Josh Heupel is trying to turn Tennessee’s rivalry against Alabama as the Crimson Tide hold a 14-game winning streak in the series.

They meet this week in Tuscaloosa, and Heupel spoke on the SEC coaches media teleconference about the state of the rivalry.

“For us, it’s really important that we continue to build the culture and build our program,” he said. “Absolutely it’s important to get a win in this rivalry. … Our players continue to get better week by week and this is our next opportunity.”

About Alabama QB Bryce Young, Heupel sees a proven quarterback.

“He’s smart, competitive, accurate with the football,” Heupel said. “Obviously he has dynamic playmakers around him. … You can tell he understands what his pre-snap read is and he knows where to go with the ball.”

As for his own quarterback, Heupel said Hendon Hooker’s availability is still up in the air.

“He’s still day-to-day at this point, getting some work on the field,” the coach said.