Tennessee Football Team: The Rise to Success
Coach Josh Heupel led the Tennessee football team into a remarkable year in 2023 that saw them come up just short of a College Football Playoff appearance after suffering a surprising late-season loss. Nevertheless, the Vols were lethal for most of the season under Heupel’s guidance. As he continues to build his program into a contender, the internal culture that developed in 2023 is the secret sauce in the Tennessee recipe.
The Winning Internal Culture
Heupel’s program is based on the internal culture of “accountability and love and respect for each other,” built on trust, and a group, staff, and program that are fierce competitors that love to compete in everything. The team has a lot of fun together, and this culture is the foundation for their success.
The Quarterback Group
The quarterback group epitomizes this internal culture. Hendon Hooker had an impressive season, chasing the Heisman Trophy, while his backup, veteran Joe Milton, was also a part of the camaraderie along the way. After Hooker’s season-ending injury, Milton led Tennessee to crucial wins against Vanderbilt and No. 7 Clemson in the Orange Bowl to end the season on a high note.
The Two Pillars of Internal Culture
Heupel’s program has two pillars of internal culture: loving to compete at everything and having fun while doing it. The Tennessee players embraced these pillars and lived them out every single day, leading to the team’s success in 2023.
Building on Success in 2023
In 2023, Tennessee looks to build on the success of last year. Joe Milton takes over at quarterback and looks to sustain the high-level success his teammate Hendon Hooker had. With Heupel’s formula of an internal culture of fun and competition, the Volunteers should be a strong contender once again this year.