Dooley's injury plan

Posted Mar 22, 2010

New Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley leaves nothing to chance. Every aspect of the game is broken down into headings and sub-headings, including injuries to his players.

Every coach has a plan for managing injuries, but it's unlikely that many of them have a system as meticulously detailed as Dooley's - a system he explains eagerly and articulately.

"I think it starts with having a philosophy for injured players," he said. "We have four objectives:

"First is rehabilitation; we want to get 'em back.

"Secondly, there's got to be a conditioning component because when they come back they need to be in good physical condition."

Those first two points are obvious, of course. The next two points are a little less clearcut.

"The third thing is, there needs to be some kind of positional development that they can do," Dooley said. "If they're limited in the arm, they can use their legs. If they're limited in the knee, then they can do some things with their hands.

"The fourth thing is getting good mental reps."

Injuries are a major concern for the new coach. Shortly after taking the Tennessee reins on Jan. 15, Dooley realized he inherited a team that had limped to the finish line at the conclusion of the 2009 season.

Noting that Tennessee had an "unbelievable" number of players "banged up at the end of the year," the new coach added that offseason workouts were "as much a MASH unit as they have been conditioning."

Nearly three months after the season ended, Tennessee still has an abundance of players in various stages of rehabilitation. Being the Type-A personality that he is, Dooley is closely monitoring all of the recoveries.

"We have a plan for all of our injured players," he said. "It all depends on what the extent of their injury is."

Asked about the glut of knee braces UT players are wearing this spring, Dooley noted: "There weren't any new injuries that happened since the season. Everything is post-season rehabilitation. Most of the knee braces are preventive."

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