Vols' Cooper Mays a solid center for offensive attack

Tennessee Athletics photo / Tennessee center Cooper Mays (63) turns his attention to Alabama defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe during last season's game in Tuscaloosa.

Tennessee second-year offensive line coach Glen Elarbee has a lengthy list of characteristics when it comes to being a good center, with two qualities immediately jumping to the forefront.

"Intelligence has to be up there, because you're making decisions so fast," Elarbee said this past week in a news conference. "You're the coach out on the field. You have to change things on third down to get us right, and there is so much involved with that.

"You also have to be the toughest son of a gun out on the field."

Cooper Mays appears to be possessing those traits for the Volunteers and then some.

The 6-foot-3, 296-pound junior from Knoxville Catholic started twice as a freshman and eight times last season, when an ankle injury prevented him from going wire to wire in Tennessee's run to the Music City Bowl.