Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel has been influenced by a wide range of coaches.

From Bob Stoops to Mike Leach, Heupel has taken little pieces of everywhere he’s been to become the head coach he is today.

One of the coaches that’s influenced Heupel is someone he’s never even worked with.

Former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly, who is currently the head coach at UCLA, is partially responsible for the Vols’ success in 2021.

Kelly’s had a big influence on the way Tennessee practices under Heupel.

The Vols practice early in the mornings. This is something Heupel started doing at UCF, thanks to a visit from Kelly during Heupel’s time at Oklahoma.

Heupel talked about Kelly and morning practices during his appearance on Vol Calls on Wednesday night.

“We were (practicing in the afternoons at Oklahoma) as a player and as a coach,” explained Heupel. “Talked to with Chip Kelly. He came and visited us at one point. I always felt like I would want to go in that direction. At that point, the university and just coaching, we hadn’t gone that way. UCF was the first time we got a chance to put it in place. I just think it was really helpful for our players.”

When Kelly was with the San Francisco 49ers, he explained why he prefers morning practices.

“Part of us practicing in the morning is just that, science,” said Kelly in 2016 (via Niners Nation). “Your body releases HGH at the most between nine and 11. So, we should be out on the field between nine and 11.”

“We’ve always practiced in the morning,” added Kelly. “I practiced in the morning when we were at Oregon. I practiced in the morning when we were in Philadelphia and part of that is because of the science aspect of it.”

Heupel is open to learning from other coaches. He doesn’t necessarily think his way is always the best way. That’s the sign of a great coach. It’s a trait that Nick Saban, Bill Belichick, and other successful head coaches possess.

Coaches should always be evolving. Heupel clearly isn’t in danger of becoming stagnant. He’s always looking for ways to improve.

Featured image via Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK/Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports