SEC Football Preview: Tennessee Volunteers

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:16 PM CDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (KBTX) - Tennessee is looking to reach new heights in the second year of the Josh Heupel era. The Volunteers are optimistic after a 7-6 finish last season.

”Wins, losses, I don’t know. We’ve got high expectations for this season,” explained Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel. “We want to have the best brotherhood in college football, continuing to build that culture and go out and compete each and every week. I love the growth that we’ve had. I’m excited about where we’re at, but where we’ve got to get to and how we’re going to get there,” Heupel added.

Former Oklahoma and national champion quarterback Heupel has made an impact on returning starter Hendon Hooker, who was voted by the media as a preseason all-SEC quarterback.

“Him encouraging me to speak up and be the leader that he knows I can be and instill confidence in everyone else around me is a blessing,” Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker said.

“His ability to handle every situation that’s thrown at him, positive, negative, adverse situations, it doesn’t matter. He keeps coming back and he gets better from every one of those situations,” Hepeul said about Hooker.

“Just being patient. Not trying to rush my reads,” Hooker said on his improvement this year. “Not trying to rush my decisions. Being relaxed and being in total control of the offense. Trying to lead my teammates is my ultimate goal and trying to motivate them,” Hooker added.

Heupel and Hooker helped bring the Vols from the 12th scoring offense in the SEC two years ago to the second best in the league last year, and they also have their top receiver returning, Cedric Tillman.

“It’s not just me leading the receivers,” Cedric Tillman said. “Guys like Jalen Hyatt, Ramel, newcomer Brew. I’ve taken on a leadership role. We’ve got a lot of dudes in the receiving room I think will shock you guys,” Tillman added.

“They challenge us tremendously,” Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers said on facing the offense. “No matter if we make a play or no matter if we lose on a play, we’ve got to snap it clear and get ready on the next play cause it’s coming in a couple of seconds,” Flowers added.

“I’m really excited about this season,” Tillman exclaimed. “We’ve got Hendon coming back, a lot of guys coming back. I feel like we have some stuff to prove this year,” added Tillman.

Tennessee will try to have back-to-back winning seasons this year for the first time since 2015 and 2016.

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