Nico Iamaleava cites tempo as toughest part of Tennessee offense

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison03/23/23


As he enters college, Tennessee quarterback Nico Iamaleava has incredibly high expectations on his shoulders. Luckily, he’s playing for head coach Josh Heupel, who is known for his explosive offenses and his ability to develop quarterbacks.

One benefit of Heupel’s offense is its tempo. However, as Iamaleava explained, that tempo is also the toughest part to learn.

“I think the tempo, for me, is what I’m still trying to get down,” Nico Iamaleava said. “Moving the offense, not as fast as Joe [Milton] but just keeping the same tempo as him, so there’s no big drop off.”

Nico Iamaleava was a five-star recruit in the Class of 2023, making him one of the most anticipated freshmen in the country.

“Yeah, really the tempo and just keying reads and all that goes into it. For me, really just the tempo and getting to know that.”

Josh Heupel, to this point in spring practice, is incredibly happy with what he’s seen from Nico Iamaleava. Heupel said that he expects to push Iamaleava quickly this offseason.

“Well, he’s gonna be pushed extremely quickly. Just look at where we’re at, at the quarterback position. So, a great urgency is gonna be needed for him,” Heupel said.

“He’s extremely coachable. He’s a guy that from the moment he stepped on campus — that’s bowl preparation to coming back here at the end of January when we started the winter semester — has been phenomenal. He’s got great urgency, He cares a great deal about learning his craft, not only learning our offense but learning his craft at the quarterback position. Takes coaching extremely well. He resets, moves onto the next play at a really high level. You know, he’s come in, he’s worked, guys believe in him and I’m just talking about how he carries himself, and slowly you’ve seen him start to grow into taking more ownership.”

Nico Iamaleava on a quarterback battle

Joe Milton is the presumed starter at quarterback in 2023. However, as Nico Iamaleava explained, anything can happen when quarterbacks are competing for playing time.

“I’m always looking to get better and be ready for this year,” Iamaleava said.

“It’s my job to go out there and compete and be ready when my number is called. Anything can happen this season. So really just being how Joe was to Hendon last year, really. Being prepared whenever my number’s called.”