Tennessee Team News

It’s about time: Tennessee hires a strength and conditioning director

COURTESY TENNESSEE ATHLETICS
COURTESY TENNESSEE ATHLETICS

Butch Jones addressed a problem he caused a long time ago. Tennessee officially announced Tuesday that it has hired a person to fill a position that has been vacant for an embarrassingly long time.

Rock Gullickson was named the director of strength and conditioning for the Vols, which essentially means he’ll oversee the training of UT’s football team. It’s about time: The Vols took nine months to fill the position.

In case you didn’t notice, that time span included a disappointing football season in which the Vols didn’t have a lone leader when it came to strength and conditioning. Tennessee coach Butch Jones parted ways with former strength and conditioning coach Dave Lawson last April.

This wasn’t the equivalent of a bad play call or an untimely timeout; this was “Coaching 101.” A solid strength and conditioning coach is a must and the Vols didn’t have it. 247Sports cited unnamed sources that confirmed what everyone believed: UT’s strength and conditioning program wasn’t up to snuff.

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It didn’t take unnamed sources to prove that the Vols had several physical problems this season. Injuries were a factor throughout the season. The Vols also seemed tired coming down the stretch. Coincidence? Doubtful. Casual fans don’t realize how important a great strength and conditioning staff can be. Jones should have.

So can Gullickson, who has been a strength and conditioning coach for 39 years, remedy the situation? That’s hard to say. First, it’s hard to imagine a top strength and conditioning coach coming to Tennessee with a coach on the hot seat, as Jones is after this season. Second, Gullickson seems like an easy hire since he needed a job after the Los Angeles Rams cleaned house.

Nevertheless, the Vols finally have a director of strength and conditioning. At least one major problem has been addressed.

(You can follow Dave Hooker on Twitter @TheDaveHooker)

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