New strength coach Dave Lawson will set tempo, temperament for Vols in 2013

dave-lawson-mug.jpegKNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Butch Jones has warned his players not to get too fat or comfortable over Christmas break.

“When we get back, it’s full steam ahead,” Jones said Monday night on the Vol Calls radio show.

New football strength coach Dave Lawson will be presiding over the weight room when they return, charged with fulfilling Jones’ goal of becoming psychologically and physically tough.

“He’s probably the most important individual on the staff,” Jones said. “He sets the temperament for the team. We talk about mental conditioning for success. That’s all born in the weight room.”

Lawson has been with Jones for all six of his years as head coach.

“When I became head coach at Central Michigan, I interviewed 10 strength coaches and it took me until No. 11, which was Dave Lawson, to know I had found what I was looking for,” Jones said on “The Nation” radio show Sunday night. “He’s a person who’s extremely loyal and believes in our program.”

Jones said he had determined that players spend 86 percent of their time with the strength coaches (versus their on-field coaches). I couldn’t find a link for that, so we’ll just have to take his word for it.

How will a Lawson-coached team look after all that time?

“We train in the weight room the same we play,” Jones said. “We want to play fast and with a physical style of play.”

Lawson replaces Ron McKeefery, who was with former coach Derek Dooley for one season.

Lawson’s experience
» 2012-present: Tennessee, director of strength and conditioning
» 2010-12: Cincinnati, asst. AD, director of sports performance and football strength and conditioning
» 2007-09: Central Michigan, director of strength and conditioning
» 2002-06: Eastern Michigan, head strength and conditioning coach
» 1995-02: West Virginia, asst. strength and conditioning coach
» 1994-95: West Virginia, GA, strength and conditioning
» 1992-94: West Virginia Tech, student assistant

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