KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee officially introduced Rock Gullickson as it’s new strength and conditioning director on Tuesday.
The 39-year coach veteran comes to the Vols after 17 straight seasons in the NFL, including a long tenure with the Rams.
Gullickson is tasked with overhauling a program missing some critical direction after former coordinator Dave Lawson left last April.
He agreed to a two-year contract worth $375,000 annually.
Gullickson has a long-standing relationship with Vols coach Butch Jones dating back to 1990 at Rutgers.
What Rock Gullickson said about coming to Tennessee…
* “I’m really excited to be here. … This is a great opportunity for me. I wanted to be a part of it.”
* “I told Butch there’s two reasons I’m here. I want to help him achieve his goals. The University of Tennessee football’s goals and help these kids win a championship.”
* Asked how long it will take to implement his style and access Tennessee’s needs: “I have a good plan. I’m excited for what we’re gonna do. I told the freshmen this morning, ‘I’m just one man.’ Now, I’ve got the plan. I can provide the leadership. But they’ve got to help. They’ve got to be working with me on this. And together, I think we can accomplish a lot. As far as assessing the team, that’s an ongoing process. I don’t know many of the guys. I’ll start meeting more of the guys tonight. We’re gonna have position group meetings starting tomorrow, and we’ll just have kind of a skull-session with each group to determine where their goals lie and what their thought process is. It’s an ongoing process.”
* On NFL adjustment: “I have 22 years of college experience … I don’t have children but these are my guys. I’ve always had the belief that you raise these young men the way that you want them to be. I want them to be aggressive, confident and detailed.” … Wants to get to know the players.
* The difference between college and pro athletes: “The older player, they maybe have more developed reasoning skills.”
* On Tennessee’s facilities: “When I first saw the weight room, I first thought to myself I haven’t been in a gym like this in a while. This is nice. … We rearranged a few things to make it work more with my style, but our facilities are nice.”
* He was on staff at Rutgers when Jim Gurantano, redshirt freshman quarterback Jarret Guarantano’s father, played for the Scarlet Knights.
“I’m getting old. I’ve been around a while. Jimmy was great. Very personable. Lots of energy and enthusiasm. … I’ve met Jarrett and watched him train. I like what I see. I don’t feel that old. To think I’m coaching guys son’s that I previously worked with will be fun.”
* Gullickson recalled working with former Vols Chad Clifton, Scott Wells and Leonard Little.
“When I first got to St. Louis, Lenoard was there. It was toward the end of his career, but what a great guy as far as leadership, work ethic and positive energy. I’ve always been impressed by the guys that came from the University of Tennessee.”
* Gullickson said Wells “reached out” recently, offering any help.
* Asked what his philosophy and plan is … “I’m a free weight guy. I believe in planning progressions. … Gullickson said he’s “big on math. … Wants to program to be balanced and challenging.”
* He furthered added Tennessee will use chains, bands, etc. to constantly changeup routine. Wants guys “not knowing what is going to be expected of them other than the fact that they’re going to work hard enough to see a change in their body. Have trust that we’re going to take them from point-A and get them to point-B.”
* Rock’s father gave him the name Rock. Inspired from Rocky Marciano. Original name Rodger.
* Gullickson won’t miss the NFL cut-day. He was charged with taking the players to Rams coach Jeff Fisher.
* He touted his snapping skills. Said he’s snapped for 14 years, roughly “100-150 snaps per practice.” Notes his relationship with Brett Favre.
* Gullickson credited former Tennessee S&C coordinator Bruno Pauletto for teaching him the simple idea of “being yourself in the weight room.”
“Play to your strengths. Don’t do it just because someone else is doing it.”
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton