The University of Tennessee announced Josh Heupel as their next head coach.
*Please give me a moment while I google Josh Heupel*
Oh, right, Heupel is buddies with our new Athletic Director, Danny White. White hired Heupel at UCF after National Championship winning coach Scott Frost left for Nebraska.
The sheep tell me Heupel is a GREAT HIRE. And, judging by his head coaching record, 28-8 in three seasons, I have to say I’m impressed. As his first year as head coach, Heupel led the UCF Golden Knights to a 12-1 record, with their only loss to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.
That season UCF beat a bunch of good teams. Four of them had winning records.
The following year, Heupel’s second season, the Knights lost three games, but they beat many impressive teams. Five of those teams had winning records.
Season three is the season you know if you have a good coach or not, in most cases. This is where your fingerprints start to show up on the program.
UCF went 6-4. In fairness, they did lose three regular-season games to Tulsa, Memphis, and Cincinnati by a total of 12 points. Then Heupel took his team into a matchup against BYU, who Jamey Chadwell’s Chanticleers beat 22-17, and lost 49-22.
Again, to continue the trend, his team did have some impressive wins in year three. Out of the six wins, zero of the teams had a winning record.
If you’ve made it this far, you know I’m not being too optimistic about Heupel. He’s done absolutely nothing to deserve a job like Tennessee. However, I want to provide some positives and maybe convince myself Heupel could be the dude.
He’s Not Pruitt
Let’s start by saying, at least it isn’t Jeremy Pruitt. Anyone and I’m not kidding; anyone is better than that loser. Pruitt did a terrible job, even worse than Butch Jones.
Josh Heupel Wins
I mocked his wins, but don’t we always say, “a win is a win?” Look, I honestly don’t care what the wins look like as long as we win. Now, I will have questions on why we looked so bad and wonder if it’s going to crumble at some point, but the dude has won some games. If he can do that at Tennessee, everyone will be happy.
He is an offensive-minded guy. One of the biggest problems with Pruitt is he didn’t know shit about the offensive side of the ball. Despite being a complete buffoon, he micro-managed Jim Chaney and didn’t allow the big guy to do his thing. Maybe Heupel will be able to make watching football fun again. Hear me out; maybe his offense will score enough points to keep Tennessee in games the next few years.
Vols Have The Talent
Finally, it feels like Heupel has offensive weapons to win quickly. Kaidon Salter, the four-star dual-threat quarterback from Cedar Hill, Texas, seems to have a lot of fight in him. He is going to come in and want to play on day one. Pair him with explosive wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, who we didn’t use enough last season, and you could have a Bray/Hunter connection. There are other very talented offensive playmakers on the roster; maybe Heupel’s offense can find them.
It’s too early to jump ship on the guy. Am I sheeping it up for Heupel? Absolutely not.
I wanted and still want Lane Kiffin. I think Kiffin would have been a grand slam hire, and I will always compare the two moving forward.
However, I’m willing to take a step back and see what this offense will look like under Heupel. I’m eager to see how he handles moments when the game is on the line. I want to know how he can recruit in the SEC.
Don’t confuse this. I still think hiring Jamey Chadwell or Lane Kiffin was the right move. But, can Josh Heupel win? That’s all I care about.