- Advertisement -

Tennessee C Cooper Mays: “We’re just human beings at the end of the day.”

- Advertisement -

Injuries are well-known part of sports. Sometimes, they’re more cruel than others. That was certainly the case when Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker went down in a devastating loss to South Carolina.

Adding injury to insult just begins to describe the situation as the Vols’ unquestioned team leader went down with a non-contact injury that turned out to be a season-ending ACL tear. That diagnosis didn’t come out until Sunday, but Tennessee center Cooper Mays knew right away that something was really wrong.

“I was just blocking then and kind of heard the crowd go kind of crazy behind me,” Mays said. “And I turned around. I saw Hendon go down. I caught the tail end of him falling down and then the ball coming out. And it was, you know, in football, you’re obviously going to chase the ball. That’s what you’re taught to do. But for some reason, I didn’t even really care about the ball. 

The Vol Report with Cooper Mays

“If you watch it back, I cared about the ball for like one step and then the next step I was going right to him and even though they were running off with it. So I kind of knew when he went down that it was something serious and just kind of hearing him scream and all that stuff. You kind of see it on the film. 

“It was pretty devastating. I can’t sit here and act like it wasn’t. It was. I’m a guy that cares deeply about all the guys that I play around. And I work hard for all these guys. And seeing somebody go down like that, if you’re not moved… I don’t really know what to say, but it hurt pretty bad.”

- Advertisement -

Mays and the Vols don’t have much time to be understandably dejected about Hooker’s injury. The Vols have to play a Vanderbilt team that is surprisingly respectable with wins at Kentucky and over Florida at home last week. At 5-6, Vanderbilt would be bowl eligible with a win over the Vols.

“I think that they’re going to believe that they’re going to win,” Mays said of the Commodores. “So we’ve got to do everything in our power to stop that from happening. They’ve won back-to-back weeks (in the) SEC. I don’t know when the last time they’ve done that is. That’s a big time accomplishment. It doesn’t matter what program you are. 

“I’m sure they’re going to be riding high. So we’ve got to match that or exceed it for sure.”

And do so without their leader. This isn’t the typical set-up to a Tennessee-Vanderbilt game. The goal is to leave the emotions of the loss to South Carolina and the loss of Hooker in Columbia. That’s easier said than done.

“Immediately after the game, I saw him in the locker room,” Mays said. “I gave a him big hug and told him that I loved him and everything. But, you know, other than that, it’s just. ‘What’s up? How are you doing mentally and everything.’ So that’s really all it is. 

“We’re just human beings at the end of the day.”

That was proven on Saturday in an incredibly painful way.

- Advertisement -

Latest YouTube Videos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcast

- Advertisement -

More Podcasts

- Advertisement -