A recurring theme of the Tennessee Vols football team over the last several seasons has been the abundance of injuries the program has suffered.
Every team, in every sport, deals with injuries to an extent.
Some years the injury bug bites certain teams worse than others. But when it’s the same thing year after year, there’s probably an underlying issue.
In the case of the Vols, who lead the nation in starters missing games over the last two years, the rash of injuries could be because of how Tennessee’s been practicing.
Now it’s unclear exactly how physical, or damaging, the Vols’ practices were under Butch Jones. The media was only allowed to see certain portions of practices, which usually included individual drills and stretching periods.
But it sounds like Jones and his staff weren’t being very smart and taking precautionary measures with players. At least judging by Jeremy Pruitt’s tone.
Pruitt said he doesn’t like to have players hit the ground during practice
because that could lead to injury, but he said you can have physical practices
doing it that way. UT has led the nation in games missed by starters the last 2 years combined.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) March 9, 2018
I’m guessing Jones was letting players hit the ground during the portions of practice the media was unable to see.
There’s a fine line between having physical practices and being careless with players. If you’re getting beat up during the week, it’s going to be hard to give it your all on Saturday’s.
It sounds like Pruitt is dedicated to making sure the Vols practice tough, without putting their bodies in danger.
Injuries during practice are obviously going to happen. Non-contact injuries can occur at any time and we see random injuries happen at all levels of football (fans typically hold their breath during NFL training camps).
But you can’t be foolish with your players’ well-being.
Pruitt is taking the right approach. And it’s a good thing, because the Vols already won’t be very deep in 2018.
There’s no way they can afford to lose players because they weren’t smart at practice.
Featured image via UT Sports