Meet Bennie Wylie

Strength and Conditioning Coach Bennie Wylie spoke with the media for the first time during football media days. Get to know the man, the myth, the legend who is Bennie Wylie.

If you can't seem to find Bennie Wylie on the football field in Knoxville just look for the only linebacker who is wearing a sweat suit instead of pads.

Wylie is known for his signature sweatpants, hooded sweatshirt and orange bucket hat attire, even with temperatures soaring into the triple digits.

"I am just an old country boy that threw hay and stuff," said Wylie. "It actually keeps you a little bit cooler when you sweat and the wind blows and it's a homemade air conditioner."

Wylie also said it is a great way to understand what his players are going through during practice. He might not have on pads, but his attire certainly helps simulate the heat.

"Also I like to go through as much as I can with the players," said Wylie. "It comes down to really making sure I know what our players need."

It has been noted the Wylie goes the extra mile to gain the players' trust starting with going through his own workouts - something Wylie said helps accelerate the bond between player and coach.

"It's an easier way to really form that bond," he said. "I don't tell every strength coach that they have to train with the team, but it's an easier way to really form that bond."

Wylie acknowledged the almost constant unsettled feeling in the Tennessee program during the last 18 months, especially with regards to the strength program.

"With what our players have gone through they need someone they can trust and someone they can count on and lean on," said Wylie. "For me I had to do whatever I needed to do to get our players on board and all moving in the same direction."

While players might be raving about Wylie's strength program, the coach said he needs a solid 18 months to fully implement the program before the results will be clear-cut.

"It goes back to the trust," he said. "They have to know, trust and see the results on the field. They need to go through this and see how much better they are on the field.

"They need to trust you and your program, then buy into it even more in year two. They have to really sink their teeth into this thing and know we are doing the best thing for them."

The Tennessee football players may think this past summer was the best workout of their lives, but their strength coach knows they have more to give.

"In their minds they worked as hard as they could," said Wylie. "If you are a parent you know what's best for your kids. You can kind of foresee and foreshadow a little bit.

"In their minds they think they have done all they could and I know they have more in the tank. I know they do. You have to continue to push and squeeze out those last reps, those last sprints, or whatever they think they couldn't do in year two."

With two identical injuries on the defensive line in one week, the first thing Head Coach Derek Dooley did was look inside to ensure the coaching staff didn't do anything to play into the injuries. Wylie said he has complete confidence in his program, and unfortunately it seems UT was victim to a freak set of injuries.

"I have one hundred percent confidence in what we do, but I love our team and our players, so my heart goes out to those guys," said Wylie. "Whoever it is and whatever injury, it could be a hang nail, that kind of bothers me. So it bothers me for those two guys, but I know what we do works.

"In my twelve years I hadn't seen two, I hadn't seen one actually, so to see two in a week was one of those freak things in our sport."

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