College football spring practice 2013: Kentucky football now with more science

USA Today Sports

Mark Stoops brings some new methods to UK, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron is feeling old nowadays and Texas wideout Mike Davis may be poised for a big season.

Another wave of schools will begin spring drills this week, including the Kentucky Wildcats. New head coach Mark Stoops is bringing a different approach to the rebuilding job at UK, and excitement within the fanbase is already high. Read about that and other spring notes below.


Things will work a bit differently in Lexington this year, and not just because the Wildcats have a new head coach. Stoops brought Erik Korem with him from Florida State; Korem will serve as the program's "high-performance coordinator." He will monitor players' physical conditions, their eating habits, the team's practice plans and much more.

Things like the pace and order of practice - what Korem calls periodized practice plans - are put in place to cut down on mental and physical fatigue. Parts of this plan were used in training camp at FSU, where Korem said they saw a "90 percent reduction in soft tissue injuries."

One of the key components Korem learned in Australia was athlete tracking technology, which is being used extensively on UK football players. A computer dashboard that can analyze performance is being developed for each player.

Korem and his staff are able to measure basic body functions as well as distance, acceleration (measured in three different ways), impact and velocity.

This is one area in which Kentucky may be at the forefront of college football, so it's something worth keeping an eye on in the years to come.


Some Longhorns have been playing well this spring, including wide receiver Mike Davis:

It was truly amazing to see the difference in David Ash's play between the first open practice without Davis and the second practice with him present. There's a rapport between the two to the extent that Davis is Ash's security blanket. He appears far removed from the issues that plagued him in 2011 and looks as if he's on the verge of being one of the true big-play receivers in the conference.

Davis led the Horns last year with 939 receiving and seven touchdown grabs.


Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron is feeling healthier heading into this season, but he also says he feels old. The reason: there are seven quarterbacks younger than him on the roster.

"I feel like I've been here 15 years," McCarron said. "Just got to get back into the motions and get back throwing."

Ole Miss

The Rebels made headlines with an outstanding 2013 recruiting class, and now the focus shifts to spring position battles and other roster issues. Red Cup Rebellion has a comprehensive breakdown of the questions that face Ole Miss this spring.


There was some unfortunate news out of Sooners camp last week, as Bob Stoops announced that guard Tyler Evans tore the ACL in his right knee. Evans missed all of 2012 with the same injury and had hoped to return to the starting lineup after being the primary starter at right guard for OU in 2010 and 2011. Now his college career may be over.

Arizona State

The Sun Devils open up practice on Tuesday, and House of Sparky will be monitoring closely the development of several players, including quarterback Taylor Kelly, who had a breakout 2012 season, throwing for 3,040 yards and running for 520 more.


The Boilermakers also begin practice Tuesday, and the big question lies at the quarterback position: who will step up and replace Robert Marve?

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