Heupel most up-to-date coach hoping to turn all-around Tennessee Vols

FILE — In this July 20, 2021, file picture, Tennessee NCAA head soccer coach Josh Heupel speaks to reporters throughout Southeastern Meeting Media Days NCAA higher education soccer news conference in Hoover, Ala. Heupel is the fifth various mentor at Tennessee — not counting interim or acting coaches — considering the fact that the finish of the 2008 season. He will take more than a software that went 3-7 previous time and at this time is in the midst of an NCAA investigation into the recruiting concerns that expense Jeremy Pruitt and nine many others their positions in January. (AP Photograph/Butch Dill, File)


Josh Heupel understands just what he walked into as the newest head football mentor of the Tennessee Volunteers — a custom-filled system that has struggled of late.

“This is one particular of the iconic plans in all of college or university sporting activities, in all of college or university soccer,” Heupel mentioned.

Tennessee has lots of background with this the 125th season in college historical past. The Volunteers have won 13 Southeastern Convention football championships and count 6 national championships, the past in 1998. But their previous SEC Japanese Division title arrived in 2007.

Heupel is the fifth various coach — not counting interim or acting coaches — considering the fact that the finish of the 2008 season. He requires in excess of a application that went 3-7 final year and at present is in the midst of an NCAA investigation into the recruiting challenges that cost Jeremy Pruitt and nine some others their work in January.

The gentleman who quarterbacked Oklahoma to a countrywide title and who went 28-8 over the previous 3 seasons at UCF sees prospect in Knoxville. He has 14 starters again from a workforce that lost 7 of its ultimate 8 games in 2020.

“We have an option to celebrate the great traditions whilst putting a new age technique on it,” Heupel mentioned. “Our children and our staff members, they’re all there mainly because of that. They selected the electricity of T for those explanations. Our staff selected the electrical power of T for those people explanations.”

Very long Absent

Tennessee’s roster is incredibly various right after 13 scholarship players left for the transfer portal, which incorporates the Vols’ major rusher, beginning quarterback and prime tackler. Eric Gray transferred to Oklahoma after averaging 85.8 yards hurrying. Quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, who threw for a workforce-superior 1,112 yards, now is at Washington Condition, and linebacker Henry To’o To’o went to rival Alabama. 5 many others were dismissed.

Also absent is leading vast receiver Josh Palmer, nevertheless he was a third-spherical draft select by the Los Angeles Chargers. The Vols dropped a pair of starters on the offensive line with Trey Smith a sixth-spherical pick by the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and Brandon Kennedy not returning following six many years in higher education.


Heupel assisted mitigate the significant losses by bringing in 13 players, 8 immediately after spring follow. That includes quarterback Joe Milton, who remaining Michigan senior linebacker Juwan Mitchell who led Texas in tackles previous season huge receiver JaVonta Payton from Mississippi Point out and cornerback Brandon Turnage who remaining Alabama.


Heupel has a potent report of offensive good results, and UCF rated next in 2020 with 568.1 yards of total offense a video game and eighth scoring 42.2 points a match. The Volunteers undoubtedly can use an offensive raise after position just 108th in scoring with 21.5 points a recreation and 102nd nationally with 346.2 yards a game.

He has 5 starters back again on offense and could have a new starter at quarterback. Harrison Bailey started the remaining 3 video games final period as a freshman. But Heupel not only landed Milton as a transfer, he also added Hendon Hooker from Virginia Tech to enhance levels of competition at that location.


Tennessee is celebrating the 100th 12 months at Neyland Stadium all 12 months long. The stadium at the moment seats 102,455, building it the fifth-biggest in school football, soon after setting up as Shields-Watkins Subject in 1921 with seating for 3,200.


Heupel will have a chance at a quick turnaround if only due to the fact of this season’s slate. The Vols open Sept. 2 web hosting Bowling Inexperienced on Sept. 2 adopted by visits from Pittsburgh and Tennessee Tech just before their very first SEC activity. They wrap up their nonconference plan Nov. 20 web hosting South Alabama.

They have back again-to-back again street game titles beginning Sept. 25 at Florida on Sept. 25 adopted by a excursion to Missouri on Oct. 2. They also visit Alabama on Oct. 23 and Kentucky on Nov. 6.

Tennessee hosts South Carolina, Ole Overlook, Ga and Vanderbilt.

Elva Zachman

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