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Josh Heupel shares state of Tennessee offensive line competition

20200517_134556by:Justin Rudolph05/02/23

The Tennessee Volunteers football program is gearing up for the summer after another spring practice series under head coach Josh Heupel. From the outside looking in, some individuals might have already penciled in the Volunteers depth chart for 2023. But inside the program, that is a different story, and nothing is set in stone yet.

Throughout the spring, Tennessee has been working on retooling its offensive line, and it has been a process, to say the least. But it is a process that is far from over, according to Heupel. Following the Volunteers’ White-Orange game, the Tennessee headman addressed the state of offensive line competition, revealing when he’ll likely have his line set for 2023.

“Today’s not the end of the competition at any position,” said Heupel. “Guys have a chance to be dramatically different by the way that they work in May, June, and July; come back to training camp. And you got to give a chance for them to be a different player and judge them for who they are in the course of training camp.

“The offensive line: great competition at the tackle spots, interiorly too. I think you guys have probably seen guys work multiple positions, left and right. I expect there to be great competitions as we go throughout training camp as well. I do like that we are a deeper unit than we have been our first two years. You never know when and if you’re going to need that for sure.”

Arguably one of the biggest holes Heupel will need to fill along his offensive line is that of left tackle, which Darnell Wright vacated after entering the draft. Wright was one of the best offensive tackles in college football last season, and that was highlighted during the 2023 NFL Draft. The former Volunteers starting offensive lineman was a Thursday night primetime pick as he went No. 10 overall to the Chicago Bears.

Heupel put his entire offensive line and team on notice; their work is far from over. Just because you are with the starting unit now does not mean you will be there at the start of the season. Playing in a conference as highly competitive as the SEC means that you will be challenged every time you take the field. And Heupel plans on continuing to challenge his team to ensure that everyone is ready to go in week one and that he has the best players on the field; not just the ones that performed the best in the spring.