Tennessee football should look different for year 2 under Josh Heupel

Vols expect to make big strides in 2022.
Vols expect to make big strides in 2022.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 12:59 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Folks on Rocky Top are feeling pretty good about their Vols! Head coach Josh Heupel returns a good bit of talent on a team that surprised opponents on the way to seven regular season wins.

Now it’s on to year two; a proposition made easier by the hard work in 2021.

“Year two should be a lot different than year one has been. I don’t think you’re ever where you want to be as a coach because you’re always trying to find ways to be better, have a pretty good idea of guys that are running out of that tunnel - who they are, what they’re about, how they’re going to play and compete, and how they’re going to handle positive plays negative plays,” Heupel said.

Also making Josh Heupel feel a little more comfortable is the return of quarterback, team leader, and Heisman hopeful Hendon Hooker, who said he’s ready to lead an improved squad.

“You know, we all want to finish how we start. Now a couple of times last year, we didn’t do that,” Hooker said. “So just making that a big deal of just finishing everything and finishing drives, you know, just making a big emphasis on just finishing everything he’s not just talking to the offense but team-wide.”

Hooker leads a unit that looks to be faster and more productive in season number two; an absolutely attainable goal, said junior wide receiver Jalin Hyatt: “Now, we’re definitely going to do a lot more things in year two than year one, understand looks. Leverage, you know, on defense, and I think that was really the biggest reason on why we’re going to take the next step even as a whole with this offense.”

With Hooker, Hyatt, Cedric Tillman, and a host of critical components back, there’s no reason the UT offense shouldn’t still be top-10 nationally.

It’s also Year Two for defensive coordinator Tim Banks, so the expectation, even with question marks in the secondary and in the interior line, is for a deeper defense to take some steps forward, and the coach agrees: “You know, obviously, the more key players you’re able to play, we think the better it is for our long term future and obviously our immediate success so number one, figure out who our best guys are, but number two, to be able to, you know, have enough depth to be able to move forward and obviously pay dividends moving forward through the season.”

Add some talented Freshmen like five-star USC transfer Bru McCoy; there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about improvement from year one to year two under Josh Heupel.