Tennessee star running back Jalen Hurd announced that he will be transferring from Knoxville. This announcement comes three weeks after Hurd was benched for most of the second half on Oct. 21, when the Vols played at Georgia.
With 7:14 seconds left in the second quarter, Vols QB Joshua Dobbs threw what should have been a touchdown pass to Hurd. Hurd caught the ball, but thinking no one was around him, relaxed. Hurd did not see Georgia defensive back Deandre Baker and Baker drilled Hurd causing a fumble that Georgia recovered.
Coach Butch Jones was understandably upset with Hurd for costing the team points. The touchdown would have been the teams first points scored in the game. Instead they were behind on the scoreboard, 10-0.
Georgia was leading 17-7 with 10:31 left in the third quarter, when Hurd caught a touchdown reception from Dobbs, making the score 17-14.
Well after Hurd’s touchdown, he caught on CBS cameras sitting on the bench without his helmet. CBS sideline reporter Allie LaForce reported live during the telecast, that Hurd was not receiving medical attention, and was not being talked to by coaches. He was benched.
Tennessee would go on to complete the comeback and win the game 34-31 on a hail-mary play, without Hurd.
The next week Tennessee lost to Texas A&M, Hurd did not play. An apparent injury was the reason that was given for Hurd’s absence. Hurd did return the following week to play the University of Alabama, the Vols lost 49-10.
Hurd was not injured, Jones suspended Hurd to transfer blame to distract critics from his poor coaching. Now Hurd is transferring away from Jones.
Hurd is a big play-maker and a future NFL star. He made an honest mistake by pulling up on what should have been a touchdown reception against Georgia. Yet he should not have taken all the blame.
Hurd played a limited role when the Vols lost to the University of South Carolina on Oct. 29. Hurd only ran the ball eight times but did score a touchdown. Jones clearly was not over the mistake at Georgia and was continuing to punish Hurd.
Jones just couldn’t let the one play go.
For one it was a good play by Baker. Baker left the man he was covering and sneaks up behind Hurd to knock the ball loose.
Earlier in the college football season, multiple college football players dropped the ball on the one-yard line on what should have been touchdowns. While Hurd’s play resembles those plays, Hurd just didn’t see Baker and was hit hard. It wasn’t the worst crime committed by a Vol this season.
No, the worst crimes were committed by Jones and the coaching staff. The team was constantly facing halftime deficits and players like Hurd and Dobbs would always score enough touchdowns in the second half to help the team win.
Jones overreaction and unnecessary discipline of Hurd, prompted Hurd to transfer Tuesday. Jones lack of leadership intangibles and ineffectiveness as a coached has likely doomed the rest of Tennessee season and probably his job.
The Vols had high hopes for 2016. Many college football fans and media believed the Vols were favorites to win the SEC East. The team did start 5-0 but now have lost three games in a row.
Jones will likely be gone at the end of this year, just like Hurd. Even with arguably the most athletic team in the SEC, Jones has not been able to produce enough wins since he became the head coach in 20113. After the way he has treated Hurd its not hard to see why someone with the character of Jones keeps losing.
Hurd has not stated which school he will transfer to.