Josh Heupel introduced his offensive staff to the media and fans on Wednesday afternoon. Huepel, who has been on the job for over three weeks now, added the final piece this past week.
It didn’t take long for folks to understand how important it was to him to have familiarity with this staff, as they start working to put the complicated schemes into place.
The new Tennessee head coach gave a brief synopsis on why he brought each coach to Knoxville.
“Awesome to get an opportunity to be able to talk about offensive staff, the men that we’ve collected that will help lead our program here in the future,” Heupel said. “Guys that are energetic, passionate, they’re great teachers of the game – more importantly, they’re going to invest in our young people off the field. I really do believe that if you take that perspective, you’re going to win. You’re going to win on the field and you’re going to win off the field, as well.
“(This is) a group of guys that some of them, I’ve been with for the last couple of years and some of them that are new to what we’re doing offensively but bring in a great background, both on the recruiting side of it and the development of players as well.”
Offensive Coordinator Alex Golesh
“Alex Golesh, our offensive coordinator, coming with me from UCF, served in a coordinator position last year (and) will coach our tight ends. Before that (he) was at Iowa State. He was part of rebuilding a program there that obviously has become a national power. I look at his ability to recruit, just his track record of being one of the top recruiters in every conference that he’s been in. Great ties to the junior college ranks, as well. (He) will do a great job of serving us as a football program. He has a great understanding of what we do offensively, the tempo that we want to play with, how to create mismatches, and does a great job of teaching the game to our guys, as well. I think you look at his development of the tight ends through his tenure as a coach, he has developed some guys that have become all-conference players, a Mackey Award finalist, so looking forward to having him here and obviously our tight ends are, as well.”
Wide Receivers coach Kodi Burns
“The second guy I’d like to talk about is Kodi Burns. A guy that I actually recruited coming out of high school before he went to Auburn to play football. So, I had a long track record with him just dating back to him in his high school days. I’ve watched him from afar. Great player, unselfish and a guy that post playing career has just done a phenomenal job on the recruiting side of it and also developing players. He served in a co-coordinator title last year at Auburn. (He’s) played in this league, understands this league, has recruited it and done it at a really high level, and I’m excited about having him as a part of our staff.”
Offensive Line coach Glen Elarbee
“Glen Elarbee, our offensive line coach, coming with me from UCF. Glen and I have been together for the last five years. He was a part of turning around the offensive side of the football when we were at Missouri together, leading the league in offense our years there together. Went with me to UCF and is a phenomenal teacher of the game. You look at offensively what we’ve been able to do, the ability to protect the quarterback and the ability to run the football – I think all of our offenses were top 25 in rushing the last three years at UCF. He’s a guy that’s going to be great off the field, a tremendous recruiter and he’s a great technician. He has the ability to teach these guys at a really high level. We have already seen that with some of the stuff that we’ve been doing with our players here, their ability to comprehend and retention. They’re excited about what’s going on there.”
Quarterback coach Joey Halzle
“Joey Halzle will be coaching our quarterbacks. Joey and I have been together the last 13 years on the coaching side of it. He played for me at Oklahoma, was in a room with a Heisman Trophy winner in Sam Bradford. He’s been a part of high-level development of the quarterback position. Part of Landry Jones, who I think finished fourth in the history of college football in passing yards when he finished, the development of Drew Lock at Missouri, second-round draft pick. Look at what he’s done with Dillon Gabriel at UCF, who was leading the country in passing at one point this year. He understands the game, does a great job of teaching it, understands the fundamentals, understands the scheme and will do a great job of developing that position. I think that’s one of the most under coached positions in all of football. The ability of the coordinator or the guy that’s coaching that position to really understand footwork, eye training, body position to allow those guys not just to understand scheme, but to understand the position you got to be in to be successful and to be accurate with the football and to be decisive. He’ll do a great job there.”
Running Backs coach Jerry Mack
“The last guy I’m going to talk about is Jerry Mack, who will be coaching our running backs. Look at his track record, he comes from Rice as an offensive coordinator, understanding the entire perspective on the offensive side of the football. He was a tremendous head coach. I think coach of the year honors maybe three times during his head coaching career. He gets it from a global perspective, just how to run a program and what we’re doing offensively. He’ll get caught up to speed on what we’re doing. Just being in the room with him, already he’s got tremendous ideas on things we can continue to grow and develop in. He will do a great job of teaching our running backs and controlling that position and we’re excited about having him here and a great group of men that will do a tremendous job of instilling confidence, energy, passion and work ethic in our young guys.”
Heupel ended his portion of the press conference by discussing the type of offense you will see out of this Tennessee team.
“We are excited about them being a part of what we’re doing and getting our guys going offensively,” Heupel said. “And again, for us, on the offensive side of the ball, we’re going to play with tempo. We’re going to play in space. We’re going to apply pressure to the defense consistently, and we’ve got a group of guys here on the offensive side of the football that are ready to go lead that charge.”
The Vols offensive coaching staff will now spend the next month trying to teach the offensive group this uptempo scheme, in hopes they’ll be able to make the most out of Spring practice.