Three-Point Stance: Time for Jones to go; fab freshmen, Heisman race
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here with a look at Butch Jones last game, his weekly Farrell Freshman Five and his Heisman list.
1. At Tennessee, it's time to move on
The first question I don’t know the answer to. I’m not sure how close the higher-ups are to making a decision, but I would have to assume they are pretty close. The second question I feel confident about. It’s time.
If Alabama, a 34-point favorite (the largest in the history of the series), wins 50-13 or so, it’s time to pull the plug on Jones and name an interim coach while you begin the coaching search. Why delay it any further? The Vols will have lost four of their last five games, will be 0-4 in the SEC and have zero chance of doing anything positive under Jones moving forward. Recruiting is already starting to suffer with a recent de-commitment of running back Lyn-J Dixon and rumors of five-star offensive line commitment Cade Mays ready to bolt as well among others. And we won’t have to hear any more ridiculous statements from Jones about five-star hearts, champions of life, leadership reps and not scoring enough touchdowns to win. This would be a mercy firing because leaving Jones to hang out as a media piñata (negative media remember?) would be an injustice to everyone.
While SEC teams like Georgia, South Carolina and Florida have made coaching moves in the SEC East and are all currently ahead of Tennessee in the standings, it’s time for the Vols to find their next guy. But wait, what if Tennessee somehow loses by eight points or so to ‘Bama and plays inspired football? Then I have one thing to say – they probably should have made the move after the South Carolina loss. No matter what, it’s time.
2. The (true) Freshman Five
It’s time for my Farrell Freshman Five again, the best true freshmen I saw this week. Keep in mind, I didn’t see every game or every play so these are the players that stood out to me.
• RB AJ Dillon, Boston College – Thirty nine carries for 272 yards and four scores, including a stiff arm toss that will make every end-of-season highlight reel. Andre Williams rushed for 2,000 yards under Steve Addazio and if the latter survives the next few seasons, watch out for this kid down the line to push for the same.
• RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin – Again he makes the list. When I started this, I expected more running backs to make the list but Taylor has clearly been the dominant guy week in and week out. He’s special.
• RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia – Swift finally makes the list with his 94 yards on six carries, highlighted by his 71 yard run. He’s been much better than I expected from the start, especially fighting for time against Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. He’s averaging 8.5-yards-per-carry.
• QB Jake Fromm, Georgia – Two from Georgia in a win over Missouri? This was Fromm’s best game as he got to sling the ball around a bit more, amassed over 300 yards and is starting to earn the trust of his coaches in the offense. This was a big step for him in a game no one really cared about.
• QB Sam Ehlinger, Texas – Ehlinger makes the list again with 278 passing yards and 110 rushing yards in the biggest game of his young career. He’s clearly the difference-maker for the offense and the team already responds to him as a leader.
3. Heisman race sorting itself out
My week seven Heisman list has the same leader but some new names. It’s still a clear top three, but after that it’s becoming interesting.
• Saquon Barkley, Penn State (last week No. 1) – Barkley remains on top despite the bye week and has a Heisman game coming up against Michigan with Gameday on hand and a prime time national audience. Could he seal the deal this weekend? Doubtful because Ohio State still looms, but he can distance himself.
• Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (last week No. 2) – He threw a pick finally but won a tough game against Texas and continues to be the best and most consistent quarterback in the country. If the Sooners keep winning, he will stay up near the top.
• Bryce Love, Stanford (last week No. 3) – One hundred and forty seven yards and two more scores keep him far and away ahead of everyone else when it comes to rushing yards and that alone will keep him in this top three. Once he passes 2,000 yards he will get a boost, but can he surpass Barkley and Mayfield? Doubtful. And he could get passed by a couple of players behind him right now.
• JT Barrett, Ohio State (last week NR) – He’s making his way back up the list. The numbers are amazing: 67 percent passing with 1,827 yards and 21 touchdowns and only one interception while rushing for 370 yards and five more scores. If they win out, he could push near the top.
• Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State (last week No. 5) – A big game against Baylor helps him and he’s No. 2 in the nation in passing yards with 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He falls behind Barrett however because of Barrett’s rushing ability.
• Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama (last week NR) – I like having a defensive guy on my list because the Heisman is a joke and never considers them. Fitzpatrick replaces Christian Wilkins. He’s having another amazing season.