Paul Finebaum has been a staple on the SEC Network since it launched in 2014.

Paul Finebaum: Tennessee finally on right track after ‘pathetic, carny barker’ Butch Jones

Paul Finebaum did not hold back when recounting Butch Jones’ final season at Tennessee.

After Tennessee’s first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt spoke Wednesday at SEC Media Days in Atlanta, Finebaum spoke on the SEC Network about how refreshing Pruitt’s energy and direction for the program were after five seasons under Jones.

“I think what he’s trying to do and what he did today was trying to draw a line of demarcation between what was and what is and what (the program) is going to be,” Finebaum said on the SEC Network Wednesday. “Let’s just be perfectly frank: I mean he was honestly refreshing. A year ago, Butch Jones was disingenuous, thin skinned, he was a pathetic carny barker and he’s now gone and Tennessee fans want to see a real coach up there and they have a real coach and they also have a real athletic director...

“I think for the first time in a long, the University of Tennessee is back on the right track.”

Pruitt, a former defensive coordinator at Alabama and Georgia, was hired by Tennessee in December to replace Jones immediately following the replacement of former athletic director John Currie with former coach Phillip Fulmer.

Jones was fired in November and the Volunteers went on to finish the season 4-8, losing seven of their last eight games and going 0-8 against SEC opponents.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.