It was time for Josh Heupel to answer the “close the gap” question on Saturday.
Lane Kiffin briefly had to do it. So did Derek Dooley, Butch Jones and Jeremy Pruitt.
Every Tennessee football coach since Phillip Fulmer has had to address the question that looms anytime a national champion beats the Vols this badly.
Now it was Heupel’s turn after No. 18 UT (7-4, 3-4 SEC) lost 38-10 to No. 1 Georgia (11-0, 8-0), the two-time defending national champion.
How does Tennessee close the gap with the best team in college football?
“We’ve still got to continue to take steps in what we’re doing as a program,” Heupel said. “It’s our personnel, the depth of our program, all those things to continue to climb the ranks inside this league.
“(Georgia) is a really good football team, you know what I mean? What they’ve done over the last couple of years is special. And we’ve got a ways to go.”
That’s a comprehensive answer. But what are the nuts and bolts of a Vols plan to catch up with Georgia? It must involve better coaching, better recruiting or better player development – or probably all three.
Look at the opposing sideline at Neyland Stadium to see how Georgia has combined those elements for a program that hasn’t lost in 28 games – tied for the longest winning streak in SEC history.
Can Vols catch up to Georgia’s talent?
Let’s start with players. Then we’ll get to coaches.
Georgia is loaded with former five-star and four-star prospects. The Bulldogs’ past four recruiting classes ranked No. 1, No. 4, No. 3 and No. 2, according to 247 Sports Composite.
Tennessee has a one active five-star on its roster – quarterback Nico Iamaleava – and he appears to be redshirting because he’ll play no more than four regular-season games.
The Vols’ past four recruiting classes ranked No. 11, No. 22, No. 17 and…
Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/does-josh-heupel-close-gap-022121750.html
Author : Knox News | The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Publish date : 2023-11-19 02:21:21
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