Tennessee coach Josh Heupel shouts to players during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Bowling Green on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Tennessee Vols Set to Host Austin Peay State for Home Opener

The Tennessee Volunteers will host the Austin Peay State Governors Saturday in the Vols’ home opener in Knoxville.

Austin Peay State is one of the easier matchups the Vols will face on their schedule this season. Ninth-ranked Tennessee should be able to pick up a win before heading to Gainesville to play the Gators Sept. 15.

The Vols had an impressive undefeated season on home turf in 2022, and head coach Josh Heupel has ben successful as his third season with the program underway.

Additionally, Tennessee will be debuting Smokey Grey uniforms to honor Condredge Holloway. Holloway was a three year starter for the Vols, and this Saturday marks the 51st anniversary of his first start for Tennessee. He became the first black player to be a starting quarterback for an SEC team and the entire team will be wearing Smokey Grey to honor him at Neyland Stadium.

Linebacker Keenan Pili Unavailable

Coach Heupel announced that BYU transfer Keenan Pili will be out for their matchup due to injury. Additionally, he will most likely be out for the following weeks, as well. This offers opportunity for younger linebackers, specifically sophomore Elijah Herring and freshman Arion Carter. The two younger linebackers are hoping to make a statement, and one of the two are likely to step in for Pili this weekend.

Strong Energy

During training and practices, Heupel said the team’s energy level and effort has been good and consistent.

Heupel continued and said he understands no one can be perfect and wants his players to grow throughout the season.

“This isn’t a game of being perfect,” he said. “It’s about constant growth and constant competition and pushing yourself individually to be your best, and collectively becoming your best too. It’s a long journey during the course of the season. Good teams continue to get better every single week.”

The Vols look to secure their 10th consecutive win at home Saturday against the Governors. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.

About Emma Pastis

Emma Pastis is an Orlando, FL native who is a second-year journalism student at the University of Florida.

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