Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker’s formula for success

Once all business, Vol senior signal caller is having more fun playing the position.
Tennessee Football Quarterback at practice on Tuesday August 2nd, 2022.
Tennessee Football Quarterback at practice on Tuesday August 2nd, 2022.(Rick Russo)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee enters the 2022 season with a luxury that not many teams in today’s college football have: two veteran quarterbacks with significant starting experience at the Power 5 level.

Despite competing with each other on a daily basis, Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton III have built a close bond that is helping take the offense to another level this season.

“It is probably something that is going to be rapidly disappearing, to have a backup quarterback with experience,” quarterbacks coach Joey Halzle said after Tuesday’s practice. “I think that speaks to the relationship that he (Milton) and Hendon have and also the way he feels about this place. He wasn’t in a hurry to jump up and leave as soon as Hendon had the type of year that he did. That has been awesome that he has been like that and that we have that type of guy in our room right now.”

So, what about the turnaround for Hooker since arriving on campus? He’s gone from understudy to QB1 and potential Heisman hopeful. His position coach said what ultimately did the trick was his ability to balance his hard work with a little fun.

“Hendon was a guy who was way too far in the business model, meaning that nothing was fun. Everything was serious. That wasn’t his best way to play. For some guys it is. It is not for him. We had to spend a long time working on having him really just enjoy the game while working hard. Working hard doesn’t mean serious all of the time, though. He is fun. He is enjoying himself and enjoying his time out on the field. That is what has allowed his talent to now take over again. He’s not tightening himself up with his own mind,” said Halzle.

Hooker and the Vols resumed fall camp Wednesday morning. In fact, the guys will work out through the rest of the week with the exception of Friday.

We are also 30 days out till kickoff against Ball State. Be sure to follow our annual 340-Days, 30-Vols countdown each day both on air, online and inside the WVLT news app.

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