It seems like it should be nearly impossible to criticize the Tennessee Vols‘ offense.

Tennessee is averaging 52.0 points per game through three games this season. Last year, the Vols finished with the No. 7 scoring offense in the nation in their first season under Josh Heupel.

One criticism that consistently pops up, however, is that Tennessee’s offense under Heupel is too simple or too “gimmicky”.

Heupel’s offense isn’t extremely complex when it comes to calling plays. Instead, it’s reliant on the quarterback to make the right calls based on what the defense presents.

The results are hard to argue with.

But that doesn’t stop detractors of Heupel’s offense from throwing shade.

One reason that Tennessee’s offense isn’t as simple as folks think is because of the way Heupel stacks plays on top of each other to set up plays later in the game.

AtoZ Sports Film Room’s James Foster did a great job this week of showing how Heupel did this last season against the Gators.

Foster shows in the clip above (near the 1:30 mark) how Heupel gave Florida a look last year where Jalin Hyatt was sent in motion and the play resulted in a pass to Hyatt that picked up about 13 yards.

Late in the game, Tennessee gave Florida the exact same look in a second-and-10 situation. Hyatt ran the same orbital motion before the ball was snapped, but instead of a pass play, Hendon Hooker handed the ball off and the Vols picked up the first down.

Every play Heupel runs has a purpose. Sometimes, the play may not go for many yards, but it’s setting up another play later in the game.

Heupel, essentially, is trying to pick up chunk yardage while also giving the defense some things to think about later in the game. Heupel then exploits what the defenses believes they’re going to get. It’s a brilliant strategy that clearly works.

Tennessee offensive line coach Glen Elarbee once called Heupel a “freaky smart” coach.

I think we’re seeing with the way Heupel’s offense operates that Elarbee was correct in his assessment.

Featured image via AtoZ Sports