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Tennessee Football: C Cooper Mays Preparing for Bowl Game, ‘Super Stout’ Iowa Defense

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Tennessee football center Cooper Mays is practicing with the Vols as they prepare for the Citrus Bowl.

It seems like a good sign that the offensive lineman may return, but he has yet to make a concrete decision nor set a timeline. Whether he is returning for the 2024 season or not, Mays is preparing to suit up and face Iowa in the bowl game.

“I don’t really know Orlando geography very well, but I know there’s some roller coasters pretty close to it,” Mays said on The Vol Report. “I know there’s a lot of good stuff going on. So I’m excited about it. It’s a great opportunity for us. I don’t really get caught up much in the hoopla and everything, but I’m excited about it. Anytime we get a chance to go play football, it’s going to be a good time.”

Mays and the Vols’ offense will have their work cut out for them against the Iowa defense, which has carried it for much of the season. That defense has held opponents to an average of 13 points per game this season. They have also only given up 275 yards per game.

The Iowa offense has been one of the worst, if not the worst in the country, making the battle in the Citrus Bowl Tennessee’s offense vs. Iowa’s defense.

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“I watched them in the game against Michigan, in the championship game — super stout defense,” Mays said. “And that’s their M.O., that’s their thing is they play strong defense and hit hard, play physical and play super hard and disciplined. It’s going to be a dogfight, and we have to come out on the right side of it for sure.”

Tennessee will have the luxury of taking more time off than Iowa going into the bowl game. While the Hawkeyes played in a conference championship game, the Vols got some much-needed rest.

It was easy to get back up for practice as lifts and other workouts kept the Vols busy and active during the break. Mays does admit he feels young again after the rest, but Tennessee is back into full practice mode before heading to Orlando to wrap up the calendar year.

“At the end of the day, we’re just focusing on accomplishing our goals — And that’s to win the game and and prepare the right way to win the game,” Mays said. “… We’re just out here playing football. There’s not a lot of pressure on us right now. There’s school ending. So there’s not much to worry about other than going out there and having good days. So we’re just trying to have good days and stack them.”

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