Tennessee coach Josh Heupel spoke on the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday morning before the Vols open up SEC play at Florida.
The Vols are looking for their second straight win over Florida but their first win in Gainesville since 2003. Heupel discussed the losing streak, the play of his receivers and much more.
Here’s everything Josh Heupel said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday.
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“Entire program is excited about this one. Obviously playing a really good program. Typical Florida football team. They’re really strong, really athletic on both lines of scrimmage. They have great skill on all levels of their defense and same thing defensively. Huge test for us. It’s one we’re looking forward to. Great opportunity at night there in primetime.”
On if not having won at Florida since 2003 adds motivation
“In our program a lot, we talk about being able to reset and just play the next play. What happened last year, yet alone a decade ago, or what happens during the course of the game, the previous play, has nothing to do with what’s happening next. Our guys are kind of taking on that mindset a little bit. Certainly they’re aware of that streak, but for us, it’s really about our preparation and our practice and finishing the week out the right way to go down there and play our best football.”
On how he’d assess his receivers through two weeks
“I’ve thought they’ve been really good out on the perimeter. They’ve played extremely hard. For the most part we’ve played with really good fundamentals. There were a couple holding calls last week and one of them was probably real. I thought they’ve been really good out there. We’re going to continue to need that as we go. We view that as an extension of our run game. In route running, they’ve been pretty solid. End of the day there’s some things we need to clean up. That’s quarterback and wide receivers. But we’re certainly capable of it and I’ve seen this group of guys do it at a high level and the only one that hasn’t gotten a good amount of playing time (at Tennessee) is Dont’e (Thornton) and we hadn’t seen him play a game before we kicked off the season. Few dropped balls last week and we have to clean that up but believe in these guys and know they’re capable of that too so we just have to settle in. Last week, early in the football game I didn’t think we were settled into the game very well. That will be big, on the road in this environment against this type of opponent.”
On what he’s seen from Ollie Lane and Dayne Davis at center, if he expects Cooper Mays to play this week
“Feel really good about what Ollie and Dayne have done and the rotations that we’ve had there. Great to get Coop(er) back with us, obviously. He was with us last week some too but a little bit more than he did last week. He’s been able to get on the field with us so far this week, so excited about that.”
On Florida’s defense and how they performed against McNeese
“For them, what they’re able to do with their front to stop the run game, with their pressure packages to load the box. But they played well on the perimeter. Second and third level in the pass game too. They’re big, strong, physical up front. They’re athletic out on the perimeter. It’s a difficult Florida defense.”