Derek Dooley gives a tour of UT's new football practice facility
The Vols' coach easily imagined the 145,000 square feet in another millennium.
"You could've built something this big in 1980," he said.
It's the technology that places it squarely in 2012. Or, in the case of the new team meeting room, July of 2012.
"We waited until right before we hung the (film) projector to decide on a projector because the technology changes so quickly,'' said Joe Harrington, the Vols' sports technology coordinator. "They just came out with this model and its the brightest of any media room that's in sports right now."
At virtually every stop along a media tour of the facility on Friday, better football was equated to the applied sciences. For example, director of strength & conditioning Ron McKeefery will utilize a camera system to record every lift. He also will be able to set and check the bar speed of lifts.
"We want to make sure that the science is driving our training," he said.
In McKeefery's world, the technology at his disposal will enable him to equate workouts even more closely to the actual football performance.
"You've heard the expression 'look like tarzan play like Jane;' we don't want that," he said. "We want to be able to take the training room and apply it to the football field."
In the nearby trainer's room, the facilities will enhance both diagnosing and treating injuries. Jason McVeigh, the director of sports medicine, said that players will be able to watch themselves on TV monitors as they rehab on underwater treadmills in the hydrotherapy room, correcting imbalances in their stride.
"This facility is great for the coaches and great for the mamas,'' Dooley said. "It's great for the coaches because we make sure our guys are (back) on the field. And for the mamas, there's nothing more important than the health and safety of their child. We've spared no expense."
In Harrington's world, all of the meeting rooms are wired together. They're even connected directly to his phone. He joked that such a feature ought to afford him more mobility.
"I overheard coach talking last week about getting me one of those ankle bracelets that (actress) Lindsay Lohan wears,'' Harrington said. "Hopefully, the technology will buy my way out of that for a little while anyway."
Dooley is hoping that the new meeting rooms will enable players to better absorb instruction. Every meeting will be saved to a server for further review on a computer.
"I sit in the meetings,'' Dooley said. "Our coaches are up there thinking they're giving the greatest dissertation on cover-2 that any coach could. And I'm looking around and going 'about one out of eight are getting this' because of how they're mind works."
The technology will upgrade the learning process, taking it out of 1980 and placing it in the present.
"The technology is the difference maker now,'' Dooley said, "and using that technology to help them train better, help them perform better, help them learn better, help them recover better physically.
"Every single thing in their lives can be enhanced by technology if you invest in it and you commit to it."