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SEC Football Preview: Heupel preparing for debut season at Tennessee

Published: Aug. 8, 2021 at 8:27 PM CDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (KBTX) - The Tennessee football team will enter the 2021 season with a new head coach. Josh Heupel is preparing for his first season as the Volunteers head coach after spending the last three seasons as the head coach at Central Florida. Before he got into coaching Heupel was a quarterback at Oklahoma leading the Sooners to a national title in 2000. He learned from the coaches he played for at Oklahoma including Sonner head coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in 1999 Mike Leach. “As a player, I got my start because of Mike Leach. That’s the guys that recruited me when he came from Kentucky at that time and introduced throwing the ball in Oklahoma, " Heupel said. “Played for a legendary coach in Bob and coached for him as well and just how he handled everything inside of his program was never too high, never too low.”

During his three seasons at Central Florida Heupel’s offenses were in the top five in total offense each season and the top ten in points per game. The offense at Tennessee is getting a lot of the attention heading into the season but the Volunteers defense has seven starters returning. “This defense I feel like deserves a lot of respect and we kind of are flying under the radar which is fine with us,” said Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor. “We’ll just keep working every day and keep putting in all that work so come September 2nd when we play Bowling Green we can kind of show everybody what we are really made of and we can just progress from week one all the way to week twelve.”

Tennessee’s season-opening match-up against Bowling Green will be the second meeting between the two programs. The Volunteers won the only other meeting in the series 59-30 in 2015.

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