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Garner looking for continued improvement and winning mentality from defensive front

Tennessee defensive line coach Rodney Garner met with the media after a hot and humid morning practice as Haslam Field on Monday to talk about the progression of the Vols’ deep defensive line group.
Tennessee football
Tennessee football(Tennessee Athletic Communications)
Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee defensive line coach Rodney Garner met with the media after a hot and humid morning practice as Haslam Field on Monday to talk about the progression of the Vols’ deep defensive line group.

UT’s defensive front proved to be one of the strongest units in Thursday’s scrimmage, drawing praise from head coach Josh Heupel afterwards.

“I thought the defensive side of the football was extremely physical and changed and disrupted the offensive front, played on the other side of the line of scrimmage,” Heupel said after Thursday’s scrimmage at Neyland Stadium.

Despite the impressive showing on Thursday, Garner was quick to point out that his group still has plenty to improve on before the season opener in less than three weeks.

“There’s room for improvement all across the board, including coaching. We’ve all got to hold ourselves to a higher standard and understand what that standard is, just understand that there are no shortcuts to success,” Garner said. “It’s going to happen through adversity and how you handle adversity when you put yourself in adverse situations.

“Are you going to find a way to fight and win, or are you going to find a way to lose? That’s what we’ve got to change, that mentality. Where we’re going to find a way to win when the game is on the line.”

The Big Orange will get back to work on Sunday and Monday at Haslam Field before holding another closed scrimmage on Tuesday.

Tennessee opens the 100th year of Neyland Stadium, Shield-Watkins Field on Sept. 2 against Bowling Green at 8 p.m. ET on SEC Network. Tickets are on sale now at AllVols.com.

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