Tennessee Football: Josh Heupel addresses Gerald Mincey situation

On3 imageby:Grant Ramey09/18/23


Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said Monday during his weekly press conference that the Vols simply decided not to play redshirt junior Gerald Mincey on the offensive line during the Vols’ 29-16 loss to Florida on Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.

Mincey wasn’t in the offensive line rotation against Florida and played only special-teams snaps on extra points. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported on Sunday that Mincey had been cited for simple possession on Thursday.

“Just decided not to play him on the offensive side of the ball,” Heupel said.

Heupel was also asked why Mincey played on special teams and if he would be available when No. 23 Tennessee (2-1) hosts Texas San Antonio (1-2) on Saturday (4 p.m. Eastern Time, SEC Network) at Neyland Stadium.

“We just made that decision,” Heupel said of playing Mincey on special teams.

“We’ve got a long week here,” Heupel added when asked about Mincey’s availability moving forward. “We’ll go through the week.”

Tennessee scored a touchdown on its opening offensive possession, but didn’t get back into the end zone until Bru McCoy’s 55-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“At the end of the day, just not as consistent as we need them to be,” Heupel said Monday when asked about the play of Tennessee’s offensive line. “And really, that’s the entire offensive unit … collectively as a group, just not as a consistent as we need to be. To go on the road, to play a good football team, to be able to move the ball and score points.”

Mincey had split time with Jeremiah Crawford at right tackle over the first two games of the season, playing 36 snaps to Crawford’s 34 last week against Austin Peay. He played 39 snaps to Crawford’s 57 in the win over Virginia on September 2 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Tennessee senior center Cooper Mays also missed the Florida game, dressing for a second straight week and going through pregame warmups in Gainesville before ultimately being held out.

The Vols were also without cornerback Doneiko Slaughter. Sophomore Dylan Sampson also wasn’t in the running back rotation after rushing 16 times for 60 yards and three touchdowns over the first two games of the season.

Saturday night after the loss at Florida, Heupel said during his press conference that the Vols “just made a decision” to play Crawford at right tackle instead of Mincy.

“Doneiko wasn’t available,” Heupel said, “and Mincy, we just made a decision to go with JJ (Crawford).”

Mincey was a three-star prospect in the 2020 recruiting cycle out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He started his college career at Florida before transferring to Tennessee after his redshirt freshman season with the Gators in 2021.

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