Heupel Gives Vague Quarterback Update During Press Conference

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    Josh Heupel Tennessee Quarterback

    Tennessee HC Josh Heupel talking about the Vols’ quarterback room on Thursday.

    In a word, Tennessee’s quarterback situation this season has been, unpredictable. Not due to a quarterback controversy on the field, but instead because of injuries.

    Against Florida, for the second time in the span of four games, Tennessee’s starting quarterback did not finish the game due to injury. Against Pittsburgh in the second week, Joe Milton III was injured in the second quarter, giving the reins to Hendon Hooker. Then, Hooker held onto the starting position until he was hurt two weeks later against Florida, with Milton as his replacement.

    During his press conference on Thursday, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel was asked if he had decided upon a starter for the game

    “Geronimo, our team physician, will make that decision tomorrow,” Heupel said.

    Ultimately, Heupel’s answer did not point to either quarterback as the starter, nor did it even reference one in particular. While his response is hard to figure out, there are two possibilities in what he meant by “our team physician will make that decision.”

    Currently, Hooker is the quarterback that is known to be injured after leaving the Florida game. In addition, Milton was his replacement in that game last week. However, Heupel has also mentioned this week that Milton is not 100 percent, even though he is improving.

    So, on one hand, Heupel could be hinting that he will continue with Hooker as his starter as long as he is cleared by the medical staff. However, that is not the only option. On the other hand, it could also mean that Heupel is just waiting for all the information before making his decision.

    “As you guys know, we have some guys that are nicked up,” Heupel said on Thursday morning. “Today, some of those guys were able to move around, don’t have a final call on those guys. We will find that on that out tomorrow, where we’re at with some of those injuries.”

    Going into the previous two games, against Tennessee Tech and Florida, the starting quarterback has been a mystery. Hooker was not announced against Tennessee Tech until Milton was revealed to not be dressed in gear during warm-ups. Meanwhile, On3 Sports had a breaking news report on the afternoon of the Florida game in which the starter was revealed.

    And once again, it looks like Tennessee’s starting quarterback against Missouri will not be revealed until gameday.

    You can watch also find a transcript of the Josh Heupel Tennessee press conference from Thursday here.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.