One of the foremost questions on the minds of most UC fans these days is the Football program going to be different under Butch Jones relative to Brian Kelly, or even Mark Dantonio. To this point there isn't much to go on. I have the impression that Jones is less businesslike than Brian Kelly was, he constantly refers to building his football family in interviews of the published and broadcast variety. The players have responded well to Butch Jones and his change in philosophy which is a very positive development considering the nature of Brian Kelly's departure which was contentious at best. There aren't many ways to discern how the change is working behind the scenes. Brian Bennett over at ESPN's Big East Blog posted a two part interview last Thursday with Kerry Coombs, the only person who can speak with any sophistication on the differences between Brian Kelly and Butch Jones.
What are the differences between working for Kelly and working for Jones?
KC: What's really interesting for me to watch is two guys who I think are really good coaches go about their business in different ways, and I'm learning from that. Brian had a certain style, personality, methodology about how he was going to be a head coach. He was very confident in it and he believed in it and you never questioned it.
And here comes Butch Jones, and he has the same confidence and aura about what he's doing, but it's different. They're two different guys. They have a different way of approaching recruiting, of approaching practice, of approaching that season, And they're both successful. So for me, it's further evidence that there's more than one way to do things; it's that you believe in what you're doing that makes the difference. I can't tell you which one's better. I can just tell you that both are successful.
A popular meme the 7 months or so has been that Jones is a basically the same a Kelly. As the time has gone on that theme has lost a great deal of momentum because they are very different people and coaches. The other thing that I have noticed, and written about, is the difference in approaching recruiting, how Jones is much more aggressive than Kelly ever was in recruiting.
Kelly had a reputation of letting his coaches coach. Is Jones the same way?
KC: Brian was very much a get-your-job-done kind of guy. He wasn't really going to tell you how to do it. Now, he'd let you know when he didn't like the way you were doing something, and in no uncertain terms. You knew if he didn't approve of the way you were doing something, and you'd have to go fix that. You weren't walking around thinking and wondering if this is the right way or the wrong way of doing this. He was very results-oriented.
Butch is more process-oriented. He wants to know how we're doing it, why we're doing it. He doesn't necessarily want to tell you how to do it, but he wants to know about it. So both are results driven, but one is a little bit more concerned about the nuts and bolts of the process.
This the most interesting bit of the interview for me. Coombs stopped just short of saying that Brian Kelly was the Football Coach equivalent of James Lionel Price from the excellent movie Layer Cake, but only just. Kelly always struck me as someone who was more concerned with the end result than the manner in which the win was achieved.
Its not much to go on, but its something to think about going into the season.