SEC Media Days – Tennessee is confident QB Hendon Hooker will take next steps

ATLANTA – Tennessee Volunteers coach Josh Heupel finished with a 7-6 record in his first year as head coach last season. Coming into last season, the challenge the young head coach faced was finding the right quarterback. 

After the Volunteers 41-34 loss to Pittsburgh, Hendon Hooker got his start against Tennessee Tech and won 56-0. In their next five games, the Volunteers would lose three of their games to Top 15 conference opponents Florida, Ole Miss and Alabama.

The Volunteers bounced back the next game as Hooker led the Volunteers to a 45-42 win over Kentucky. He threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns on 15-20 passing. Hooker went on to finish the season completing 68 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,945 yards, 31 touchdowns and three interceptions.

His play last season earned him Preseason Davey O’Brien watch list honors. Heupel credits his recognition and growth to handling adversity last season.

“He’s handled adversity well,” said Heupel when asked what stands out with Hooker since last season. “He’s had everything thrown at him, positive or negative. He gets better from those situations.

Coming into this season, Hooker is more confident in his play and leadership. He attributes that to Heupel’s coaching.

“He is motivating me to lead and take control of the team,” Hooker said. “He gives us a voice instead of letting coaches take control of the team. That’s something that’s special to me because I haven’t always had that.”

Heupel sees the confidence Hooker has and hopes it leads to big wins this season.

“He has gained so much confidence (since last season) and has had a positive impact on his performance on and off the field,” said Heupel. “I’m so excited about his future and him being a better player and leader.”

The post SEC Media Days – Tennessee is confident QB Hendon Hooker will take next steps appeared first on The Atlanta Voice.

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