Tennessee QB coach Joey Halzle weighs in on Vols' quarterback battle
As Tennessee opens fall camp, there are 4 guys who could end up being the Week 1 starting quarterback against Bowling Green in coach Josh Heupel’s Rocky Top debut.
Those 4 guys are Joe Milton, Hendon Hooker, Harrison Bailey and Brian Maurer. Milton is getting a lot of buzz recently, but there’s still plenty of time before Sept. 2 for any of those other guys to pull ahead.
On Thursday, Tennessee QB coach Joey Halzle shared his thoughts on the QB battle as the Vols kick off fall camp (via a release from the school):
On what factor he’s most looking for in a starting quarterback…
“If you have a huge powerful arm, but you can’t hit a building with it, that doesn’t do us any good. If you’re very accurate, but you can’t make a field throw, that doesn’t really help us either. So, it’s really like a holistic look at everything. Who gives us the best chance when we take the field on Saturday based on their skill set to go win. Not everybody has to be the same guy. But everybody has to have something that they give us that gives us a chance to go be successful on Saturdays.
“One, can you make the throws that we need you to make? Can you extend plays when we need to extend plays? But the main thing for our guys is can you process quickly? We play fast, we force the defense to play fast, so a lot of times guys want to be in the exact right spot on the other side of the ball. Can you process what you’re seeing and get your eyes and your body in position to make the throw that we need every single time? The ability to process quickly is as big as anything that we have physically that we need.”
As for what he’s looking for from the guys this fall camp, he said he’s told the QBs they aren’t going to win the job with one throw, so they don’t need to press:
On if he feels the need to teach the quarterbacks the balance between trying to win the starting job on every rep and understand when to make the smart play…
“Absolutely, we made the point the first day that there’s not enough reps to go around right now. So in that, the natural thing guys will do is press. It’s exactly what you’re saying. You’re not going to win the job on one throw. You’re not going to lose the job on one throw. All I’ve asked them to do is to go out there and throw the ball aggressively. I don’t want to see guys out there just half stepping in there, dropping it down and tentatively making throws because they don’t want to lose the job. I want guys to go out there and just rip it all over the field, giving it everything they’ve got. Then we can make adjustments from there, but if you come out there and you’re not giving it everything you’ve got or you’re playing timid—because all you’re trying to do is not lose the job—now we’ve got to work to get that out of you and then make the corrections physically and fundamentally after that. So, all I want them to do is go cut it loose and play aggressively. That’s it. That’s all I ask.”
This will be one of the most-intriguing position battles to watch across the entire SEC. It’s sure to be an exciting one for Tennessee fans to follow!