Tennessee Vols morning report: Josh Heupel, players begin UT-Martin week

Tennessee fans cheer during a game between Tennessee and Akron at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.Kns Utvakron0917
Tennessee fans cheer during a game between Tennessee and Akron at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022.Kns Utvakron0917 /

Technically, the Alabama game is in the books, and the Tennessee Vols football team is now looking ahead to the UT-Martin Skyhawks. Let’s be honest, though. They are are still reveling in that historic victory, especially with a much less imposing opponent heading to town.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with the program beginning preparations for this week’s matchup with an FCS foe. We’ve got multiple interviews regarding that. In addition to preparation, though, a scheduling update and awards from the previous week all made news as well.

Beyond football, a men’s basketball ranking is up as is a women’s basketball award preseason watch list. We’ll close out with ongoing coverage of a women’s golf event, so there’s plenty to get to, but football is easily leading the way.

Josh Heupel, players kick off UT-Martin week – Ben McKee, GoVols247

On the heels of the Tennessee Vols football team’s 52-49 win over the Crimson Tide, Josh Heupel, Omari Thomas and Princeton Fant spoke with the media Monday. Heupel talked about the mindset of the players coming back in Monday. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“They got a good dose of reality from their position coaches and from me too. The look in their eye too said that they wanted to improve. You know, the short time we spent on the grass was really good and I’m looking forward to this week unfolding the right way.”"

Fant, who scored a rushing touchdown against Alabama, talked about working under center some. This is how he described it.

"“We’ve been talking about it, just talking to the coaches. They’ve seen my running back skills, they see I can run the ball. With that, it’s just, honestly, out there having fun with it.”"

Thomas talked about continuing the success and making sure the Alabama game isn’t the peak of the season. Here’s his explanation for that.

"“I’d say a small thing that a lot of us have been talking about now is just being in the training room. We know that it’s a long season, we’re just halfway through it. You have players that are banged up and things like that, but you just have to continue to be in the training room.”"

Glen Elarbee addresses Knoxville QB Club – Grant Ramey, GoVols247

While Josh Heupel and players met with the media, Tennessee football offensive line coach Glen Elarbee spoke with the Knoxville Quarterback Club. Elarbee discussed how the offensive line played against Alabama. Here’s a bit of what he said about them.

"“I think for the most part, too, the way they played, probably the best game we’ve played up front. Felt like they pushed piles from the opening snap. There were four guys pushing, getting the first down, down to the end zones, every run.”"

Vols clean up SEC awards – SECSports

Three Tennessee Vols football players earned weekly SEC awards Monday. Jalin Hyatt was named Offensive Player of the Week, Chase McGrath was named Special Teams Player of the Week for the second straight week, and Darnell Wright was named Offensive Lineman of the Week.

"Hyatt delivered arguably the greatest wide receiver performance in school history as No. 6/8 Tennessee downed No. 3/1 Alabama, 52-49, as time expired for the Vols first victory in the series since 2006.He caught six passes for 207 yards and a school-record and SEC-record-tying five touchdowns. Hyatt became the fifth player in SEC history to catch five or more touchdowns in a game and the first since Alabama’s DeVonta Smith vs. Ole Miss in 2019.…McGrath connected on his only field goal attempt of the night on the biggest stage, making a 40-yarder as time expired to give No. 6/8 Tennessee its first victory over No. 3/1 Alabama since 2006 by a score of 52-49.…Wright, making his 35th career start on the offensive line, neutralized a dominant Alabama front as No. 6/8 Tennessee beat the Crimson Tide, 52-49, on Saturday for the Vols’ first victory in the series since 2006."

Darnell Wright named to Rotary Watch List – RotaryLombardiaward.org

Along with his SEC recognition, Tennessee football offensive lineman Darnell Wright was one of 88 offensive linemen named to the 49th Rotary Lombardi Award midseason watch list. The award is given annually to the nation’s best lineman.

"The 2022 Rotary Lombardi Award® watchlist is compiled by a subcommittee of the Rotary Lombardi Award® committee and included SID submissions. Players were selected based on their past performance and expectations for the upcoming 2022 college football season. To be considered for the watchlist, players must also have started at least one game at an NCAA Division 1 college or university."

Hendon Hooker named Manning Award Star of the Week – AllStateSugarBowl

For the second time this year, Tennessee football quarterback Hendon Hooker was named a Manning Award Star of the Week. He also was part of the Davey O’Brien Great 8.

"Hooker, who drives the Volunteers 45 yards in 13 seconds to set up the game-winning 40-yard field goal, leads the Vols to the most points scored against Alabama since 1907, as they take down the No. 3 Crimson Tide, 52-49, to snap a 15-game losing streak to their SEC rivals."

Kentucky game time set – SECSports

On Saturday, Oct. 29, Tennessee football and the Kentucky Wildcats will kick off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The times were announced Monday.

"The Saturday SEC Network triple-header on October 29 will feature Arkansas at Auburn in the first game of the day, Missouri at South Carolina in the afternoon window and Ole Miss at Texas A&M in primetime.As previously announced, the SEC on CBS game will feature Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville, with kickoff scheduled for 2:30 CT / 3:30 ET."

Men’s basketball No. 11 in preseason AP Poll – Dave Skretta, APNews

The Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team came in at No. 11 in the 2022-23 preseason AP Poll Monday. SEC schools ahead of them include the Arkansas Razorbacks at No. 10 and the Kentucky Wildcats at No. 5.

"With four starters back from the team that lost to Kansas in New Orleans, the (North Carolina) Tar Heels are the runaway pick as the preseason No. 1 in the AP Top 25 released Monday. They earned 47 of 62 first-place votes from a national media panel to easily outdistance Gonzaga, the top preseason team the past two years."

Jasmine Powell on Nancy Lieberman Award watch list – HoopHallAwards.com

Tennessee Lady Vols basketball transfer forward Jasmine Powell, who joins UT after a three-year career with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, has been named to the 2022-23 Nancy Lieberman Award preseason watch list. The award is given annually to the nation’s top point guard and named for women’s basketball legend Nancy Lieberman.

"Lieberman led Old Dominion University to back-to-back AIAW national championships in 1979 and 1980. She was twice named as the Wade Trophy winner – a basketball first. As the nation’s top female athlete during those two seasons, Lieberman was the two-time winner of the Broderick Cup as well. Lieberman played professionally in the Women’s Professional Basketball League, Women’s American Basketball Association, United States Basketball League, Women’s National Basketball Association, and with the Washington Generals."

Women’s golf continues Tar Heel Invitational – UTSports

Through 35 to 36 holes, the Tennessee Lady Vols golf team entered the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational Tuesday in 11th place at 13-over par. There are 14 teams in the event.

"The second round will continue at 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday and teams will continuously play into the final round. Vanessa Gilly made three consecutive birdies to card a first-round score of 74 (+2). In the second round, the junior shot -1, marking her third par or better round of the season. Gilly is currently tied for 20th place at +1."