Tennessee Vols morning report: Josh Heupel, players talk Georgia loss

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 /

It was not a good weekend for the Tennessee Vols football team, as they suffered their first loss of the year. However, when you put it in perspective, factor in how the rest of the college football landscape shook out to make sure they are still in the playoff race and look at what else is happening at UT, it’s not all bad.

Our morning update on Rocky Top leads with more coverage of the football program’s loss. However, it’s worth noting that they remain No. 5 in both polls and started the year unranked. They face the Missouri Tigers at Noon ET on CBS this week, so there’s plenty to play for.

Beyond football, the men’s basketball season opens today, and we’ll have coverage of that with an interview. We’ve got preseason women’s basketball news, a baseball exhibition and recaps in swimming and diving and cross country to bring you before closing with a tennis preview, so plenty is still going on. Let’s dive into it all.

Josh Heupel talks Georgia loss – Matt Ray, SI.com

On the heels of the Tennessee Vols football team’s 27-13 loss at the Georgia Bulldogs, Josh Heupel took to the podium to recap the game Saturday. Here’s a bit of what he said.

"“Credit to Georgia, they won critical plays. They played clean early on in the football game. Offensively, early on in the football game, the false starts hurt us. Defensively, we didn’t play well in the early part of the game after the first series. But, then we got our footing and did some things in the back end of it.”"

Players discuss Georgia loss – Austin Price, VolQuest

In addition to Heupel, three Tennessee football players spoke with the media after their loss to Georgia: Hendon Hooker, Jalin Hyatt and Omari Thomas. Hooker talked about Georgia forcing the offense into mistakes, including six sacks and an interception. Here’s his explanation.

"“They play extremely hard. They gave us some great looks. We had some miscommunication up front. I felt pretty good in the pocket though. I spent a little more time in there than usual toward the end.”"

Hyatt talked about the Georgia crowd noise, which resulted in numerous pre-snap penalties. This is how he described it.

"“Sometimes we could not hear the snap or the play call from (Hendon) Hooker. I give credit to the fans. That would probably be the biggest thing that got us today.”"

Thomas talked about going up against Georgia’s offensive line. Here’s some of what he said on that front.

"“They did a lot of things that we watched on film that they would do. We just did not execute well today. They had a great game. They played physical. They played together. They are very well coached.”"

Josiah-Jordan James talks health, opener – Grant Ramey, VolQuest

Monday night marks the official start of the Tennessee Vols men’s basketball 2022-23 season, as they will tip off at home against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles at 7 p.m. ET. Josiah-Jordan James, who missed UT’s exhibition win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs due to an injury, should be healthy enough to go. He recently discussed his health and the opener.

"“I can’t wait,” James said during an appearance of Vol Club Confidential. “Ever since I got my surgery right after the season ended, really, I couldn’t wait to come back. I went through practices a little bit throughout the summer. Got another procedure done, and I’m ready to get back.”"

Three Lady Vols on Naismith Watch List – NaismithTrophy.com

Of the 50 players on the 2022-23 Naismith Trophy women’s basketball preseason watch list, three are on the Tennessee Lady Vols. Jordan Horston, Rickea Jackson and Tamari Key all made it.

"The midseason 30 team will be announced in early February, and then the competition will be narrowed down to 10 national semifinalists in early March. Following those results, four finalists will be named on March 21, 2023, and the winner of the 2023 Jersey Mike’s Naismith Trophy for Women’s Player of the Year will be announced on March 29, 2023."

Tony Vitello discusses exhibition baseball win – Ben McKee, GoVols247

After the Tennessee Vols baseball team’s 22-4 exhibition win over the Memphis Tigers Sunday, Tony Vitello spoke with the media. Here’s a bit of what he said about the offense.

"“They did a good job. It kind of came in spurts. As a pitcher you always want to go out there and throw a zero. For some of their guys, you can tell they’ve got some pitching.”"

Volleyball sweeps LSU – Caleb Jarreau, UT Daily Beacon

Two wins over the LSU Tigers at home over the weekend has pushed the Tennessee Lady Vols volleyball program’s winning streak to three. UT won in three sets Saturday and four Sunday.

"A day after she hit 1,000 career kills, Morgahn Fingall set a new career high in kills. The senior from Fairfax, VA finished Sunday with 27 kills on .365% hitting."

Swimming and Diving falls at Florida – Swimming World Magazine

A road trip to the Florida Gators over the weekend saw both the Tennessee Vols and Lady Vols swimming and diving programs come up short. It was the third straight loss for the women and second in three outings for the men.

"The Tennessee men began the day by defeating a Florida team returning Chaney and Friese from last year’s national-title-winning team. Here, the group of Harrison Lierz, Michael Houlie, Jordan Crooks and Gui Caribe won the event in 1:25.95."

Cross Country wraps up Hokie Open – UTSports

The final event of the regular season for the Tennessee Vols and Lady Vols cross country programs took place last Friday. Up next is the NCAA South Regional Championships Friday.

"The men sent a small squad to race in the 6K with just four Vols competing.…The women had six runners in the 4K field who all finished inside the top 15."

Knoxville Challenger set to beginKnoxChallenger.com

Four current and six former men’s tennis Tennessee Vols will take part in the Knoxville Challenger. The event begins Monday and will last through Sunday, Nov. 13.

"The Challenger series is part of the USTA Pro Circuit series, which is designed to provide opportunities to aspiring young international professional tennis players to advance to the top levels of the game.Players competing include pros beginning their careers, pros trying to improve their ATP rankings, and top-ranked junior players."