Football

Josh Heupel Era Begins on Rocky Top

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Josh Heupel was introduced as the new Head Coach for the Tennessee Volunteers on Wednesday. Heupel served as the head coach for UCF for the past three years.

This all came after former Volunteer coach Jeremy Pruitt was fired after an internal investigation as well as an underwhelming production on the field.

Former Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer also resigned following the Pruitt firing allowing new athletic director Danny White to step in. Let’s break down the hire.

Who is Heupel?

Many fans were probably wondering who Josh Heupel was when he announced Wednesday morning that he would be the next head coach at Tennessee. Heupel started his football career as a quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners.

He lit it up in college, finishing in second for the Heisman trophy, and after a short stint in the NFL, Heuepel returned to college as a graduate assistant for the Sooners.

He was then promoted to Tight Ends coach with the Arizona wildcats, but that ended when he returned to Norman to coach quarterbacks and eventually co-coordinate the offense. After garnering success, he moved around a little going to Utah State and Missouri as Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

After Scott Frost left UCF for Nebraska, Josh Heupel took over as head coach and continued the offensive powerhouse at UCF. Now he is taking his prowess to East Tennessee in hopes of making Tennessee great again.

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What to expect

Josh Heupel is an offensive guru with lots of experience calling plays. His offense ranked fourth, second, and second in yards per game the past three years with UCF.

He also experiences against SEC defenses as his offenses at Missouri ranked thirteenth and eighth in yards per game. Heupel runs a variation of the “veer and shoot” offense, which highlights a lot of deep passing game and quick runs after the defense takes numbers out of the box.

Heupel is also very experienced in developing quarterbacks with experience as a quarterbacks coach and improved numbers from quarterbacks. Drew Lock’s numbers shot up tremendously after Heupel arrived in Columbia.

This will be instrumental in Tennessee’s success as the Volunteers have two young and talented quarterbacks on its roster in Harrison Bailey and Kaidon Salter.

Experienced players like Brian Maurer and Hendon Hooker will also benefit from this. It should be exciting to see how the offense will perform under Heupel.

Closing thoughts

Josh Heupel is thought to be bringing most, if not all, of his offensive staff from Central Florida to Tennessee. This means that coaches like Jim Chaney, Chris Wienke will see their time on Rocky Top come to an end.

Both received termination letters on Friday. With Jay Graham set to be leaving for Alabama, most of Tennessee’s offensive staff will be gone. Heupel is expected to bring names like Alex Golesh, Joey Halzle, Glen Elarbee, and others to recreate the explosive offense displayed at UCF.

Heupel will have to make a big decision on who he hires as his defensive coordinator, which will be a big part of how Tennessee performs in the coming years. Another aspect will also be the exact details of the NCAA investigation and what type of penalties Tennessee will be hit with. However, Tennessee fans shouldn’t be too underwhelmed with the hire and look forward to some exciting offense in the coming years.

Thank you for reading my article on some of the changes to expect from this Tennessee Vols offseason and how it impacts the future.

As always, make sure to check out my Twitter @Vedpat1810 for more great Tennessee Volunteers content and follow us @OT_Heroics for more sports content and information.

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I am a student at the University of Tennessee. I love sports and writer for OTH covering Tennessee football.