Tennessee football center Cooper Mays has taken a leadership role during his injury. He was a leader on the field before, but now that is amplified as the veteran is unable to play.
He wants to play, though.
“Yeah, it sucks, it definitely sucks,” Mays said on The VolReport. “You just want to be out there with your guys and, I’ve said that before, you just want to be out there with your guys and when you can’t, it sucks.”
Naturally, as a center, the leadership piece has been a big part for Mays. He sits on the leadership council for the Vols, and is looked up to by many.
“I mean, you can always be a leader, like we’ve talked about it before,” Mays said. “You can always, like I say, you got to get in where you fit in. But at the end of the day, it’s hard to make as much of an impact, if that makes sense. You can’t feel like you’re not making the full impact you want to be.”
Mays feels like he can’t make as a big of an impact from the sideline. Many could feel Mays’ veteran absence on Saturday. The Swamp forced five false start penalties.
Even worse for Tennessee, three of those five penalties came on first downs. Josh Heupel burned two of his three timeouts on the first drive of the second half after dealing with communication issues.
It’s up to Mays and the rest of Tennessee’s leadership council to get the Vols back on the right track.
“All those guys that you’ve seen that have been captains, I mean, just the core group of guys, the old guys that have played football for for a while,” Mays said. “We’ve got a good group of guys. I mean, you can name off a bunch of guys and right here that will say something. You just got to get better, you know? It’s not like there needs to be some ultimatum and that here needs to be a whole revamp or anything nobody needs. It’s not like there’s a dumpster fire going on, you know.”
No dumpster fire, but clear things for the Vols to work on as they head into the rest of the SEC slate. The goals that Tennessee holds are still in front of them with a lot of opportunities to gain national respect.
It will get fixed, and the Vols will be better moving forward, Mays assured.
“I’d just say that we’re going to get everything fixed that we can fix,” Mays said. “You know, like I said earlier, there’s going to be stuff that we can fix. And you just got to put your nose down on the grindstone and get stuff figured out and figure out what needs to be figured out.”