The Tennessee Volunteers are scheduled to open fall camp tomorrow, August 1, and before camp begins, Josh Heupel, Tim Banks and Alex Golesh met with the media to discuss his football team. Below are our first fast hitters from the outing.
Excitement, Growth, Confidence, Competition
Much like Heupel has done in many other press conferences, he immersed himself in the excitement and growth he saw around his program this offseason. The excitement entering year two should come as no surprise as the Vols exceeded expectations in year one. This growth is a testament to the work ethic Tennessee has instilled in its players throughout the offseason. Each coach also talked about how some players are entering the building with different levels of confidence compared to last fall. You’ll hear the competition many times throughout this, but each coach explained how the players were challenging each other and taking positive steps in terms of competition.
NCAA Notice of Allegations
Heupel obviously can’t say much about it publicly at this point, but he did highlight the ability to be transparent with recruits from the start of the process when he took the job in January 2021, and how he felt that this has led to positive conversations with rookies and current players. on the team. The Vols almost have that in the backsight as they’ve already imposed multiple penalties on themselves and worked hand-in-hand with the NCAA throughout.
No updates on Bru McCoy
Tennessee is still waiting to hear from Bru McCoy, and Heupel didn’t offer much more than that, but he reiterated that McCoy continues to work and be part of what the team is doing moving forward. At SEC Media Days, Heupel said there was only one hurdle left for McCoy to be immediately eligible.
Elsewhere, the Vols will be without Len’Neth Whitehead this fall due to an undisclosed upper-body injury, but Josh Heupel believes his squad is relatively healthy across the board heading into camp. Tennessee will pick up several key plays that missed in the spring, including Kamal Hadden and Brandon Turnage, who will bring a lot of extra depth to the secondary.
Whitehead’s absence will likely force the Vols to rely on one of their first-year running backs in the rotation unless they’re able to make a late addition through the graduate transfer portal. , which is still an option at this point. Heupel reiterated that he feels confident in what Justin Thomas and Dylan Sampson bring to the room, as they have been so far, but they still need to continue to develop.
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Mitchell got the start in Weeks 1 and 2 at inside linebacker last fall, but was sidelined with an injury that required surgery. He is back this fall and healthy. Both Heupel and Tim Banks have spoken about his growth since returning from injury. That could be key for the Vols if they can create some real rotation at inside linebacker where they struggled in 2021 due to injury.
Heupel thinks the Vols have more body to use in tight end position this fall, but more importantly he thinks growth at the position can help
Tennessee coaches mentioned plenty of wide receivers, but the common theme was despite the loss of JaVonta Payton and Velus Jones, the Vols have enough depth to replace production to allow Cedric Tillman to continue to thrive in leading games. -headed. Alex Golesh discussed the competition in the slot and highlighted how Jalin Hyatt has “taken monumental steps” to get there. He also had positive things to say about Jimmy Calloway and Squirrel White, but he questioned the consistency of Jimmy Calloway. All three freshmen drew praise from Tennessee coaches during the media session.
Pass the rushers
Heupel stressed the need to be better on the third defense this fall. He, along with defensive coordinator Tim Banks, praised Byron Young and his growth within the position, but they also had a lot of good things to say about Tyler Baron and Roman Harrison, in addition to the potential newcomers James Pearce and Joshua Josephs. . It’s a place Tennessee solidified in the offseason and could be a key factor in the Vols’ success in 2022.
Attacking tackle fight
Alex Golesh discussed this position and noted that Darnell Wright would start at right tackle, while Dayne Davis, Jeremiah Crawford and Gerald Mincey would initially battle for left tackle. There was hesitation to lean one way or another to the post, but he emphasized the depth and the ability to use a committee approach if needed. This will be a positional battle that will continue for some time during fall camp and probably even into the first week. as Tennessee can use multiple rotations to test how they want to attack the toughest part of their season in that position.