Everything Josh Heupel had to say about his offensive coaching hires at Tennessee
Josh Heupel was hired at Tennessee in large part due to the success of his offense and his ability to develop quarterbacks. As any Volunteer fan could tell you, those areas have been severely lacking in Knoxville in recent seasons.
Following a few weeks on the job, we now know the complete offensive coaching staff Heupel has assembled around him to help elevate Tennessee’s offense in his first year on the job.
Of the five offensive hires made by Heupel, three of them followed him from UCF, including offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, Alex Golesh.
“He has a great understanding of what we do offensively, the tempo that we want to play with, how to create mismatches, and does a great job of teaching the game to our guys, as well,” Heupel said of Golesh. “I think you look at his development of the tight ends through his tenure as a coach, he has developed some guys that have become all-conference players, a Mackey Award finalist, so looking forward to having him here and obviously our tight ends are, as well.”
Tennessee offensive line coach, Glen Elarbee, also followed Heupel from UCF. The two coaches have now been at three different schools together dating back to their time at Missouri.
“He was a part of turning around the offensive side of the football when we were at Missouri together, leading the league in offense our years there together,” Heupel said of Elarbee. “Went with me to UCF and is a phenomenal teacher of the game. You look at offensively what we’ve been able to do, the ability to protect the quarterback and the ability to run the football – I think all of our offenses were top 25 in rushing the last three years at UCF. He’s a guy that’s going to be great off the field, a tremendous recruiter and he’s a great technician.”
Joey Halzle, Tennessee’s new quarterbacks coach, played for Heupel at Oklahoma and has shared a QB room with the Vol head coach for 13 years.
“He played for me at Oklahoma, was in a room with a Heisman Trophy winner in Sam Bradford,” Heupel said of Halzle. “He’s been a part of high-level development of the quarterback position. Part of Landry Jones, who I think finished fourth in the history of college football in passing yards when he finished, the development of Drew Lock at Missouri, second-round draft pick. Look at what he’s done with Dillon Gabriel at UCF, who was leading the country in passing at one point this year. He understands the game, does a great job of teaching it, understands the fundamentals, understands the scheme and will do a great job of developing that position.”
Kodi Burns was hired by Heupel to be UCF’s new receivers coach this offseason before landing the head job at Tennessee, making this the second time Heupel hired Burns to be his receivers coach in a matter of weeks.
“He served in a co-coordinator title last year at Auburn,” Heupel said of Burns. “(He’s) played in this league, understands this league, has recruited it and done it at a really high level, and I’m excited about having him as a part of our staff.”
The only coach Heupel brings to Tennessee that he had no previous connection to is running backs coach, Jerry Mack. Mack left a coordinator position to serve as Tennessee’s new running backs coach.
“Look at his track record, he comes from Rice as an offensive coordinator, understanding the entire perspective on the offensive side of the football,” Heupel said of Mack. “He was a tremendous head coach. I think coach of the year honors maybe three times during his head coaching career. He gets it from a global perspective, just how to run a program and what we’re doing offensively.”
Here is Heupel’s complete press conference featuring his complete thoughts on each of Tennessee’s five offensive coaching hires.