SEC East fanbase dealing with potential breakups.

An SEC coaching gig is one of the hardest jobs to acquire as well as maintain. I’m going to give you my expert college-student analysis about the exact temperature of some of these seats other than Florida’s.

Let 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit stand for exactly where a coach wants to be. That’s when his butt is one with the chair.

Derek Mason – Vanderbilt – 110 degrees Fahrenheit

After a solid 3-0 start that included a highlight win against a ranked Kansas State team, the Commodores quickly fell back down to earth.

Four weeks later, Mason’s program is still in search of its first conference win of the season. For a team that was supposed to continue growing after finishing 2016 with three SEC wins (the most of Mason’s tenure) and a bowl appearance, things aren’t going so hot (unless you’re talking about Mason’s tush on that seat).

Vandy’s most recent loss to Ole Miss hurt the most. The Commodores were thrashed for 57 points despite defense being the team’s strong suit.

In the end of it all, it’s Vanderbilt. The Commodores weren’t really supposed to make much noise, so Mason’s margin of error is a bit wide.

But he might need to pick up at least a couple SEC wins to remain employed heading into 2018.

Butch Jones – Tennessee – 326 degrees Fahrenheit

The loss to South Carolina on Oct. 14 may have been an extra nail in Butch Jones’ already highly secured-by-nails coffin.

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It hasn’t just been the losses, but how the Volunteers have lost. What started with a blown coverage on the last play of the Florida game turned into a serious battle with a still-winless UMass team the very next week.

Was Tennessee expected to beat Georgia? No, but it shouldn’t have lost to the point where the Bulldogs threw a half-injured QB Jacob Eason in to finish the contest like it’s a minor league baseball rehab game.

Any chance of Jones returning next year ended when the Volunteers couldn’t piece together one touchdown drive at home against the Gamecocks. That’s just too much.

Barry Odom – Missouri – 140 degrees Fahrenheit

I believed in you Barry. I really did.

Mizzou was my dark-horse SEC team heading into the season. I even told people “Watch, you’ll see…you’ll all see” in a really maniacal tone.

In my defense, their offense is nice. Quarterback Drew Lock has an NFL-caliber arm, Damarea Crockett is a beast of a running back for a sophomore and J’Mon Moore is legit as an outside receiver.

But the defense is abysmal. Plain and simple.

The fewest points the Tigers have given up this season is 31. They’ve won one game against an FCS team that still put up 43 points on them.

Mizzou fired its defensive coordinator after Week 2, but an entirely new regime might have to come in to solve those terrible defensive issues.

You can follow Skyler Lebron on Twitter @SkylerLebron, and contact him at slebron@alligator.org.

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones yells to a players in the first half of an NCAA college football game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

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