When Glen Elarbee followed Josh Heupel from Missouri to UCF in 2018, he made it clear that his belief in Heupel as a coach is why he made the move.
“He’s (Heupel) probably the rarest combination I’ve been around of a guy that is one, really cares about players, coaches, people as individuals, and unreal smart intellectually,” said Elarbee in early 2018 (via Rivals).
When Heupel was named the new head coach of the Tennessee Vols last month, it was another easy decision for Elarbee, who is joining Heupel in Knoxville as UT’s new offensive line coach.
“I’ve said this a bunch — Heupel is the scariest blend of the best human being that I’ve been around that actually cares about people, cares about family, and is blended with a freaky smart guy,” said Elarbee on Wednesday during a press conference introducing Tennessee’s new offensive assistants.
“I’ve never been around anybody who is that genuine and that smart at the game of football. I wanted to work for him ever since I met him. The decision was pretty easy.”
Part of what Elarbee loves about Heupel is the attention to detail that the 42-year old head coach applies every day.
“Everything we do has such a fine point to each piece of the coaching,” explained Elarbee in 2018. “It all ties in together. There’s not anything that we don’t do that doesn’t have a reason for why we’re doing it.”
“It all has purpose and he does a great job with tying it all together to be able to see it and get it done.”
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) February 18, 2021
Coaches that are familiar with each other
One of the reasons that previous Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt struggled at Tennessee was a lack of coaching staff continuity.
Pruitt went through 18 assistants during his three years on Rocky Top. It’s tough to have any sort of continuity with that kind of staff movement, which makes it hard to deliver a unified message from the coaching staff.
Four of the assistants that Heupel is bringing to Tennessee — Elarbee, offensive coordinator Alex Golesh, quarterbacks coach Joey Halzle, and secondary coach Willie Martinez — have been with Heupel for multiple years. Those guys are going to be able to hit the ground running immediately in Knoxville, which will instantly put them ahead of where Pruitt was when he took the job in late 2017.
Heupel knows how to run a program. And thanks to assistants like Elarbee who believe in his vision, the staff knows exactly what Heupel expects.
The Vols still have an uphill battle in front of them to return to the program to respectability, but Heupel and his assistants are well-equipped to handle the challenges that lie ahead.
Featured image via ZouNation