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What head coach Josh Heupel said at Tennessee football's media day

The Vols officially reported for the start of preseason camp on Sunday and head coach Josh Heupel met with the media as things went underway.
Credit: AP
Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel watches action during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee football officially reported for fall training camp on Sunday, and Tennessee coaches met with the media as things got going.

Josh Heupel was first at the podium, and one of the first questions he had to field regarded his predecessor Jeremy Pruitt and the NCAA's allegations against the former Tennessee head coach.

"There's been so much dialogue and communication between our administration and the NCAA," Heupel said. "We've been very transparent with our current roster and our recruits and that's why I think we've positioned ourselves extremely well."

Heupel said this situation has been nothing but a speed bump for him, and that he is happy the NCAA has praised the way Tennessee cooperated with the investigation process.

Heupel also said that there has been a huge shift in mentality now in his second year at the head of the program. The team's success in year one has laid a good groundwork for the culture he is trying to cultivate at Tennessee, and that has continued going into the preseason.

"There's a big difference between teams that believe and teams that expect," Heupel said. "We have to continue to work in a way that we expect to win every Saturday as we get to next fall. There's a greater trust and understanding.  A year ago, none of our players and a good portion of our staff had never been through a training camp together. The energy and focus is so different than it was a year ago."

A big factor in the team's energy has been redshirt senior quarterback Hendon Hooker, who Heupel said is a great piece to have at the center of his team.

"There is competition every day. He's competing against himself," Heupel said. "The trust that we have in him, not just the coaches but players around him, his leadership, his energy. Those things are extremely important to us hitting the ground tomorrow and continuing to climb and grow as we reset the button for the 2022 season and become what we're capable of."

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