The Tennessee Volunteers have reportedly settled on Hendon Hooker as the starter for Saturday night’s game, according to a report from Matt Zenits of ON3 Sports.
"I never speak in hypotheticals," Heupel said during Monday's noon press conference about Milton being the starter if healthy. “(Joe) got a little bit of work last week. We'll find out where he is in particular Tuesday, Wednesday here and see where we're at at that point as far as whether he'll be able to play or not.”
While the Vols staff like Milton’s upside when he is connecting on deep passes like they saw from him in fall camp, it would be hard to pull the ball out of Hooker’s hands given the way he has played since taking over for Milton.
Hooker is completing over 70% of his passes heading into Tennessee’s toughest game yet, and he has been more than an efficient runner when needed.
The biggest downside for Hooker has been turnovers, which he has to avoid at all costs tonight against a dangerous Florida defense.
Heading into this game, Heupel has reiterated that his team is excited and ready for the increase in competition.
Obviously, everybody in the building is excited for the opportunity to start conference play," Heupel stated earlier this week. "Obviously, the competition is gonna rise this week. Looking forward to the challenge, going down there, on the road, first road game for us as a program here. Obviously, the week of preparation for us is gonna be really important, paying attention to the details."
The Vols will play the Gators in front of a sellout crowd at 7 PM ET on ESPN.