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AP photo by Wade Payne / Former Tennessee football coach Butch Jones hugs wide receiver Marquez Callaway after Alabama beat the Vols 58-21 at Neyland Stadium in October 2018. Jones is in his second season as an offensive analyst at Alabama.

The novelty of Butch Jones wearing crimson at an Alabama-Tennessee football game came and went with last year's matchup inside Neyland Stadium.

Jones is now in his second season as an Alabama offensive analyst under Nick Saban after spending five years as head coach of the Volunteers, and he enters Saturday night's showdown between the No. 1 Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) and the Vols (3-3, 1-2) with as much experience as anybody on that side of the ball for Alabama.

Current coordinator Steve Sarkisian was an offensive analyst for most of the 2016 season in Tuscaloosa and replaced Lane Kiffin as coordinator before the national title contest against Clemson, but then he left for two seasons in the NFL. Tight ends coach Jeff Banks is in his second season with the Tide, while offensive line coach Kyle Flood, running backs coach Charles Huff and receivers coach Holmon Wiggins are newcomers, which has resulted in Jones suddenly becoming a familiar face for Saban.

"Most of the stuff he does is behind the scenes, like film study and administrative-type work," Saban said Wednesday. "He always does a 'What do we need to do on offense?' for me, and offering his opinion in terms of improving based on film study and things like that. His role has always sort of been that, and he's done a really, really good job of it.

"He's a great person and a great guy to have in your organization."

Jones went 0-5 as Tennessee's coach against Alabama, losing his last two meetings by a combined score of 94-17. That marks the most lopsided two-year stretch in the rivalry's history.

Following Alabama's 58-21 win last October, Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and running back Damien Harris sensed how much it meant to Jones and doused him with water.

"It was good to see Butch Jones get dumped on," Saban said afterward. "He was happy, and he's done a great job for us. We really appreciate the things he has done to help our program."

Said receiver Henry Ruggs III: "Even though it was cold, it had to feel good for him getting that win."

Jones hugged several former Tennessee players after last year's game and took pictures with multiple Alabama players in the visiting locker room during the cigar celebration that accompanies the winning team. That he returned for a second season in a role paying $35,000 is not unique, Saban said.

"We've had guys do it, and I think it's all relative to what they want to do," Saban said. "I know Butch had job opportunities after last year, and he decided that he wanted to stay here. It's obviously an advantage when you have continuity in your program with the people that you have in your organization at any level."

Jones received a buyout from Tennessee of more than $8.2 million in November 2017. He is scheduled to receive monthly installments of nearly $200,000 through Feb. 28, 2021.

 

Reichard update

Saban said after Wednesday's practice that freshman kicker Will Reichard punted some Tuesday, kicked some Wednesday and remains day-to-day for Saturday's game.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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