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Tennessee C Cooper Mays on Vols spring camp: “Rome wasn’t built in a day”

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With the second half of spring practice upon us, injuries will be a factor in “practice makes perfect.” That begs the question: who is spring practice supposed to benefit?

One player who knows a little about that is senior center Cooper Mays. On this week’s Vol Report, we asked Mays to give us his thoughts as to why practice is so important this early in the season… and what it can mean when you have to sit it out. 

Spring ball is obviously a great opportunity to see who and what you are working with – you have freshmen and transfers – players you have never seen before in orange. So far, Mays has had nothing but a positive experience. “I feel really good,” said Mays. “You know, our spring ball is really a time to grow and get better. So anytime you can do that, it’s a good time.” 

And it’s not just Tennessee’s offensive line that Mays is focusing on during practices. 

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“I feel like (the offense is) doing pretty well,” Mays observed. “You know, one thing that we’ve talked about is the D-line is really good this year and has been for a few years. So that’s given us a big opportunity to get better every day. So, we’re growing just as they are.” 

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But what about those few players sidelined this spring with an injury – someone like sophomore running back Cam Seldon, who will miss the remainder of spring ball after needing shoulder surgery – how might that affect his overall development? 

“I would say it kind of depends on more where you’re at in your career,” Mays noted. “You know, it’s different for each guy. But spring is a crucial time for development when you’re young. Because usually when you’re young, you don’t get a lot of time to play in the actual games. And you don’t get to actually practice… so spring is a good time for young guys to take a step forward and kind of figure out what the game is really like and have a chance to show kind of how they’ve improved and everything.” 

Mays is no stranger to injury, as we know, so what kind of advice would he give a young player who feels concern and disappointment in having to miss this important part of the football season? 

“It’s not your fault that you got hurt,” said Mays. “I mean, nobody probably really thinks it’s their fault, but a lot of people get super upset and tore up about being hurt. And it’s really just wasted energy. So, I would tell somebody just to, you know, calm down. Slow your roll, take your time, make sure you get healthy and get your body right before you come back. And then do what you need to do because… Rome. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

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