Josh Heupel Reveals Len’Neth Whitehead Is Off Season After Surgery

Josh Heupel had no injury updates to report today during his press conference to open tennessee fall camp, plus some tough news for redshirt sophomore Len’Neth Whitehead. Heupel reported that Whitehead suffered an injury recently that will force him to miss the entire 2022 season.

“Len’Neth will be gone all year this year. (He) just suffered an upper body injury a couple of weeks ago and had season-ending surgery,” Heupel said.

Whitehead rushed the ball 32 times for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season. Whitehead, a former Top-20 runner in On3’s Consensus 2020 Top Running Back Recruits, was hoping to play an even bigger role for the Volunteers this fall. Josh Heupel will now rely on Jabari Small, Jaylen Wright, Justin Williams-Thomas and Dylan Sampson in the backfield.

Beyond Whitehead, Heupel says the rest of the roster is ready to start fall camp. They hope to be even healthier by the end of camp as kick-off approaches.

“For the rest of our football team, we’re pretty healthy with some guys that will develop throughout training camp. We’re really in a really healthy situation here moving into training camp.”

Josh Heupel discusses the difference between year one and year two

Josh Heupel surprised many with how well he settled into the SEC in his first season as the leader of the Tennessee Volunteers.

However, Heupel had the advantage of being a new product during the first year of the conference. Now, the Volunteers coach will have the weight of expectations on his back as he enters the second year, and he explained all the differences he’s seeing during SEC Media Days.

“It’s so different with your players. A complete understanding of what it will look like to 80% of your list. What the game days will be like, the training camp will be. The continuity that we were able to maintain with our staff, they really all come back. That really changed the way we’ve worked from the moment we came back in January,” Heupel said. “We redefined everything, but it was really about our daily work habits. How we grew from the moment we went back to campus instead of building relationships with new people. For us, really excited about what we’ve done and the first three quarters of our offseason. Excited for the training camp.”

Moving on, the Volunteers head coach revealed how he’s measuring progress entering the second year in Knoxville.

“You measure it in the growth and the standards that you have within your building. You measure it daily, weekly with your players and put it in front of them. Physically, they can see the progress they have made and how they have grown. Every phase, it’s about every day, win the day, win the set, win the replay. That’s true of everything you’re doing,” Heupel explained. “It’s your meals, your training room. It’s class. I’m so proud. The past three semesters, our team’s GPA has gone up every semester. The best three semesters in Tennessee Football history. How we’re doing off the field, those things are also reflected in what we’re doing on the field. Our players are convinced of that.”

Last season, Josh Heupel gave credence to the idea that Tennessee hired the right person, and he’ll look to prove that point even more in the second year.

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