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Heupel’s Year One: From Rock Bottom to Rocky Top


And just like that, the 2021 Tennessee football regular season has come to an end.

Tennessee cruised their way to a 45-21 win over Vanderbilt and has finished the season with a record of 7-5.

This Tennessee football team has surprised a lot of folks.

Back in January, this program was in complete disarray.

An internal investigation with the NCAA being involved led to the firing of Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt.

That also led to 24 players entering the transfer portal that same month.

So not only did Josh Heupel enter into a program that was being investigated by the NCAA, but he also inherited a Tennessee team that lost the majority of its starters from the season before.

Given the circumstances, Heupel did a phenomenal job this season:


Tennessee finished the season with a record of 7-5.

Tennessee’s seven wins are the most they have had since 2019 and only the 5th time since 2009. Tennessee reached seven wins in the regular season since 2009.

Heupel’s seven wins are also the most wins in a Head Coach’s first season since Lane Kiffin in 2009.

If Heupel manages to win the bowl game, that will get him to 8 wins, the most wins by a first year Head Coach since Phillip Fulmer.

Pretty good company to be a part of if you are Josh Heupel.


When Josh Heupel came to Knoxville, he promised to bring in an exciting brand of football, and he certainly delivered.

Tennessee’s offense was electric to watch this season.

The Vols this year scored 466 points this season, the third-most points scored in a season in school history.

The Vols doubled from last season (215) and was the most scored in a season since 2016, a Tennessee offense that was loaded with NFL talent.

With the bowl game coming up, there is a very high possibility that Tennessee will break the school record and reach the 500 point mark.

We knew that Heupel’s offense would rack up points but to break the school record in your first season?

There’s only one way to describe that: Impressive.

Just like many Vol fans out there, I had my doubts about the hire of Josh Heupel.

He had only coached at UCF, and they got worse year by year.

I did not think he had what it took to succeed in the SEC and bring Tennessee back.

And while he still does have his work cut out, he has proven us wrong.

He has made Vol fans proud of Tennessee Football again.

There is excitement in the air here in Knoxville, something that has been missing for quite some time.

Given the circumstances and everything Tennessee has gone through in the last ten months, this has been a phenomenal first year for Josh Heupel, and his staff and Vol nation should be ecstatic for what the future holds.

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