Josh Heupel Discusses Offensive Standouts At Skill Position for the Vols This Spring

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Josh Heupel's team held its second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday morning. Following the event, Heupel discussed various aspects of what he has seen from his team to this point, including the standouts at the skill positions.

"I don't know that it's been the same guys," Heupel said about the guys that have stood out to him so far. "I think you see guys periodically throughout practice or throughout the scrimmage make some plays."

I think at the running back position, Jabari Small has done a fantastic job. He understands how we want to play. He understands what we're doing. He's been good without the ball in his hands and not just with the ball in his hands at the running back position. I feel like he's in a really good spot, and he does some really good things. Dee Beckwith has had some flashes at the running back position as well. He's starting to understand how to play that position. A unique guy in that he's played multiple positions in a short amount of time coming out of high school having played some quarterback as well. He's grown into a guy that is understating the running back position, learning how to play with pad leverage. His size is a positive, but he's also got to learn how to get pad under pad, and he's starting to do that."

A position that did not see a lot of production last fall, but it appears will be a focal point of Heupel's offense is the tight end group. He spokely highly of the position during Saturday's media availability.

"The tight ends, that group have all made plays," Heupel said. "(Austin) Pope coming back off of injury, he's done some really good things. Obviously, he's the most mature guy in the room or has the most experience. Princeton Fant has made plays. (Jacob) Warren has made plays. That's a group that has great depth and a lot of consistency in it. They are able to play in the box and outside."

"At the wide receiver position, I've talked about those guys before, but I like that group as far as their understanding and competitive nature. Velus Jones Jr., (Cedric) Tillman have made some plays. Jalin Hyatt has made some plays, getting back on the practice field here and done a really good job."

Heupel added more insight about the receiver position during the press conference as well.

"I am encouraged, absolutely, by the group," he said about his receivers. "There are so many things for them to grab on to in what we are doing besides just the play itself. I thought the first four or five days we probably weren't where we could be or should be. I feel like the last five, six days we've had on the grass, those guys have taken a huge jump not in the operation of what we do between plays but just understanding alignment, assignment, understanding the coverages they're seeing on the other side, playing with better technique, getting themselves in the right position allowing the quarterback to get rid of the football on time. I like where that group is heading right here. We still have four more big opportunities for them to grow. We've had some guys just in and out a little bit in that group but the next guy stepped up. We got to continue to really develop some depth at that position as we finish spring and get into the summer months as well."