The rumors quickly turned into reality on Monday.
Just a day or two after the idea began, and just hours after Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel spoke about it, Tennessee did it. On Monday afternoon, Tennessee officially announced the return of the Checker Neyland concept for Saturday’s game against Ole Miss.
As mentioned, Heupel spoke about the atmosphere in the stadium during his press conference on Monday. Tennessee has not had a sellout in 2021 yet, and Heupel knows how important it will be to get people in the stadium and excited.
“Shoot, I’m into whatever our fans want to do on Saturday night for this one,” Heupel said. “I think you want to play an exciting brand of football, you want to compete really hard, bring fans to the stands. I think we’re doing that right now. And then you want your fans to enjoy the moment, man. Saturday night will be a great environment, but need it to be a hostile environment.”
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) October 11, 2021
Additionally, Tennessee Director of Athletics Danny White also sent out the announcement via Twitter.
Going into the Ole Miss game, Tennessee is 1-3 in the four Checker Neyland appearances. In the 2014 debut, Tennessee lost to Florida 10-9. Then, in 2015, Tennessee came up short once again in the Checker Neyland game against Oklahoma, 31-24. Tennessee found its first win in the Checker Neyland concept in 2016 when the Vols snapped an 11 game losing streak to Florida, 38-28. Lastly, in 2017, Tennessee lost to Georgia 41-0.
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) October 11, 2021
Aside from the fan concept, there are a number of other significant storylines heading into Saturday’s game. The stadium is expected to roar as the game will be Lane Kiffin’s first time back in Neyland Stadium as a head coach. And, it looks like the Vols are getting healthly. On Monday, Heupel gave a positive update on some of Tennessee’s key injuries.
Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 SEC) will welcome in the Ole Miss Rebels (4-1, 1-1 SEC) this Saturday night. The SECNetwork will have the broadcast at 7:30 p.m. ET with the Vols going in as underdogs.