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UT Is Packing Up To Spend A Week Of Training Camp Off Campus

The University of Tennessee athletic department has had its share of bungles in recent years.  Mistakes, missteps, mismanagment… name a plague and the Volunteers have managed to find a way to contract it.

But here’s a move by the school that actually looks pretty darn smart.  With a new football complex still under construction on the school’s Knoxville campus, Derek Dooley will take his team to Milligan College in Elizabethton, Tennessee for an NFL-style, away-from-home week of preseason work.

Athletic director Dave Hart’s explanation of the move makes it sound quite wise:


“The decision to train off-campus this year is not only driven by the factor of our move into our new Football Training Center, but also by the opportunity to maximize the ability of our coaching staff to become further acclimated to one another and the team in a very controlled environment.  I support Derek’s decision and feel strongly that we need to make this investment in our football program as we prepare to open our season in Atlanta (against North Carolina State on Aug. 31).

This is a one-time situation, and there are no plans to train off-site at any time in the future.”


Dooley’s team suffered from serious chemistry issues and a lack of leadership in 2012.  On top of cleaning up that mess, he’s having to break in seven new assistants out of a possible nine.  A little bonding session away from the comforts of home might do the coaches and the players some good.

As for why more schools don’t do this type of thing and why Tennessee doesn’t plan to do it in the future — money.  It won’t be cheap to house and feed an entire football team for a full week away from campus.

Still, facing the challenge he’s up against in 2012, Dooley seems to have made a good call on this one… even if it was in part forced by construction work on UT’s campus.

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