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Tennessee C Cooper Mays is ready to lead Vols into summer workouts.

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There might be a few months until the start of football season, but there’s no real offseason for the Tennessee football team. With spring practice in the books, the team moves on to the next phase in their 2024 preparation – summer workouts. 

We asked current player and our resident expert in all things Vol football, center Cooper Mays, to explain the importance of these workouts and how they improve his overall game once the regular season begins. 

Not only does Mays think summer workouts are extremely beneficial, but he also actually enjoys them. “They’re probably my favorite part of the year, probably the biggest part of the year where you can make the most of your progress,” Mays said on this week’s Vol Report. “I mean, this is building your body up for the season. You know, these are the final touches and the meat of your training regimen probably right here.” 

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Obviously, not every player’s training is going to look the same. A skill position player, for example a WR, might spend most of their time running routes. A QB works on passing drills. But what about an offensive lineman like Mays? What do his workouts look like? 

“(It’s) more like getting out there and taking sets, you know, working your hands, getting one of your D linemen out there to come work through pass rush reps,” acknowledged Mays. “You got to get out there and work extra on the field. Obviously there’s a little bit of football stuff, but not much. It’s mostly just purely training. 

“So, the football coaches aren’t going to be around much, aren’t going to be doing much with you,” Mays continued. “There’s not much going on. So, it’s really up to you to just get out on the field and do stuff that is applicable to you and how you need to get better.” 

It’s clear this summer prep helps Mays lay out the groundwork for the weekly practices the late summer and fall.. 

“Because (during the season) everybody skips over it, walkthroughs and stuff, and those are the most important parts of your week,” Mays explained.  

“There’s been plenty of weeks where I go out there on Tuesday and Wednesday and just don’t have my best days and don’t win a lot of reps and just don’t really feel good about myself. But when Thursday and Friday come around, when you’re out there in shorts and t shirts walking through, just everything’s a little bit slowed down. You can kind of feel what it feels like to win, and then that’ll carry over into Saturday for sure.” 

But it’s not just running drills and lifting weights that are helping Mays get ready for next season. He’s recently gotten into another popular workout regimen – yoga. “I like yoga,” Mays said. “I try to take full advantage of anything that we got going on, but especially yoga. I’m a big fan. I don’t know, I’m not a science guy. I don’t know exactly what goes on, but if it makes me feel better, I’m 110%. And that’s kind of how I feel about anything.”

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