Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel met with the media moments ago to discuss his team ahead of fall camp. We take a look at several quick takeaways here.
All four of Tennessee's quarterbacks will meet with the media later today. While Heupel continues to stress that this is an open battle, there was a couple of notes. Heupel believes the team will have a set starter at quarterback by week one, but he did allude to the possibility of others having a role, regardless of who wins the battle. Heupel did not dismiss the idea of having a platoon system with two guys, which would be geared more towards a situational role. Have to believe this could be the case if Harrison Bailey takes the reins, as the Vols could use Joe Milton, Hendon Hooker, or Brian Maurer in more short-yardage situations where their legs or size could be more of a factor based on the given situation.
The SEC mandated a COVID vaccination policy that if a team meets an 85% vaccination threshold, they will not have to undergo rigorous COVID19 policies such as regular testing or wearing masks inside facilities. If a team is under the threshold, they will have to forfeit the game if a breakout is within their confines.
Heupel did not commit to specifics today about his team's percentage, but he did say that they are gaining traction to get closer to the 85% threshold.
Heupel was very pleased with the transfer portal additions, but he still believes the Vols have work to do in terms of roster management, filling guys into the right spot ahead of the season, and finding where to slot guys in on special teams. This is not much of a surprise, and in our opinion, most head coaches always feel that they have work to do on this front, but Heupel was open and transparent in this. He did note that regardless of who you were or what you play, that everybody got reps and will continue to get reps on special teams.
Heupel did not voice much here about the possible sanctions, as he suggested he is completely focused on his team. He wants to 'control the controllables' in heading towards training camp. He did note that the administration has been handling everything on that front, and he continues to voice that he has been extremely transparent on the recruiting trail, and the current players in the building. Regarding the violations, he was asked if Tennessee planned to self-impose penalties, so it remains unclear at this time what the timeframe is like for when this will wrap up.
Competition and Culture
This was really the theme of the day. Heupel is building his program around these two things. Multiple times he talked about both topics. He wants competition across the board at each position this fall, and from our sources, we believe that everything truly is an open competition heading into fall camp.
On the culture aspect, Heupel discussed how important personal relationships are outside of the building, and how he wants multiple voices to speak for his program so that others can see what they are building and trying to do. Today, he is letting both coordinators speak, in addition to 11 players. This is a drastic contrast from Jeremy Pruitt's staff, where information and insight were limited.