Advertise with usContact UsRTI Team

Everything Josh Heupel Said After Tennessee Defeated UConn

Tennessee Football
Tennessee QB Joe Milton. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.

Tennessee football made easy work of UConn on Saturday afternoon cruising to a 59-3 victory at Neyland Stadium. The Vols scored on the second play from scrimmage and and their defense scored three touchdowns in the win.

After the game, Tennessee coach Josh Heupel discussed Nico Iamaleava’s performance, Tennessee’s three forced turnovers and much more. Here’s everything Heupel said after the game.

More From RTI: Four Quick Takeaways From Tennessee Football’s Win Over UConn

Opening Statement

“Appreciate the crowd, atmosphere. Homecoming, all the alumni that came back, former players, really the last 48 hours in our building. It’s been awesome to see a lot of people back. So I appreciate everybody coming. UConn was always special to Coach Summitt, playing in that type of game. So a unique opportunity to kind of honor her a little bit also Alzheimer’s awareness. So appreciate everybody supporting that cause.”

On if that was Tennessee’s most complete game of the season 

“No, don’t (know that) yet. But there’s a lot of really good things, too. I mean, you start off with three defensive touchdowns. Great performance up front, on the back end, in that middle part of the football game. I wouldn’t say it’s our best performance that we’re capable of. We got way too many penalties. There’s things in efficiency, offensively and defensively … that we can be a lot better at than we were at times today. All in all, great win, good performance, but our best is still still out there.”

On Tennessee bringing its own energy in a blowout

“I thought during the performance, yes. I challenged them in the last 48 hours to make sure that we have that type of mindset. Challenged them early this morning, too. This game will kick you in the butt real quick if you’re not on a competitive edge. And I thought for the most part we were today.” 

On what is allowing Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III to be so efficient lately 

“Quarterback position, you gotta be good enough to overcome some deficiencies at times with the guys around you. But at the same time, you gotta have 10 guys playing really well around you. So a unique combination of all those things. He’s had his eyes on the right spot. He’s been efficient with the football. He’s been accurate with the football, been timely. He’s controlled our, our protections, our run game, all that extremely well. You put all that together and that’s why he’s playing as efficiently as he was.

“We created big plays in the middle of football field today. Great to see some explosives in the pass game. Jaylen Wright starts it out with the big-time run too. So all in all, a lot of really positive things. The guys around Joe continue to grow, in particular.”

On what he saw from Tennessee freshman QB Nico Iamaleava 

“Just the way the season has unfolded, we haven’t had a lot of opportunities for some guys that are a little bit down our depth chart, are not starting, to get some of that action. Nico went out, I thought he handled all parts of the game really well for the most part. There’s a couple of learning opportunities for him. I thought he was timely using his feet, accurate with the football for the most part. There’s a couple things that he would want back, really solid performance from him.”

On Tennessee freshman tight end Ethan Davis getting playing time

“Ethan Davis did a really nice job in the middle of the football field when he got the opportunity. A couple of things just in communication that he can clean up, but as a young guy, kind of anticipate some of that happening. But feel really good about the performance that he had in the run game and in the pass game, too.”

On Joe Milton III playing his best later in the season 

“(He’s) still a young starter within our system. He’s been here, he’s had opportunities at the end of the game, but he was still new as a starter and there’s a lot of new pieces and moving pieces around him. And good teams continue to grow and get better. This team, you guys know I’ve said I like the way they prepare, I like the way they practice. We’ve continued to grow and because of that, and his efforts, he’s continued to grow too, (also) the guys around him. So the efficiency here, the last few weeks, (has been) solid.”

On what led to Tennessee’s defense scoring three touchdowns

“Matching out things on the back end, applying pressure on the front end, recognizing the route, driving on it. Tyler Baron’s, I can’t remember exactly how that unfolded, but he did a nice job sweeping it. Glad he got in the end zone, he’s been close a couple times.”

On the two pick sixes to open the second half

“It changes the way the second half unfolds. The opportunity for us to get a lot of our younger guys in the football game early in the third quarter with what they were doing offensively draining the clock, there wasn’t a lot of opportunities as the game unfolded late to get your roster in the football game. At the end of it, we have an opportunity for guys that have very limited opportunities on the game field to get in there and you want that for those guys. Those guys worked, you know, 365 days out of the year too. It was fun to see those guys go out and play really well and finish the game out the right way.”

On watching Jaylen Wright’s development

“He’s had huge long runs, but they’ve come because of the growth of him as a football player. It’s not just running toss on the outside and running around everybody and (he) understands how to press things, understands how to fit to read, bounce it when he needs to, staying vertical, that one hit right up the pipe. Fun to watch a guy become a dynamic football player, understand how to play the game.”

On what the opportunities for Nico Iamaleava to improve were

“There’s a couple things in communication and then fundamentally, just where his body was at on one of the throws. But man, I thought he did a really good job.”

On if the plan is still not to redshirt him

“Man, You know what I mean? Just uniquely how the season’s unfolded so we’ll see what, what comes, you know what I mean? Every weekend’s an adventure.”

On Dee Williams getting his first offensive snaps

“Yeah, I planned on playing him last week too. Just the way things unfolded. Some of the structure stuff, weren’t prepared to get him in the game in the situations that we were in. He’s continued to grow and has a real grasp of a lot of what we’re doing offensively. So the opportunity was there this week to play him and anticipate doing that moving forward too.”

Reporter: You may not like this question

“Okay, great. Great way to start off the question. You don’t have to ask it.”

On Jim Mora’s drive by handshake, his look afterwards

“I don’t know what I did on the back end of the handshake, but you know, they got a good football team that’s played extremely hard and they’ve lost a lot of close, close ball games.”

On Joe Milton making throws on the road again 

“Yeah, he’s got the ability to run the football. As you continue to play and grow, understanding spatial awareness where bodies are at based on the schemes that you’ve run with, where their bodies are at, the ability to keep your eyes down the field. But it takes trust and understanding that your wide receivers are gonna work too. Your tight ends, your running backs, that they’re gonna work when you break contain. That they’re not just gonna sit where they’re at and watch you take off. So the fact that the skill guys are playing at a really high level within that is why it’s unfolded the way that it has the last couple of weeks.”

On Joe giving Nico advice and encouragement on the sideline

“A couple of things that I saw, Joe saw, during the course of it and help him continue to grow. So Joe’s got a great relationship with him. They help each other out. So opportunity for that.”

Similar Articles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweet Us