KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – There’s just one more sleep until Tennessee football officially returns to the field to begin the 2022 season with preseason camp on Monday.

“I can’t wait to get on the grass with our guys tomorrow,” Heupel said on Sunday. “I am really proud of what our players and staff have done up to this point, and I am really excited about what is going on here in the immediate future over the next couple of days.”

Still, there was a focus on the NCAA’s notice of allegations regarding the alleged recruiting violations of former Big Orange head coach, Jeremy Pruitt, and his staff. Heupel, however did not hide from any of the questions – instead answering openly about the findings and how the program has been communicating with recruits about the situation.

“We’ve been very transparent and open with our current roster, our recruits – that’s why I think we’ve positioned ourselves extremely well,” Heupel said. “You look at some of the things that have come out of that – just the NCAA talking about us being a model of how to move forward for universities when they’re dealing with something. That’s why from the very beginning I’ve said it’s really just a speed bump for this program.”

Heading into his second year as head coach, Heupel feels a certain comfortability with his players – and his players with him.

“They have a better understanding of who I am, how I’m going to handle situations and how I’m going to communicate with them,” he said. “And it’s true on the other side of the coin, for us as a coaching staff, for myself as well.”

The Big Orange will have just one month to prepare for the season opener against Ball State. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 1.