Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel made a couple of comments on Sunday that should be extremely encouraging to UT fans.

Heupel was asked how many wide receivers he prefers to use during the course of a game.

I thought Heupel gave an excellent response — one that’s exactly what you want to hear from a head coach.

“Just depends on the number of guys that are ready to play at an elite level,” explained Heupel. “We’ve had six. We’ve had five. There are years it has been four, just based on who they are. The more guys that are able to play, the more we’re going to use them. Our personnel groupings have been different every year, everywhere that we’ve been. From being in a bunch of 12 personnel because we had tight ends that were ready to play at a really high level, and we trusted them to be in four wide receiver sets more depending on the year because we had a bunch of wideouts that we felt like we were going to play at that level.”

“So at the end of the day, that’s a part of the process of your entire offseason, but it’s certainly here, as you’re building up to the season. Finding out which personnel you can count on, then from there, week-to-week, we’ll try to put those guys in a position of success.”

Tennessee Vols
Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel throws a pass to his son, Jace, during the Vol Walk ahead of an SEC conference game between Tennessee and Vanderbilt at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.
Kns Tennessee Vanderbilt Football

I love that Heupel doesn’t have a predetermined method when it comes to his wide receiver rotation. This shows that Heupel and his staff are always going to adapt the offense to the strengths of their roster.

If the Vols have a tight end that excels as a pass catcher, they’re going to get him more involved. If they have seven elite wide receivers, those seven will play. If it’s only four, then we won’t see as many wide receivers getting action.

This is the way successful coaches approach the game. When a coach has predetermined what the team is going to do before spring practice and fall camp, it’s likely going to lead to poor results. That was the case with previous Vols head coaches Jeremy Pruitt and Butch Jones.

Fortunately for Tennessee, Heupel is confident enough in his coaching staff and his abilities as a head coach to be open-minded when it comes to what the offense is going to look like each year.

There’s been a lot of talk about Heupel’s offense being “too simple”. But that’s a gross mischaracterization of what’s actually happening on Rocky Top. The offense is “simple” in the sense that it simplifies the reads for the quarterback and the rest of the offense. It’s still complex enough to give opposing defenses a fit (which was obvious last season).

I think we can tell from Heupel’s comments on Sunday that Tennessee’s offense won’t look the exact same in 2022 as it did in 2021.

Featured image via Alan Poizner / USA TODAY NETWORK