Everything Josh Heupel said on Monday

0


Everything Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said during his weekly press conference on Monday, looking back at the 63-38 loss at South Carolina and previewing the regular-season finale at Vanderbilt:

OPENING STATEMENT

“Happy Thanksgiving week to everybody. Hope everybody has safe travels and enjoy some time with their family and gets a chance to watch some football at the end of the week. Just looking backwards, obviously disappointed with the outcome (at South Carolina). Everybody inside of our program was. You could still feel it a little bit from the guys today as we started, as they came into the building. Got a chance to watch the tape with them. Opportunity to learn and grow. Told the guys that we have to cut that one off and move forward as soon as we got out of the team meeting. Got an opportunity to get on the grass with them a little bit. Move around and we’ll see them later today. Looking forward to competing (at Vanderbilt). This is a big game. A game that is circled by a big portion of our fanbase. Obviously an in-state game. Important that we go finish this off the right way. Still have a lot of things that we’re playing for. First and foremost, this is just our next opportunity to go play together. We we’re looking forward to that opportunity.”

THE JEREMY BANKS SITUATION

“We anticipate Jeremy being with us here this week. As far as what transpired and those type of things, at the end of the day, he wasn’t available on Saturday.”

IF THERE WAS A COMMON THEME IN THE DEFENSIVE FAILURES AT SOUTH CAROLINA

“Disappointed. The players are too. It’s a prideful group that has played well at times. Obviously this was not a good performance. More missed assignments. We didn’t tackle well. Some things that we control. Obviously (South Carolina) played well, too. Disappointed in those things. We didn’t defeat blocks. That’s up front, that’s out on the perimeter. We didn’t make plays in space. Those are things at the end of the day that you have to do. We’ve got to learn from it, grow from it and be better.”

HENDON HOOKER’S TORN ACL, THE END OF HIS TENNESSEE CAREER

“Hate it for him. Just how much he has poured into it, the competitor that he is. How much he’s grown and the opportunity still here on the backend of the season for him. He represents everything that is good about college football. A young man that has learned how to become a grown man, that does it the right way, that cares about his teammates, that has grown outside of the game, that has grown inside of the game. Put himself in position to have a great future in the game, too. Just hate that we don’t get a chance to go compete with him again and that he doesn’t have that opportunity. For him, his future, he’ll make some decisions over the course of this week and start moving on, as far as getting healthy. We’re going to do everything we can to help him in that process.”

HAVING AN EXPERIENCED BACKUP QUARTERBACK IN JOE MILTON, HOW TO USE HIM WITH LIMITED DEPTH BEHIND HIM

“Gaston (Moore) and Navy (Shuler) are two guys that have been in our system for a while. Gaston in particular. With Joe, we have to go play and find a way to win this game. So we’ll use him as needed in the run game, too. Joe has grown a bunch. You guys have seen the way he plays when he’s been given the opportunity. He has really good command of what we’re doing. We don’t change what we do. He’ll be ready to go in this one.”

Josh Heupel: ‘I anticipate (Joe Milton) playing at a really high level’

THE DIFFERENCE IN JOE MILTON THIS SEASON VERSUS LAST SEASON

“I think he’s a lot more comfortable in what we’re doing. In the run game, and in just his decision-making process, all of it, he’s a lot further ahead than what we saw from him at the beginning of last season. And the guys around him have changed, too. I anticipate him playing at a really high level.”

THIS VANDERBILT TEAM AFTER WINS OVER KENTUCKY AND FLORIDA

“Playing as a team. They’ve created turnovers, created plays on special teams, defensively. Done a nice job here the last couple weeks making you earn it. They play hard. They’re physical. You see that in all three phases of the game. From them, quarterback run game (is) potentially a portion of what they’re going to do in this one. We’ve got to do a really good job of handling that and defeating blocks. Numbers are a part of that. Got to win on the outside, too. We’ve got to do a better job than we did a week ago with big, strong, physical wideouts. Offensively, we’ve got to be efficient and play ahead of the chains. You guys hear me talk about it. We need to start fast in this one, too. Defensively the last couple weeks we haven’t started as fast as we’re capable of. We need to start fast in this one.”

IF THERE ARE ANY SCHEMATIC CHANGES THAT COULD’VE HELPED DEFENSIVELY AT SOUTH CAROLINA

“Sure, there are probably a couple things that Coach (Tim) Banks would change. But you’re trying to balance everything, too, you know what I mean? From your numbers count in the box to protecting your guys out on the outside. At the end of the day there are plays that we’re capable of making that we didn’t make from the one-on-one situations. Just didn’t play well enough.”

WHERE THE LEADERSHIP OF THIS TEAM IS WITHOUT HENDON HOOKER ON THE FIELD, WHAT HE NEEDS TO SEE TO MAKE SURE THERE’S NO CARRYOVER FROM THE SOUTH CAROLINA LOSS

“You’ve got to cut it clean. You’ve got to flush it. That shows in your energy in the building. It shows in your approach in the meeting room. It shows with the energy and competitiveness that you have out on the practice field. Looking back a week ago —I told the team today, too — I liked a lot of what we did during the course of the week. Mindset and approach at the end of the week is going to be important, too. Obviously Thanksgiving creates something unique this week. The leadership portion of it, Hendon is a strong leader. There’s absolutely no doubt. He’ll be in the building at the beginning part of the week, too. That’s important. His teammates see him and feel him, too. We’ve got a lot of strong leadership. It’s not just from one guy within our locker room. We’ve got a bunch of prideful guys. That’s why we’ve continued to improve as a program over the two years I’ve been here. This one should be, and will be, important to our guys. There’s a lot that we’re playing for. In life, and in this game, you’ve got to finish strong. We’re obviously at the tail end of our regular season. It’s important to finish it the right way.”

WATCHING HENDON HOOKER BECOME A PROGRAM LEGEND AT TENNESSEE

“It’s been a great journey with him, watching him through the journey. What he means to this program currently, but longterm, too. He’s got an unbelievable legacy with what he’s built here. And he’s built it along with his teammates. I got a question a minute ago about finishing. Man, this team is playing for a legacy, too. And how you finish things. Hendon (was) playing as high of a level as anyone in college football, anyone I’ve been around. Just the competitor that he is, everyone can see that. He’s been a huge part of setting some really solid cornerstone pieces to what this program is and is going to be in the future.”

WANTING TO SEE HENDON HOOKER STILL BE A HEISMAN FINALIST DESPITE THE SEASON-ENDING INJURY

“He’s not going to have an opportunity to play the last regular-season game. The rest of the season, there was nobody playing at a higher level than he has. You can see that in the way that we played, the numbers that he’s put up. He absolutely deserves the opportunity to be there. And some of the quarterback awards, I anticipate him having the opportunity to win those.”

BRANDON TURNAGE 

“Don’t have an update on Brandon. We’ll see here later this week.”

Up Next: Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, SEC Network

WHAT HE SAW FROM JOE MILTON SATURDAY NIGHT AT SOUTH CAROLINA

“You continue to invest. The guys that put the most into it usually get it rewarded back to them. You don’t know when. You don’t know how. But he’ll be prepared in a great way for this one. Been really consistent in preparation as the backup all season long. Yesterday he’s in the building watching tape like he normally does. And we’ll have a great plan for him and expect him to go play at a really high level and execute.”

THE DIFFICULTY OF KEEPING A BACKUP QUARTERBACK IN THE PROGRAM IN THE ERA OF THE NCAA TRANSFER PORTAL

“The combination of that, we talked about it during the offseason when (Milton) chose to stay and you guys were asking the same question. It’s hard. It’s rare. I think it too is the culture in the building, the culture inside the quarterback room, his understanding of how he can grow as a player. At the end of the day, the biggest competition that you have is with yourself. To continue to become the player you’re capable of. He’s approached it the right way. I think it’s a great lesson for a lot of guys throughout college football.”

THE MESSAGE TO HENDON HOOKER AFTER THE INJURY

“In the locker room, before you had a final determination, tough. You love on him. Emotional for him, too. More realization yesterday after he gets results from everything medically. He comes back this morning and he’s got great energy, got a huge smile on his face. You can see how he’s gone through his journey and why he’s been able to have success through all the ups and downs. Man, he’s so consistent and very positive. He’s able to flip forward and there’s no doubt he’ll be success full on the back end of this, too.”

THE MOOD OF THE TEAM

“This morning you could still feel the sense of pain of opportunity lost as they came up the stairs and in the position room. I thought as they exited the team room and really when we got on the (practice) field, really there was good energy in what we were doing today. We’ll see them again later today, but I anticipate the guys having a great week of preparation and practice, man. Really do.”

DONEIKO SLAUGHTER

“Doneiko, don’t really know any more at this point. We’ll know more on the backend of the week.”

HOW MUCH JOE MILTON CAN HELP THEM NOW AND IN THE FUTURE

“Man, this week is all about this week. That’s it. We’ll finish this off the right way. Opportunity to finish with 10 regular-season wins. Hasn’t been done here in a long time. Put us in the best bowl situation we can be in. This football team has come a long way. It’s grown, it’s competed. It’s all about this week.”



Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.