Tennessee Vols morning report: Josh Heupel talks opener at teleconference

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 /

Finally! Over eight months after the Tennessee Vols football team played their last game of the season, the start of their new season is here. This opener comes with more excitement in years, and it certainly comes with much higher morale surrounding the program than last year’s opener. Josh Heupel has brought that to UT.

Our morning report on Rocky Top leads with Heupel, actually. He gave one more press conference Wednesday ahead of the opener, and we’ll take a look at what he said. Pregame gitters are affecting everybody, and that it comes the first day of September makes it more interesting.

Beyond football, though, other sports made news too. Soccer finally recorded a win on the season, which we’ll discuss, and cross country officially welcomed new talent to the program. We also have a cross country ranking to bring you that came out, so there is more than enough to cover. Let’s start with football, though.

Josh Heupel speaks at first SEC teleconference – SECSports.com

Wednesday marked the return of the weekly Southeastern Conference teleconferences, and Tennessee Vols football head coach Josh Heupel spoke there. Heupel talked about the excitement surrounding the opener and the updates to Neyland Stadium, and he noted how the team is in a much better position than they were a year ago. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“(I) love what our staff and players have done all throughout the course of training camp. It’s been really a time period where we’ve continued to grow in really every area, and we’re at the point now where it’s time to go play.”"

Soccer beats Bowling Green – Ken Lay, VolsWire.com

It took four games due to a brutal schedule, but the Tennessee Lady Vols soccer team finally got its first win of the Joe Kirt era. UT beat the Bowling Green Falcons 4-0 Wednesday. Taylor Huff and Jenna Stayart both scored. Jaida Thomas scored twice. Rocky Top has improved to 1-2-1 on the season with the win.

"Tennessee outshot the Falcons, 22-4, in the match.The Lady Vols recorded eight shots on goal, while Bowling Green had two of its scoring opportunities land on frame."

Cross Country welcomes new talent – UTSports

Ahead of their opener, the Tennessee Cross Country Invitational, on Friday, the Tennessee Vols cross country program officially welcomed new talent Wednesday. UT added five transfers and four new recruits.

"Under first-year head coach Sean Carlson, the new crop of Vols – mixed with some key returners – has the team primed to make noise in the Southeastern Conference this season. On Monday, the SEC Coaches’ Poll was announced and had the Big Orange picked to place third in the league."

USTFCCCA preseason poll includes men’s cross country – ustfccca.org

The Tennessee Vols men’s cross country program came in at No. 30 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association preseason ranking Wednesday. Only 30 spots were available. On the other side, the women’s program did not crack the poll.

"For the ninth consecutive installment and the 40th time in the past seven years, Northern Arizona tops the National Coaches’ Poll. There is a good reason for that, as the Lumberjacks won five of the past six national titles: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 (NAU finished runner-up to rival BYU in 2019)."