It’s Tennessee’s turn at SEC Media Days. Josh Heupel will hold his first press conference at the event today, set to begin at 11:30 am ET. SEC Network will have the live coverage and you can stream the event on the ESPN app.
Heupel will face questions on his initial few months in Knoxville as he tries to jolt the Volunteers back to life. He’ll face questions on the quarterback situation, the transfer portal, potential NCAA sanctions from the previous staff, and the new NIL era.
Veteran players Alontae Taylor and Velus Jones Jr. will join Heupel and also spend some time with the media.
Live updates from Heupel’s press conference will follow, along with any other quotes from Taylor or Jones. Check back for more detailed reports later in the day.
LIVE UPDATES: Tennessee at 2021 SEC Media Days
- Heupel laying out some facts on offense. In the last four seasons, Tennessee has been among the bottom teams in that category — a big reason why Heupel was hired.
Tennessee coach Josh Heupel: “You look at the last three National Championships offensively, every team averaged over 520 yards on offense.” In past 5 years as UCF’s coach & Missouri’s OC, Heupel’s teams have ranked No. 2, 2, 5, 8 & 13 nationally in total offense— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 20, 2021
- Taylor also said he’s turned away NIL opportunities, focusing on football instead for now.
Alontae Taylor said he's had NIL opportunities, but really hasn't pursued any of them because he's focused on being healthy and making sure his team is ready for camp.— Ben McKee (@benmckee14) July 20, 2021
"I'm not focused on how much money my name can make, but how many games my team can win this fall."
- Alontae Taylor speaks on losing so many to the portal.
Alontae Taylor said it wasn't "discouraging" when a bunch of players transferred because he's big on doing what's best for themselves and their families.— Ben McKee (@benmckee14) July 20, 2021
- Velus Jones speaks on Tennessee’s culture change this offseason, along with some praise for Heupel.
#Vols WR Velus Jones said Heupel has “an amazing personality. He really interacts with the players a lot, always around us. He’s always involved, always around. I’m so proud to go to war for that man this fall.” #SECMD21— Jake Nichols (@jnichols_2121) July 20, 2021
- Heupel also mentioned that Tennessee has nearly reached the 80 percent vaccination mark.
Tennessee is just below the 80 percent threshold for vaccinated players, Josh Heupel said. He believes they can reach it soon.— David Ubben (@davidubben) July 20, 2021
- Main takeaway from Heupel’s presser: He’s embracing Tennessee traditions and history, but applying a new-age approach, and it begins with relationships within the building.
- More on Milton.
Josh Heupel: Joe has a unique skillset, he’s a bright young man who has picked up what we’ve thrown at him so far.— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) July 20, 2021
On QB Joe Milton
- Heupel once again stresses offensive balance, speaking of opportunities for the running backs.
- Speaking on taking a new-age approach, Heupel did mention alternate uniform options.
- Heupel acknowledges the challenge ahead of building Tennessee back.
“If you go by wins and losses, we’re not where we need to be for sure.”— Emily Proud (@emily_proud) July 20, 2021
“There’s certainly challenges we face as a program, but there’s great opportunity. This is Tennessee. This is one of the most iconic brands in all of college football.” - #Vols HC Josh Heupel
- Heupel put the sell-job on for Knoxville, pointing out Tennessee’s popularity on social media while speaking on NIL opportunities.
#Vols coach Josh Heupel on the NIL era: There's not a better place in America to build your brand than Tennessee. All of our sports have top-five social media account follower numbers.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) July 20, 2021
- Heupel explains his emphasis on relationships within the program, saying that it was the top thing his players asked for following his arrival.
Josh Heupel: first priotity at Tennessee was about relationships and still is.— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) July 20, 2021
Players recognized what they needed was “connection” #Vols have had fun doing that over the last 6 months
- Heupel on QB Joe Milton earlier this morning: “He’s been great inside of our team room, inside of our locker room, has gained a lot of trust from the guys that are around him. But there’s so much growth that can happen for every player, but for quarterbacks, after you finish spring ball, through summer, get a chance to re-digest the playbook.”
- Heupel will take the podium at 11:30 am ET, live from Hoover.