Dan Fleser: Quarterback Situation Still Fluid At UT

Monday, September 13, 2021 - by Dan Fleser

Josh Heupel answered a question regarding Tennessee’s quarterback situation on Monday with a passing thought. How ironic – for now anyway.


The Vols’ first-year head coach dismissed without elaborating any connection between the prevailing uncertainty at the position and adversity. Heupel then said “multiple factors” will determine who starts against Tennessee Tech on Saturday.


Heupel played quarterback at Oklahoma and has coached the position at multiple schools.

He was a Heisman Trophy runner-up and has helped develop QBs who won the coveted award. Therefore, he has considerable experience with what goes on behind center.


He said being a former QB impacts, “the dialogue that you have with them, how you try to handle them.”


As a coach, Heupel has developed a better appreciation for the inevitability of injury, which has reinforced the need for QB depth.


“You guys have heard me say it multiple times,” Heupel said. “The strength of the position can’t be just one guy.”


The health of Vols quarterback Joe Milton III, who started the first two games, is one of those aforementioned factors. He was knocked out of Saturday’s 41-34 loss to Pitt after being sacked in the second quarter. 


“We’ll find out where Joe is here in the middle of the week,” Heupel said.


Milton had 108 yards of total offense against the Panthers. He was 7-for-12 passing for 50 yards but overthrew open receivers JaVonta Peyton and Cedric Tillman on first-quarter passes that could’ve resulted in touchdowns. Milton has struggled with accuracy on deep throws in both of his starts.


Heupel and Milton have watched film and apparently have considered Milton’s options for correcting his issues. 


“Whether that’s more air under the ball, whether it’s driving it on (the receivers) on a couple of them,” Heupel said. “At the end of the day, the quarterback’s got to make it right with his arm and deliver (the ball) accurately.”


Hendon Hooker replaced Milton on Saturday and threw for 188 yards and two TDs. He directed scoring drives that yielded three touchdowns. Heupel thought Hooker’s decision-making was sound and his pocket presence was sufficient.


“He stood in there and got hit on a couple of throws and delivered the football accurately down the football field,” Heupel said.


Hooker's accuracy backfired on his final throw, however. He hit Pitt defensive back Brandon Hill, who was breaking toward the middle of the field, in stride in the fourth quarter. The interception ended UT’s final chance at a possible game-tying score.


Any turnover is a factor to consider going forward.


In other matters:


-Heupel said Byron Young will be eligible to play on Saturday after being sidelined for the first two games by eligibility issues. Young was a bright spot in preseason camp and figures to boost UT’s pass rush.


-Heupel had no injury updates regarding running backs Tiyon Evans and Jabari Small or wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. Evans missed the Pitt game because of injury while Hyatt and Small got hurt during the game.

 

----

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri, who covered University of Tennessee athletics from 1988-2019. He can be reached at ddanfleser3@gmail.com.


Double-A South Standings/Results

Lee Men Win 2-1 In Overtime

Lee Women Improve To 5-0 With Another Shutout


Double-A South Standings/Results (as of games of 9/18/21) North Division Team W L PCT GB Birmingham (CWS) ... (click for more)

Senior Mattia Balzano scored the game-winning goal for another Lee men's soccer overtime victory, 2-1 against conference foes Christian Brothers on a rainy Sunday afternoon from the Ray Conn ... (click for more)

The Lee University women’s soccer team passed its first two tests in Gulf South Conference competition this weekend and will now enter a showdown at rival Mississippi College on Friday (2 p.m.). ... (click for more)



Sports

Double-A South Standings/Results

Double-A South Standings/Results (as of games of 9/18/21) North Division Team W L PCT GB Birmingham (CWS) 62 56 .525 - Chattanooga (CIN) 58 54 .518 1.0 Rocket City (LAA) 54 ... (click for more)

Lee Men Win 2-1 In Overtime

Senior Mattia Balzano scored the game-winning goal for another Lee men's soccer overtime victory, 2-1 against conference foes Christian Brothers on a rainy Sunday afternoon from the Ray Conn Sports Complex. After a scoreless first half things picked up in the second 45. CBU's Andres Solares tallied a yellow card in the 62nd minute, and two minutes later grabbed another yellow, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Police Say Videos Show Man Who Said He Was Attacked By Gang Initiated Fight, Was Intoxicated And Belligerent

Chattanooga Police say videos show that a man who claimed he was attacked by gangs downtown actually initiated a fight and was intoxicated and belligerent. Police said their investigation showed a number of discrepancies in Stuart Doster's Facebook account that was widely viewed. Mr. Doster on Facebook said he was walking to his car on Cherry Street in downtown Chattanooga ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Ed Johnson Memorial Dedicated

Opinion

False Alarm - And Response

Stuart Doster should be arrested and charged with something. I'm not sure what but CPD should deter future misrepresentations and wastes of time like Mr. Doster's story. He lied to authorities and wasted valuable resources that could have been used to solve real crimes. In addition, his elected official buddy co-signs his falsehoods about black youth terrorizing downtown Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Terrifying Thought

It is no secret the Delta variant of the COVID pandemic has all but crippled our bulging hospitals. There isn’t a room to be found in any nearby hospital and the ravaging consequences are best detailed in our ever-rising death rates. But it could be worse. As of Friday, there were 3,422 patients hospitalized in Tennessee with 1,033 in intensive care, 747 so sick they are on ventilators. ... (click for more)