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Tennessee Vols HC Josh Heupel speaks on expectations for UT football in 2023

AtoZ Sports logo AtoZ Sports 3/15/2023 Zach Ragan
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Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel was recently asked about the expectations for UT football in 2023

The Tennessee Vols exceeded the expectations that were put on them by the national media last season.

Most analysts thought the best-case scenario for Tennessee in 2022 was a nine-win regular season and maybe a win in a bowl game.

The Vols ended up going 11-2 with wins over Florida, LSU, Alabama, and Clemson.

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While Tennessee exceeded outside expectations, the program fell short of its own high expectations.

The Vols entered the 2022 season with one goal -- win every game.

Some folks laughed at Tennessee last summer when players said they planned to have the top offense in the nation and wanted to make it to Atlanta, but they quickly showed they weren't joking around.  

Entering the 2023 season, expectations for the Vols are similar to last season's expectations. 

With Hendon Hooker, Jalin Hyatt, Darnell Wright, Cedric Tillman, Byron Young, and others, moving on to the NFL, most analysts seemingly have Tennessee in the 9 to 10-win range in 2023. 

But expectations haven't changed in Tennessee's locker room. 

Vols head coach Josh Heupel recently spoke with 247Sports' Emily Proud about expectations in 2023 and he made it clear that nothing has changed. 

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"The expectations inside of our room really haven't changed a whole lot from you know, really, after we had worked and competed before we got to our first regular season here," said Heupel. "We compete, we do things the right way. We're gonna love one another and believe that we're gonna put ourselves in the best position to go out and win."

"And from season one to season two, the difference was just our work habits and our consistency in those things to where this football team a year ago expected to go win those games," added Heupel. "What we have done in the first part of our offseason, these guys have continued to grow in their daily habits and accountability to one another. They continue to work and strive for greatness every single day. Really proud of some of the changes that individuals and, collectively, that we've made as a football team. And at the end of the day, believe that we have a football team that, you know go prepare the right way, we will have a chance to win each Saturday that we strap up our chin straps should be ready to go compete."

Basically, that was a long-winded way of Heupel saying that Tennessee's expectations in 2023 are still to win every game. Heupel has made it a point to not put limits on what the Vols can accomplish. He's not setting the bar low. Instead, he's telling his team that if they prepare the right way and handle their business, they have a chance to win every Saturday. 

After last season, I imagine the confidence in Knoxville is sky-high. And because of the loss to South Carolina last season, this team knows they have to keep that same mindset every day of the 2023 season (and really, every day that leads up to the season) if they want to get to Atlanta and make the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history. 


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