Tennessee football head coach Josh Heupel talks after the first spring scrimmage

#1

TAF

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Josh Heupel opening statement…

“Huge day here on campus for us. We got 15 former players that will be working out here just a few minutes for Pro Day. Excited to see those guys go through this part of the NFL experience – guys that have helped us turn this program around and been a huge part of winning a lot of football games also. Great [work] this morning we were out able to get into, to kneeling out and scrimmage for the first time. We’re six days in and great to see the competition plays made on both sides of the football and as much as anything, thought [we] played extremely hard from snap to whistles.

So, a bunch that we will we’ll learn from here as we continue to push after Easter break on the back end of the spring ball.

When do you go into a first scrimmage like this, what are you looking for? I know playing hard, but beyond playing hard, what’s important for you today to accomplish?

“It does. It does start with playing hard. At this point in spring ball, you want your vets to act like vets to play sound football, play penalty free, but [to also] go out and execute. You got a lot of young guys inside your program that are getting their first taste of what it means to go play live football. So, by any stretch of the imagination [it’s] not going to be perfect, but once the guys are [a] go, going to go make plays and that’s offense. It’s the defense. We did a lot of good on and good in special teams and primarily in punt and punt return.

You want see guys that are putting themselves in a position here that you start gaining trust in who they are as a player and when something doesn’t go right, it’s important that we see guys respond the right way. And so, a lot of good, a lot of things that we’re going to have to learn from today. I’ll watch the video when they come back tomorrow.”

Speaking of that young group, what stood out most with that group today?

“I don’t know if there was any just, you know, one guy. Mike [Matthews] made a big play down the sideline today. I thought he competed hard throughout the course of the day. I thought some of our young DBs showed up just tackling in space. As we go through spring ball, those fundamentals are extremely important. Boo Carter did a great job making plays in space. Some of those guys are consistently showing up day-to-day as they go through this experience of growing.”

Coach Heupel sticking with the younger guys, you said last week that you really want to feel a sense of urgency with them on the field and that [it] can kind of be difficult with them coming in so new. What have you seen urgency wise for them on both sides of the field?

“Their competitive spirit when they’ve been out on the practice field. Those young guys don’t take a a backseat to anybody. Individual drills that are up in the front of the line. They’re constantly pushing to get reps. They’ve been great inside of the meeting room in the early part of spring ball. They expect themselves to do the right things and be mature, be a vet [veteran] almost as far as their understanding of the game. Those guys continue to compete in a really good way on offense, defense and special teams.

Can you talk about the tight end position from the standpoint of having a couple of newcomers from Holden Staes and Miles Kitselman adjusting to the offense. Kitselman seems like a guy who kind of arrived a little later than the arrest and maybe flies under the radar a little bit more. What do you like about him?

Miles (Kitselman) wasn’t here for [the] bowl preparation. The guys inside of our program – the guys that just got here like Miles and Holden…But Ethan Davis, a young player, all those guys [have] made plays out there to date. They’ve been really consistent in the first five practices too. I thought the new guys operated within our offense extremely well for their first time out on the field. There’s a certain way you got to play from snap to the echo whistle. Then how we function and operate and communicate offensively from the whistle to getting themselves lined up to getting in position and being efficient with their movement. I thought they did a really good job here for the first time.”


Coach Heupel what’s the status of Cam Seldon and with his injury? Do you, do you look at least consider looking into the portal for for depth at running back?

With Cam unfortunate just early part of spring ball had an injury to the shoulder, had surgery on it. We’ll kind of evaluate, where we’re at is the rehab process get started. We base our decisions off of that and kind of where we project where it’s gonna be.

Where was Nico’s operation today? How comfortable were you with him operating? What did you like that he did? Where would you like to see him go from one scrimmage to the next crew?

He’s been really good just in practices lead up to it. Being intentional, having conversations, making sure he’s getting on the same page with the skilled guys but also with the offensive line growing and bringing energy to that group before drives and during the course of it. I thought today just the way he functioned and operated controlled the huddle. We went into a four minute situation at the end, understanding the play clock, game clock, all of that just functioned and operated extremely maturely today.

Coach Heupel going back to Pro Day, what’s the most exciting part about seeing guys that you coach go through this process?

Ultimately at the end of it, it is them getting to a franchise and putting helmet shoulder pads on and getting a chance to go compete for the for a job. It’s the next part of their journey. Just the maturity that our guys have had and some of the feedback that we’ve gotten from NFL personnel that’s at postseason bowl games, how they’ve, handled the combine process. I’m really excited for, for those guys to show some of the maturity, some of the things that our coaches are teaching those guys on a consistent basis while they’re here in our program.

Excited for today. Just because they get an opportunity for those that didn’t go to combine to put their next foot forward and put themselves in a position to go where they want to go. So today they’re gonna have an opportunity to showcase their athletic traits that guys have already seen that personnel have already seen on the film. So excited to see ’em go compete today.

When you’re dealing with injuries, it’s opportunities for other guys going and at running back with Cam being out, what have you seen Khalifa and DeSean Bishop and how big is the opportunity to play the rest of spring? What you see from the day?

Dylan Sampson’s
been awesome. Just energy, leadership, maturity, and understanding of our offense. The young guys continue to take steps forward. Khalifa’s (Keith) done a really nice job. He’s been extremely physical and was today as well. I thought he finished going forward all the time and DeSean Bishop is a young guy that got nicked up last year. His growth inside of our program for him to get back on the field and showcase his skillset. He handled the rehab process extremely well and I love the competition that he’s brought.

Mention in your opening statement you really liked what you saw from the young db’s who stood out to you today?

I already mentioned Boo (Carter). I thought he made plays. John Slaughter did a great job today defending a deep ball down the sidelines. He’s ball-man relationship and playing the 50 50 ball he did a nice job on, on some of the tackles. Excited to go watch the scrimmage here, Edrees Farooq is is a young guy that’s consistently shown up here in the early part of spring ball too.
 
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#4
#4
Thanks @TAF ! I appreciate it! Glad to hear coach talk about the young guys making a difference and having the willingness to learn!
 
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#11
#11
Good news about the young guys in Boo, Matthews, and Davis. Hope that Boo and Farooq see quality playing time this year
 
#14
#14
He needs a hankie. That nose wipe with his hand is ----------------------------
I live down in Charleston. Every morning I go out and my black truck is yellow/green. I get it washed and the next day it's yellow/green. I went to get a haircut the other day and I was complaining about the pollen, and the young lady cutting my hair said, 'yeah, it's awful, but I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for two years before I came here. You haven't seen pollen and allergies until you've lived there.' Maybe it's the mountains all around, I don't know. But cut the guy a break...there's a lot of blooming up there this time of year.
 
#16
#16
I live down in Charleston. Every morning I go out and my black truck is yellow/green. I get it washed and the next day it's yellow/green. I went to get a haircut the other day and I was complaining about the pollen, and the young lady cutting my hair said, 'yeah, it's awful, but I lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for two years before I came here. You haven't seen pollen and allergies until you've lived there.' Maybe it's the mountains all around, I don't know. But cut the guy a break...there's a lot of blooming up there this time of year.

He does that regardless of the season, usually accompanied by a cough. Some Quercetin+C,D,Zinc supplements may be in order. I live in South Alabama and everything is yellow with pollen. I think it's overrated; unless you have a compromised immune system. I've had no issues, and the sidewalks are covered with Oak & Sweetgum "Squigglies" . Just the truth as I see it, not always popular.
 

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