Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel. Photo by Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics.
While basketball is currently the talk of the Southeastern Conference sports world right now, college football is one of those conversations that never fully goes away – even during the biggest week of the hoops season for the conference.
On the second day of the SEC men’s basketball tournament in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, former Tennessee wide receiver Grant Frerking shared some impressive words about Vols head coach Josh Heupel while appearing on the Paul Finebaum Show.
“I think Josh [Heupel] is unique because he’s not coming from a coaching tree that he feels like he has to establish himself, right?” Frerking said to Finebaum. “He doesn’t feel like he has to be someone that he’s not.”
Frerking, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, had been with the Tennessee football team since walking on in 2017. During his time at Tennessee, Frerking was also the founder and CEO of Metro Straw, “one of the largest ground cover solutions companies in the southeast with branches in Atlanta, Nashville, Birmingham and Charlotte,” according to UT Sports. Frerking now serves as the Director of On3 Athlete Network Development, highlighting his impressive resume in the business world as well.
Tennessee can boast continuity and consistency within the program, which are two things that haven’t been seen too often on Rocky Top prior to Heupel’s arrival. Since that arrival back in January 2021, Heupel completely changed the culture of the Tennessee program, which was explained by Frerking.
“Josh Heupel is unique because he wants to write his own script. And he wants his legacy to be a Josh Heupel legacy. Not in an egotistic way. But he wants to own it and do it his own way. And, Paul, going into last year did you think in two years we would be where we’re at? And, with a few exceptions, we had the same roster. Same talent as the year before. That’s a culture, that’s a buy-in, that’s a development thing.”
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Frerking also explained what makes Heupel different from so many other coaches around the league – especially the SEC. The former Tennessee wideout spoke about Heupel’s steps to reaching Tennessee and how it helped create the coach he is today.
“He was a player, fairly recently, and he was doing it at a high level of college football,” Frerking said. “And he was a coordinator. Then he was a head coach at a group of five school – a well-respected G5 school. And then he gets the Tennessee job. And the person that was at Tennessee before (Jeremy Pruitt) is a [Nick] Saban guy, and you can look at coaches across the country, who they worked for last, and that coach probably had a ton of success there, and they wanted to model that program after them.”
Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Volunteers just wrapped up an 11-2 college football season in 2022, with six ranked wins including No. 3 Alabama and No. 6 Clemson. Heupel now has a record of 18-8 over the span of his two seasons with the Big Orange.
Check out the full clip from Paul Finebaum and Grant Frerking below.
Another trip to Tennessee… another amazing visit with @GrantFrerking
Listen here as he describes what makes @Vol_Football HC Josh Heupel special and different from other CFB coaches. pic.twitter.com/ww69kf6Org
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) March 9, 2023