The worst-kept secret in Tennessee football circles finally went public Thursday. Josh Heupel named Joey Halzle the Vols’ new offensive coordinator to replace Alex Golesh Thursday.
Halzle got the job over lots of candidates who had a case over him, a list you can see here. He also won’t even have play calling duties. So what exactly does he bring to the table? Here are five advantages to hiring Halzle.
5. Stability for Tennessee football players
Upon his hire Thursday, we wrote here that Josh Heupel is clearly prioritizing stability over everything else. This is the second straight year he did that with a coaching change.
Last year, Heupel promoted Kelsey Pope to replace Kodi Burns as wide receivers coach. Since this is Heupel’s offense, the most important thing is for the Vols is that the players don’t deal with too much of a change. This move assures that.
4. Creative game planning due to Halzle’s youth
Although he won’t have play calling duties, Halzle is an integral part of the game plan. In a post arguing play calling duties are overrated in Heupel’s offense, Dave Hooker noted that what Halzle could bring to the game plan with his youth outweighs that.
As Hooker said, younger coaches tend to be more creative with their designs. Twice a game this past year, Tennessee football had a play in their back pocket that they dished out when needed. Halzle could bring more of those, a huge advantage.
3. Proven track record as Tennessee football QB coach
It’s always ideal when your OC is also the quarterbacks coach. After all, the quarterback is an extension of the coach. Whether or not Halzle or Heupel is running the offense, both are effectively QB coaches, so that’s one advantage over Golesh.
Halzle’s track record with quarterbacks is already pretty impressive. Hendon Hooker became a Heisman-caliber candidate under him. We just saw the development of Joe Milton III In the Orange Bowl. Those are all good signs with him taking on this role.
2. Recruiting prowess
There’s no doubt that Halzle is one of the strongest recruiters for Tennessee football. Since he won’t have play calling duties, he can likely focus on recruiting a bit more than other coordinators usually have to.
That’s a huge deal, as Halzle’s recruiting strength will now come as an offensive coordinator rather than just a QB coach. It carries more weight when he’s talking to high school kids, so look for UT to lure even more elite talent to Rocky Top.
1. Familiarity with Josh Heupel’s offense
You could pair this with stability, but it’s not exactly the same. Stability is about the transition with the players. This is about Halzle’s familiarity with the offense he’s about to run. Nobody is more familiar with it than him.
Outside of two years in the private sector in 2018 and 2019, Halzle has been with Heupel in different roles ever since his playing days with the Oklahoma Sooners in 2006. That includes playing quarterback, working as an analyst and coaching quarterbacks.
Nobody who hasn’t held this job before is more ready for this job than Halzle. As a result, Tennessee football shouldn’t see many changes with him in that role next year. Given how great the offense has already looked, that’s a huge deal.