KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Monday following Tennessee’s loss to Ole Miss on Saturday, coach Josh Heupel spoke on injuries, refereeing, and much more, but not much on the incident involving fans throwing trash onto Shield-Watkins Field in the final moments of the fourth quarter that cost the university $250,000.
During the press conference, Heupel was asked what the recruits will take away from the game and its atmosphere, along with the unfortunate delay caused by fans throwing debris onto the field.
“They’re going to take away the 59 minutes. The slight delay, and then to see our student body rush down to fill the bottom part of the section, the remainder of our crowd to be amped up for the final minute of play, that’s the takeaway. I know for some people the story is what happened. Our administration has made it clear that’s not the stance, and what we want from the Volunteer Spirit, and I feel the same way,” he said.
“I’ve been in a lot of competitive arenas as a player and as a coach. There is nothing better that I’ve ever been in than what happened on Saturday night.”
He opened the press conference by affirming that his players competed extremely hard, every second right until the final whistle; but followed with things that the team needs to work on.
“Got to play smarter to finish on the right side of that, didn’t do that. Those are things for the most part we control. Offensively some simple communication things; defensively got to get off the field on third down,” he said.
He mentioned that quarterback Hendon Hooker, running back Tiyon Evans and offensive lineman Cade Mays are all considered day-to-day with their injuries as of Oct. 18. Heupel said he doesn’t believe Hooker’s injury will be long-term.
When asked on disagreeing with the controversial officiating of the Ole Miss game, he said, “You turn those things in on Sunday.”
The Tennessee Volunteers will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on SEC Rival Alabama on the Third Saturday in October (Oct. 23) at 7 p.m.