There are some college football analysts who were impressed by Tennessee's hiring of Josh Heupel. Paul Finebaum is not one of them.
Shortly after Heupel's introductory presser on Wednesday, Finebaum addressed Tennessee AD Danny White's decision to bring the 42-year-old head coach with him from UCF.
On his radio show, Finebaum described the move as "not a very imaginative hire" and "pretty underwhelming from a wow-appeal standpoint."
"Frankly, I didn't hear anything from Heupel today that would make you think Tennessee will break down any doors," Finebaum said. "It was like a cattle prod to the system. The expectations have been quieted dramatically. At the end of the search, the reality has struck: That this was as good as Tennessee could do."
On a positive note, Finebaum said he anticipates Heupel running a clean program, which the Tennessee administration would welcome considering its current situation. However, you need to be able to do more than that to win at a high level.
"The one thing I feel comfortable and confident about Heupel is that he's going to run a clean program," Finebaum said. "As soon as I say that, 'what can that get you in big-time college football?' is the better question. Can he recruit? I think it will be difficult right now. He may turn a couple of players around. That happens. We've seen that all the time.
"But ultimately, he's going to have to survive, and now his boss, who just had a coronation the other day, now has some pressure on him. This is his hire."
In three seasons as a head coach at UCF, Heupel went 28-8 and reached three bowl games. He produced a 12-1 season in 2018, which included a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
The Knights slipped to 6-4 in 2020, and Tennessee fans have to be hoping that Heupel doesn't carry any of that over with him to Knoxville.
[ 247Sports ]