Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel against Pittsburgh. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics
The Tennessee football team arrived in Miami Christmas Day to begin preparations for the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.
No. 6 Tennessee is in the game after a 10-2 season where the Vols beat Florida, LSU and Alabama. They’ll face off with No. 7 Clemson, the ACC Champions who enter the matchup 11-2.
See everything Josh Heupel said as the Vols arrived in south Florida.
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Opening statement: “We’re so excited to be here. Our university is extremely proud to be in this great bowl game. Historic, iconic bowl game. Great to be in the city of Miami for a week of great festivities for our players. Obviously, a great opportunity to play a great opponent at the end of the week.”
On what it means for the Tennessee program to be at a prestigious bowl game like the Orange Bowl
“This is. huge test for our program. Opportunity to play in this game, haven’t been here in almost 25 years. There’s a lot of proud VFLs, former players that are looking forward to getting down to south Florida and being at this football game but this is an important step for our fanbase. Really proud of what our players and coaches have accomplished this season.”
On what he’s looking forward to besides the game
“Enjoy a little bit of sun later in the week, I think. Enjoy some great food. Lot of activities for our players. Looking forward to being on the beach with them for a little bit and have a lot of fun.”
On how they’ve prepared to face Clemson’s strong defense
“They have great players all over the field. With two great teams like this getting together, at the end of the day I think you have to do what you do and you have to have a few wrinkles to be successful. Bowl game, one off, you have to go execute. So our preparation back home and certainly this week when we’re in meetings, when we’re on the practice field we have to do it at a really high level.”
On Joe Milton’s mentality entering the game as the starting quarterback
“This is a homecoming for him. This is a guy from south Florida, is going to have a lot of family and friends here at the game. This means a lot to him. Somebody that inside of our program has had a voice and been a leader all year long and has prepared really consistently. As much growth as he’s had from year one to year two in what we’ve done and how he handles every day inside of our building. Proud of him for that but that’s also led into him being consistent in preparation up until us landing here in south Florida.”
On winning the National Championship at the Orange Bowl in 2001 and what he tells his players about the history of the bowl
“I told them from the moment we found out we were going to be in this game that this is an iconic game, one that you’ll remember forever. The entire country will be watching this game on the 30th and you want to be ready to go play your best football. It would mean a lot to you when you get there. Embrace the journey, enjoy it. You’re going to have a week full of fun and at the same time it’s college football as good as it gets.”
On what he wants to tell Tennessee fans making the trip
“Looking forward to Vol nation showing up in droves here in south Florida. I appreciate you guys being on this journey really over the last three years but certainly this last fall. Can’t wait to see you on game night.”