Tennessee Vols morning report: Josh Heupel talks Alabama week

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 /

LSU week is in the books, and now it’s Alabama week for the Tennessee Vols football team. For the first time in over a decade, UT enters this game with actually something to play for, which really speaks to how far the program has come.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with coverage of UT preparing for this week’s game, but it also includes more stories involving what happened over the weekend, as certain players were recognized for it. We also have news on a game to look ahead to beyond this week.

Outside of football, we have a soccer award to bring you. Then we have ongoing coverage of women’s tennis and men’s and women’s golf to touch on, so there is plenty to discuss. Let’s start with the football news, though.

Josh Heupel, players talk Alabama – Ben McKee, GoVols247

On the heels of their 40-13 win over the LSU Tigers, Tennessee Vols football head coach Josh Heupel spoke to the media Monday about the Crimson Tide along with Hendon Hooker and Christian Charles. Heupel said Cedric Tillman and Gerald Mincey are looking to return, but he had no update on Jaylen McCollough. Here’s a bit of what he said about the hype.

"“Obviously, this is why you come to Tennessee and want to be in this league. You have a big-time matchup this weekend. Really excited. (College) GameDay, SEC Nation, the environment that will be here on Saturday, really excited about that. Our players have earned the right to be able to get to this point, to play a game like this.”"

Hooker talked about dealing with all the outside media attention given the team’s success. This is what he said on that front Monday.

"“This is actually one of my first years where I haven’t deleted social media off my phone during the game week just because I kind of need it for business purposes. But we really just take it as a grain of salt, not getting too high, not getting too low, just staying even keeled and making sure we’re doing our job every day.”"

Charles discussed preparing for Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, assuming he can go. Here’s how he described it.

"“You know, with his game you can’t take anything for granted. He’s a great passer, he’s an outstanding runner. You have to be prepared in all facets of the game, whether that’s tight coverage or constricting running lanes to scrambling or things like that.”"

Byron Young, Chase McGrath recognized by SEC – SECSports

For the second time this year, Tennessee football defensive end Byron Young was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. Chase McGrath, meanwhile, won his first SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

"McGrath drilled 4-of-5 field goals and converted all four of his extra points in a stellar special teams effort as No. 8 Tennessee beat No. 25 LSU for the first time since 2005 by a score of 40-13.…Young was dominant as No. 8 Tennessee shut down No. 25 LSU by a score of 40-13, representing the Vols’ largest margin of victory on the road vs. a ranked opponent since defeating No. 12 Alabama 41-14 in Birmingham on Oct. 14, 1995.He collected a career-best 2.5 sacks and tied his career high with 2.5 tackles for loss, while finishing with five total tackles and five total QB pressures according to Pro Football Focus."

UT-Martin game time set – SECSports

A week after Alabama, the Tennessee Vols football team will host the UT-Martin Skyhawks. Kickoff for that game was announced Monday to be at Noon ET on SEC Network.

"The Saturday SEC Network triple-header on October 22 will feature UT-Martin at Tennessee in the first game of the day, Vanderbilt at Missouri in the afternoon window and Texas A&M at South Carolina in primetime."

Soccer goalkeeper recognized by SEC – SECSports

Thanks to her efforts in helping the Tennessee Lady Vols shut out both the Missouri Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs 2-0, senior goalkeeper Lindsey Romig was named SEC Soccer Defensive Player of the Week Monday. Romig had seven saves and faced 21 shots last week.

"Romig has now logged seven shutouts this season. In addition to posting a pair of clean sheets, Romig positioned herself high on the field when UT had possession, getting involved in building the attack."

Women’s tennis continues competitionsUTSports

After wrapping up the ITA All-Americans and the H-E-B Baylor Invite Sunday, the Tennessee Lady Vols tennis team began play in the Florence ITF 25K in South Carolina Monday. That tournament began on Sunday and will last through Saturday.

"At the ITA All-American Championship in Cary, North Carolina, Rebeka Mertena made it to the quarterfinals of the singles main draw.…Down in Waco, Texas at the H-E-B Invite, Elza Tomase and Lauren Anzalotta let off the tournament with a 7-6(0) doubles victory over Liubov Kostenko/Brooke Thompson from Baylor.…As the two events came to a close, another group of Lady Vols is on the road heading to Florence, South Carolina to play in the ITF W25 Florence. The trio includes Daria Kuczer, Eleonora Molinaro and Catherine Aulia."

Men’s golf wraps up first day of Purdue Invitational – Austin Price, VolQuest

With an overall score of 13-under par, the Tennessee Vols team finished the first two rounds of the Purdue Fall Invitational 12 strokes ahead of the second place team. Bryce Lewis is first on the individual leaderboard at 10-under par.

"The team will look to make it consecutive wins after taking home the SEC fall match play title at the end of September."

Women’s golf wraps up first day of Illini Invitational – UTSports

At 10-under par, the Tennessee Lady Vols golf team is tied for ninth place after the first two rounds of the Illini Women’s Invitational. Caroline Patterson led the way individually for UT at seven-under par, coming in tied for ninth place.

"The Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, native started the day strong, logging three consecutive birdies on the back nine to log a first-round score of 70 (-2). During the second round, Patterson posted eight birdies to card a 67, the lowest round of her young collegiate career. The freshman is tied for seventh place ahead of Tuesday’s final round."