Vols Hope Fast Starts Continue Against South Alabama

(utsports.com) The Tennessee Volunteers finished up their Thursday practice inside of the Anderson Training Center on a rainy day on Rocky Top. Head coach Josh Heupel took the podium afterwards to speak with the media.

A point of emphasis was the fast starts Tennessee’s offense has jumped out to in the first quarter of games. The Vols are outscoring their opponents 148-44 in the first period of play. This averages out to be 14.8 points in the first quarter per game, which leads the nation.

“The group has been very focused, locked in, and ready to go compete,” Heupel said. “I think the way we start our practices and the energy that we try to have as soon as the kids come up those stairs into the meeting room all parlay into your group being ready to go compete when that opening kickoff happens.”

This energy has been something Heupel has looked to instill in the Volunteer group since taking over the program in February.

“We have a phenomenal group of men inside our locker room,” Heupel continued. “They are doing things the right way. They care about each other and compete hard. They want to be great, they are prideful, and we have a tremendous staff that is extremely selfless and just care about the whole.”

“I have come to really enjoy the group as a whole,” Heupel added. “When I say that, I am just talking about where we started in February, who we were as an individuals, let alone collectively as a group. The kind of ability to trust and respect that we have in the building, how we have grown to be connected, it’s a ton of fun. When you are around individuals that are like that, it is a ton of fun because you are truly in a team setting. I love playing with these guys, players and coaches alike.”

The players have proven they are buying into the system and that commitment will lead to greatness. It’s building one step at a time, and the care that the team displays on a daily basis demonstrated that growth.

“You take a look at how we started the process week one to who we are now, how we prepare and how we compete,” Heupel finished. “This group cares a lot and have been through some tough things. I think they understand they are a part of growing, and it’s a group that is starting to understand the end result matters, but I don’t think that is what they are truly focused on. They are focused on their daily tasks, their process that they have to go through, and that’s why I feel like it’s a group that is still extremely highly motivated and understands what we want to do here at the end of the season.”

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