It’s (spring) football time in Tennessee. The Volunteers finally hit the practice field this afternoon in Knoxville for the first time under new head coach Josh Heupel. A new offensive and defensive system was put on the field, as players and coaches adapted to plenty of new surroundings.
After the session, Heupel met with the media for questions. Here are the cliffnotes.
- No position changes for now: Heupel said that he’s keeping things ‘status quo’ as spring practice begins.
“I think as we go through spring ball here, we’re going to find out a lot more about who they are as a player, their skill sets, how they fit into what we’re doing.”
With obvious deficiencies at linebacker, edge rusher and tight end, expect some movement in the coming weeks.
- On the quarterbacks: Heupel didn’t name any names, but did offer praise in one particular area for the signal callers.
“I thought they handled the tempo portion of our team sets extremely well. Handled the communication piece of it. Played within themselves. They made some mistakes too, but they did a lot of really positive things too.”
- No practice for Kaidon Salter: Tennessee’s four-star quarterback prospect enrolled early to get a head start on his college career, but it’s not off of a great start. Per Heupel, Salter is part of a group that is currently suspended from team activities. Those are critical reps missed for Salter, who signed with Tennessee as a top 100 overall prospect.
Heupel did not offer a timeline for his return. Salter was a part of the off-field incident that resulted in the arrest of three members of the Tennessee football team — Isaac Washington, Martavius French and Aaron Willis. Salter was not named specifically in the report, but he was also arrested.
- On Henry To’o To’o and Quavaris Crouch: Tennessee’s top two inside linebackers were left off of the official spring roster that was released this morning. At this time, each remains in the transfer portal, but the possibility of a return remains. Heupel didn’t offer much of an update as he also awaits their final decisions.
“Your program is always about who’s inside of your building, who’s inside of your locker room. It’s never about who is not here. Our guys are competing, they love one another, we’re starting to be connected as a football team. We welcome anybody back that wants to be a part of that.”
- On the offensive tempo:
“Our skill-players operated, for the most part, in a pretty efficient way. We can be a whole lot better in a thousand different ways at every position, but overall I think for day one they had a good grasp and understanding of how we want to operate.
You can watch the full session below.