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Josh Heupel on road trip to Oklahoma in 2024: 'It will be unique to go back'

IMG_6598by:Nick Kosko05/29/24


Josh Heupel is going to have quite the trip back to Oklahoma now that the Sooners are in the SEC.

Not only is Heupel a legend as a Sooner, he coached with them in 2004 as a GA and eventually as an assistant and offensive coordinator from 2006-14. With the Sooners now in the SEC and Tennessee looming on the schedule, Heupel will have all the feelings come back.

Oklahoma and Heupel pretty much go hand in hand, except when Tennessee has to play the Sooners.

“You know, for me, from my coaching career to playing career, you know a lot of great relationships, a lot of great memories,” Heupel said at the SEC Meetings.

“So many people that have been a huge part of helping me as a player, grow as man, helped me in this profession as well. So a lot of great memories, a lot of people that I still stay in touch with. Sister lives back there, dad lives back there as well. So it will be unique d to go back and play inside of that stadium, being on the other sideline.”

Tennessee hits the road to Norman, Oklahoma on September 21st as the Volunteers’ SEC opener. It’ll be quite the show.

There’s going to be a very high ceiling on the Tennessee Volunteers this season, with Andy Staples arguing that he thinks the Volunteers could make their first trip to the College Football Playoff in 2024. That’s in no small part due to a relatively manageable schedule compared to their peers. This is a big opportunity for Heupel.

“Very intriguing team,” Andy Staples said. “Tennessee is one of these. Ole Miss is one of these. I explain to people, as divisions go away in these various leagues, like the Big Ten and the SEC, schedule draw means a lot. Tennessee’s schedule draw is not Georgia‘s schedule draw, it’s not Florida‘s schedule draw. It is much closer to Ole Miss’ schedule draw. Therefore, I am making Tennessee’s ceiling a Playoff berth.”

Ultimately, Cody Bellaire agreed that a potential Playoff run is on the table for Tennessee. That’s largely because of what Nico Iamaleava and the rest of the offense is capable of doing in 2024.

“Yes, and you know what helps a Playoff run,” Bellaire said. “Having a generational quarterback. Nico Iamaleava has a chance to bring Tennessee back into the Playoff conversation and light up the scoreboard like we saw when Hendon Hooker was taking snaps for the Vols.

“He was the number one player in the country for On3 for a reason. He has elite arm talent. He’s a dynamic athlete. He’s got all the tools that Josh Heupel is looking for at the quarterback position.”

Seems like Heupel has the tools to get this team to the promised land. Maybe Oklahoma could spoil the party as well.