Tennessee took to the indoor practice field on Thursday evening as storms swept across the Southeast. As one would imagine, the quarterback room was a talking point during Josh Heupel's media availability, as reporters asked Heupel for his takeaways from his first live look at the position group.
One key thing to note before diving into his quotes is Heupel confirmed rumors around the status of Kaidon Salter not being with the team due to his involvement in an incident at Stokely Hall earlier this month, which resulted in the indefinite suspension of him and three other teammates.
Heupel did offer up plenty about the quarterbacks he had available, however.
"At the quarterback position, in particular, I thought they handled the tempo portion of some of our team sets extremely well," Heupel said. "(They) Handled the communication parts of it. Played within themselves. They made some mistakes out there, too, but they did a lot of really positive things too. The thing that we’ve challenged our guys is don’t make the same mistake twice. Be coachable. Accept coaching in a positive way, learn from it, grow from it, change from one rep to the next. As we called the team up today, that was just one of the points of emphasis I made to them. I saw guys who really accepted coaching, challenging themselves to get better from one rep to the next in a really positive way. I thought there was a ton of positive energy out there between players and coaches."
Picking up a new offensive system will be vital moving forward in this competition, maybe the deciding factor between the players available to Heupel at this point, which he also discussed where the quarterback room stands in terms of this.
"Right where you want them to be might not be the right way to phrase it," Heupel said. "I think as a coach, you're you always want to be further ahead than where you're at. You're never accepting of where you're at. You're always pushing forward. But I do we got guys that they've been great inside the meeting room. A bunch of guys that are learning how to put in extra time and effort meet with coaches, on top of what's required. Players meeting together, watching film together. Those are the things you know everybody, you know, there's a NCAA requirement or max number of hours that you get with a man. Great players, great teams, they're going to go above and beyond that all the time and our guys are learning to have how to have really good work habits.”
Tennessee will return to the practice field on Saturday for its second practice of the spring.