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Kentucky Football: Erik Korem's High Performance Training Getting National Notice

Kentucky high-performance coach Erik Korem was among the first innovators of modern data-driven practices while at Florida State.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

When Mark Stoops came to Kentucky, we placed a lot of focus on the assistants he hired, and rightly so. Erik Korem was hired away from Florida State along with Mark Stoops and others, and placed in the position of "High-Performance Coach." Korem got some local attention last year for his high-tech efforts, and now the program he helped pioneer at Florida State is getting national attention. Consider:

Two years ago, [Florida St. head coach Jimbo] Fisher was troubled by an obvious gap between [wide receiver Rashad] Greene's routinely impressive practice performances and the receiver's inconsistent numbers on game days. He wanted answers, so he pressed his conditioning staff. It turned out the problem wasn't with Greene. It was with the practices. Greene was Florida State's most refined receiver, so when Fisher would grow agitated with poor routes or dropped balls by other players, he would ask Greene to illustrate the proper form. Again and again, Greene would run a route or catch a pass, and his workload mounted. The GPS device offered clear-cut data that showed Greene was simply doing too much.

Fisher responded by lightening Greene's reps on Wednesdays and Thursdays to ensure a productive Saturday. "My legs were with me in every game last year," said Greene, who set career highs with 76 catches, 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013.

This is the kind of data you can't get without the high-tech gear, and its the kind of data Kentucky is using now. FSU has been using it for much longer, so UK won't be as skilled yet. However the success of the system at Florida State, who also happens to be the BCS Champion, combined with the fact that we have one of the founders of the use of this technology on Kentucky's staff bodes well for the future.

This technology can not only optimize workout effort, but also identify players who are overworking themselves and lower the likelihood of injury. To me, that is the biggest benefit of all this, because Kentucky rarely has the margin in our depth chart to sustain many injuries.

I don't expect Kentucky to compete for the College Football Playoff anytime soon, but every edge the Wildcats can gain, however marginal, is something I'll take. We've already seen Erik Korem's programs begin to pay off, and even if it only reduces the number of injuries Kentucky receives by 10%, that would be a huge positive change.