When Mark Stoops was hired, many questions floated around staff retentions. With the departure of fan-favorite Rock Oliver, many wondered who would fill his position labeled as ‘high-performance coordinator’. Erik Korem was FSU’s director of football operations and sports science manager before following Stoops to UK. The next question is, “what is a high-performance coordinator?” At first glance, I thought it was simply a fancy word for strength coach. He may do a few things differently, but how much different could this new system be? My mind quickly changed after spending a Sunday night eating dinner at Blazer dining hall, when I noticed a football player being followed around by a woman while choosing his food. You know ish is getting real when they have people that are specifically assigned to make sure the players are eating the right way.
Since they can not always have people in their ear, some of the players are now hooked into a GPS that is monitored by Korem.
Excited today @erikkorem putting the GPS systems on some of the guys today! Cutting Edge High Performance! Only at Kentucky!
– Mark Stoops (@UKCoachStoops) March 22, 2013
Coach Stoops doesn’t have GPS details ready for the public just yet, but you cannot deny the innovative processes that Korem is instilling at Kentucky. Other sports have tried using his techniques, but never in the sport of football at such a high level. Korem told the Herald-Leader’s Jen Smith, “There are quite a few NFL teams that are wanting to come down and take a look at what we’re doing. So we here at Kentucky are at the very front and people are going to want to follow us. And it’s not just me; it’s our group. We’re going to be on the leading edge.”
What’s more encouraging is the immediate impact that is already being felt by the players. Max Smith has had nearly 6 months to recover from last year’s injury, but since this injury thing is starting to turn into a habit for him (remember when we didn’t have a QB against UT two years ago?) he is working closely with Korem to help build durability. “I’ve been working really hard with Coach Korem. I come in every morning by 6:00 am and do a workout of some kind, along with something after practice too. I’ve put on about 8-10 pounds. He wants me to get to a certain point where I’m a lot more firm and muscular, hoping that will help me from getting injured; I can’t have that happen anymore.”
The coaches focal point of this Spring has been about pushing tempo and getting the ‘little things’ right. Coach Korem’s program is the first step in the right direction towards the coaches’ goals, while turning these players into elite SEC athletes. Who knows, maybe 20 years from now ESPN will have a “30 for 30” about UK’s innovative high performance program.
ICYMI, take a look at Coach Korem’s work with the team during the offseason.
– P.S. Give a brotha a follow! @RoushKSR