Masters 2022: What to expect
Tennessee’s first scrimmage of spring camp is officially in the books.
While the event on Saturday was closed off to media viewing, Vols’ head coach Josh Heupel did give some of his initial reactions immediately following the scrimmage.
For starters, this spring camp has been on a completely different trajectory than a year ago. With COVID guidelines still affecting the newly put-together football program, the 2021 offseason was more about learning the system, learning the lingo, and building trust with one another. Now in year two, though, the team’s consistency over the last year is paying dividends.
“I think for us, obviously we are a year further ahead than where we were in the first scrimmage a year ago,” Heupel said on Saturday. “More than anything, you try to compare where you are at in each phase of your spring. I thought kids handled it. There were not a lot of issues pre-snap on both sides of the football for the most part. I thought they were efficient in the way they communicated, getting lined up, in particular on the defensive side of the football. You know, I thought our young guys actually handled the day pretty well. There were some competitive plays at the end in some competitive situations where they got to make a play and maybe didn’t do it. That comes with growth, more opportunities and learning.”
See Also from RTI: WATCH: Spring Camp in Knoxville – Tennessee Football Highlights
With the amount of momentum that Tennessee is trying to build before fall camp, Heupel is working against complacency on the roster.
“The opportunity is big for everybody,” Heupel said about spring camp. “Every position is up and you got to go compete, you’ve got to earn it. It’s important, nobody in the program can rest on anything. What happened a year ago, what happened a day ago, what happened in the previous play, none of that matters. And so being able to reset, compete the right way, is something we have emphasized with our entire roster. For our young guys, it’s a great opportunity to understand what the feel, the flow, and the speed of the game actually is going to be like on game day.”
During his availability with the media on Saturday, Heupel spoke about a few of the position groups specifically, such as the defensive backs and the offensive line. In addition, Heupel also mentioned a couple of wide receivers in specific, like Jalin Hyatt and Squirrel White.
The Vols will be back on the practice field this Tuesday for another morning practice in Knoxville.
Below is Heupel’s full press conference following Tennessee’s scrimmage on Saturday.