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“They got in here and played some real football,” Tennessee C Cooper Mays on spring practice

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With spring camp over for the 2024 season, the Tennessee football team looks towards the next phase of preparation – summer workouts. Before we turn our attention to summer, we asked center Cooper Mays to recap spring practice, focusing on those new additions to the team. 

First things first – how did the team gel? Were they able to accomplish what they set out to do? Mays was extremely pleased. 

“I was really happy with our progress that we made, but more just the energy about the team that we had,” Mays recalled. “And you know, everybody’s usually excited and fired up for the first few days. But I feel like we kind of sustained the whole spring, which was really nice to see.” 

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This isn’t Mays first spring, so he knows how difficult it is to keep up that energy – especially when there’s no foe you are preparing to face. “I mean, people need to understand,” said Mays. “Some people think, oh, it’s just football. You’re out there having a good time, but really you’re working and there’s no opponent that’s coming up on Saturday to get excited for. So, it’s a different mentality.” 

What about the freshmen, the young guys that have never participated in spring camp. Was there anyone that caught Mays’ eye? “I’m a center,” Mays began. “So, the first group I’ll point out was the (young) O-linemen that came in here. They did a really good job, better than probably anybody could have asked for.”

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“They got in here and played some real football,” Mays continued. “I don’t know much about all the other stuff like quarterback skill positions, but I feel like that stuff’s a little bit more transferable based off of your athleticism. But at O-line it doesn’t matter how strong or athletic you are, if you don’t have the right technique and don’t know what you’re doing fully, then it’s not going to look good. And they had some really good days where they kind of strung some stuff together. And it was really cool to see.” 

How excited should fans be about the incoming freshmen and what they can bring to the team? Mays thinks they’ll be very pleased. “I mean, it’s a big thing for sure,” Mays said of the youngsters. “(They) should have a lot of happiness in the fan base.”

“I don’t really know how to put it, but it’s really good to have young guys at any position, kind of have a collective, you know, a collective group of guys that are all doing good because usually they’re spotty guys. There’s one guy here, one guy there. But to have a good collective group is really impressive.”

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