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Vols ready to finish regular season strong on Senior Day

Head coach Josh Heupel talked about the impact that this year’s senior class has had on the program during his short time in Knoxville, noting their ability face adversity head on and help lay the foundation for the future.
Josh Heupel
Josh Heupel(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 3:21 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee will look to cap the regular season off with a win on Saturday as the Vols host in-state rival Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium for Senior Day on Saturday afternoon.

Head coach Josh Heupel talked about the impact that this year’s senior class has had on the program during his short time in Knoxville, noting their ability face adversity head on and help lay the foundation for the future.

“Facing adversity and running right into it. Never losing faith and just continuing to compete and grow,” Heupel said when asked what he appreciated most of this year’s senior class.

“I think all the uncertainty of last offseason, December and January, to a new coaching staff arriving, them buying into it, a lot of them being great leaders inside of our program, been instrumental in how we have grown. To me, when I think about this group, it’s their ability to face adversity and step right through the fire.”

Heupel also talked about the buy-in from the team, specifically the upperclassmen, and how it has had a profound impact on UT’s success this season.

“I think a lot of coaches will tell you when they go into a new program, the older guys are the toughest guys to get to buy into it because they feel like they’re on the back end of their careers. To me, that hasn’t been the case at all inside of our program. I think we’ve had great buy-in from everyone throughout the course of the process.”

From a player’s perspective, it didn’t take long for the team to believe in what Heupel, and his staff were preaching.

“It didn’t take me too long,” redshirt senior defensive lineman Ja’Quain Blakely said. “Just coming in and knowing a little bit of their background and doing some research, it didn’t take me long to know that these guys know what they say, say what they mean, and they came here for one thing—to win games.”

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