First-year coaches are known for major cultural shifts in a program and Tennessee’s Josh Heupel is a prime example.

In his case, it goes beyond being an offensive-minded coach compared to his predecessor, Jeremy Pruitt, being defensive minded.

For the players under Heupel, offensive lineman Dayne Davis said they love him, and it’s a stark contrast to Pruitt’s staff and practice which he called antagonizing and it was a chore going to practice.

Davis compared practice under the last staff to going to work on a Monday.

“There’s no more Mondays around here,” he said, per Ben McKee of Volquest.

At SEC Media Days, Heupel discussed connecting with players as his top priority, because it’s something they wanted, and shared with him during an hour and a half meeting.

“One of the things that I realized that they recognized that they wanted, that they wanted and needed, was connection,” he said. “That’s why we spent an inordinate amount of time connecting with our players, getting to know them — their strengths, their struggles, their greatest triumphs, the hardships that they faced — and have had a lot of fun in doing that.”

Tennessee opens the season on Sept. 2 against Bowling Green at 8 p.m.