The Tennessee Vols haven’t had much luck on the football field over the last decade.
Since firing Phillip Fulmer at the end of the 2008 season, the Vols have had only five winning seasons. Tennessee has finished with seven or more losses seven times since 2008.
Part of the reason the Vols haven’t had much success over the last 10 years is because the program hasn’t had a strong identity.
Not since Lane Kiffin’s squad in 2009 — a team that played with a lot of swagger — have we seen a Tennessee team that had an identity on the field.
There was nothing that stood out about Derek Dooley’s teams — other than Tyler Bray’s ability to launch the ball down the field. The same goes for Butch Jones’ teams, which relied heavily on Josh Dobbs to make plays.
Jeremy Pruitt’s teams were dreadful to watch over the last few years. There was no rhythm on offense or defense. It was just complete confusion on the field at most times.
The Vols teams of the last decade had no real defining characteristics. And that’s not exactly a recipe for success. To be successful in college football, a team has to do at least one thing really well (score, force turnovers, smothering defense, run the ball efficiently, etc).
Fortunately for Tennessee, that will finally be changing under Josh Heupel.
Develop elite QBs.
Develop the skill positions.
Put up big numbers. pic.twitter.com/G3pLdHl4KF
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) January 29, 2021
Heupel, unlike Tennessee’s previous three head coaches, has a strong identity. He’s an offensive guy that has proved he can put up a massive amount of points.
At UCF, Heupel’s teams averaged over 40 points a game in each of his three seasons at the helm.
When Heupel served as the offensive coordinator at Missouri, he took an offense that averaged 13.6 points per game in 2015 and helped them improved dramatically in 2016 (his first year as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator). In 2016, Mizzou averaged 31.4 points per game. In 2017, the Tigers averaged 37.5 points per game (No. 14 in the nation).
Heupel’s philosophy works (and we know it will work in the SEC). There’s no question about what Tennessee will look like under Heupel — the Vols are going to be an exciting team to watch that scores a lot of points.
Tennessee hasn’t had an identity in a long time. That will no longer be the case with Heupel running the show.
It may seem like a small thing to point out. But I fully believe that having a strong identity is the first step to major success for the Vols.
Featured image via Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports