Tennessee Vols morning report: Josh Heupel talks second scrimmage

Tennessee fans cheer during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.Kns Tennessee Ole Miss Football
Tennessee fans cheer during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.Kns Tennessee Ole Miss Football /

It may be Monday, but it’s one that brings a ton of excitement surrounding the Tennessee Vols. Fall sports are almost officially underway, as UT’s first exhibition for the 2022-23 academic calendar took place this past weekend.

Our morning update on Rocky Top will take a look at that exhibition, but we lead with more football news. There is a recap of another scrimmage to bring you and a press conference with players and coaches in the secondary that took place before that.

Beyond football, the exhibition was in soccer, and a preseason soccer watch list also involves UT. Volleyball, men’s golf and the athletics program in general all have news of their own for us to bring you too, so let’s dive in, starting with football.

Josh Heupel recaps second scrimmage – Jack Foster, SI.com

On Saturday, the Tennessee Vols football team held its second scrimmage of fall camp. Josh Heupel met with the media afterward. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“I thought we played cleaner. Both sides of the football executed. Thought just alignment, assignment, eyes on keys, being lined up ready to go on the defensive side of the football, tackling in space – thought we did a much better job in those areas than we did in the first scrimmage. Offensively, at times, were efficient and played with great pace and handled the communication side of it at a really high level, too.”"

Willie Martinez talks secondary – Grant Ramey, GoVols247

A day before their scrimmage, the Tennessee Vols football secondary was featured by the media after practice. Defensive backs coach Willie Martinez spoke first. Here’s a bit of what he said about the rotation.

"“We have just been doing a good job of rotating. We want to find out a lot about guys we don’t know about, you know what I mean? Some of the guys that weren’t with us in the spring, that played last year.”"

Defensive backs meet with media – Austin Price, VolQuest

Four Tennessee Vols football defensive backs spoke Friday in addition to Martinez: Warren Burrell, Brandon Turnage, Christian Charles and Tamarion McDonald. Burrell talked about filling the leadership void left by Alontae Taylor. This is how he explained it.

"“He was a leader. He helped us get in the right direction. You know, when guys weren’t paying attention to details, myself included, when things weren’t as right as they should be, Alontae was one of those guys that got us back in position, got us back, focused on the right track, and, so, now that’s my job.”"

Turnage talked about being able to play every position in the secondary. Here’s what he said about his experience.

"“I’ll play anywhere. I like playing all five of them, well, actually six, in dime. Sometimes, like last year, I played in the dime spot, I played nickel, I played corner. I haven’t really gotten to play safety or free safety at all yet. Anywhere, really, in the secondary is where I feel comfortable.”"

Charles discussed what playing safety in spring ball and moving around did for his development. This is his description of it.

"“Playing safety definitely helped me adjust to playing corner, just having that full understanding of the defense, because sometimes playing corner, you can get locked into just, like, the coverage rule or things like that, but playing safety, you really have to have a full grasp of the big picture of the defense.”"

Mcdonald talked about how he was able to improve over the offseason. Here’s a bit of what he said on that front.

"“I’d say I was just more focused on, like, the smaller details. Not just knowing my job, just knowing the ins and outs, the D-line job, the linebacker fits, so I could play faster.”"

Soccer wins exhibition – Dan Harralson, VolsWire

With the official start of the season set for this Thursday, the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team defeated the Dayton Flyers 5-1 in an exhibition over the weekend. UT is in its first season under new head coach Joe Kirt, who was promoted as Brian Pensky’s replacement this offseason after serving as an assistant for the program in some capacity since 2007.

"Sophomore Taylor Huff scored two goals, fifth-year senior Mackenzie George, sophomore Jordan Fusco and freshman Kameron Simmonds each scored one goal for Tennessee.Redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Ally Zazzara started for Tennessee, playing 74 minutes and recording two saves. Freshman Abby Reisz also played and recorded one save."

Taylor Huff on preseason watch list – United Soccer Coaches

After a strong freshman campaign, Tennessee Lady Vols soccer midfielder/forward Taylor Huff was named one of the midfielders to watch for the 2022 season by United Soccer Coaches. There were 38 overall women on the list.

"The lists are being released for the first time this season by the Division I All-America Committees to promote college soccer leading up to the official start date for the regular season later this month. The lists include United Soccer Coaches All-Americans and first or second team All-Region players from 2021, who are scheduled to return for the 2022 season."

Volleyball TV schedule released – SECSports

ESPN and the Southeastern Conference have released the Tennessee Lady Vols volleyball program’s television schedule. UT has four matches on SEC Network this year and another two on ESPNU. You can see the full slate by clicking here.

"As part of ESPN’s extensive fall sports slate, SEC Network will showcase more than 300 soccer and volleyball matchups on SEC Network and SEC Network+.…The early season volleyball campaign starts with three straight days of opening weekend coverage on SEC Network, including five-time defending conference champion Kentucky serving up action on Sunday, Aug. 28."

“Champions Weekend” set for UT athletics – UTSports

For the weekend of Oct.28-29, when Tennessee football hosts the Kentucky Wildcats, the Tennessee Vols athletics program will host its first “Champions Weekend,” bringing back teams or individuals who won championships during specific years to be recognized. All championship winners from 1972, 1982, 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2012 will be honored.

"Among the groups invited back this year are the 1972 NCAA Champion men’s cross country team, the 1997 NCAA Champion women’s basketball team, the 1997 SEC Champion football team, the 2002 NCAA Indoor Champion men’s track & field team and the 1982 SEC Champion volleyball team—along with several others."