Butch Jones throws support behind embattled kicker Aaron Medley
One could argue Tennessee is a few field goals away from being a 6-1 football team. Considering the Vols’ four losses have come by a combined 17 points, every point has been critical to the team’s efforts this season.
With that in mind, sophomore kicker Aaron Medley is hitting on just over 50-percent of his field goal attempts, having converted nine of his 17 tries. Coming off a five-point loss which featured three missed field goals, is the team considering opening up the kicking competition?
“No,” Butch Jones said Monday in his introductory press conference. “Aaron Medey is our kicker.”
“We have great confidence in Aaron,” Jones continued. “He makes those kicks in practice, and he’ll get it corrected. He’ll get the details corrected, and we’re gonna need him down the stretch. He went back to work on it on Sunday, when we got back, to correct some of the steps and the strides and all of that. But we believe in him, and we’re gonna be there for him, and we’re gonna need him down the stretch."
Jones was also asked whether Medley’s struggles would affect his decision-making when the team is on the border of field goal range.
“There’s so much that goes into that decision-making process,” Jones said. “It goes in with the elements, the win, the distance of the kick and the distance in terms of is it fourth-and-2 or fourth-and-3, and then what does their fourth-down defense consist of. It’s not just something that you go there and you say you’re gonna do this. There’s a whole plan in place.”
The plan typically calls for a kicker that makes over half of his attempts. If Medley doesn’t improve his accuracy in a hurry, a promising end of season slate could result in more heartbreak for the Vols.