Vols defensive line coach Rodney Garner explains his intense coaching style: ‘Don’t take the pitch, get the message’

Tennessee defensive line coach Rodney Garner has more than three decades of experience as an SEC coach, working with some of the most decorated passing throwers and stoppers college football has seen from his time in the league.

Incredibly, since entering the coaching profession in 1990, he has spent every season of his coaching career in the SEC with two stops at Auburn, eight years at Georgia, and is now in his second stint with the Flights.

His drafted list is a literal who’s who of decorated defensive lineman, including Marcus Stroud, Richard Seymour, David Pollack, Charles Grant and Dee Ford, to name a few.

Knowing all of this, few would have the stones to question his approach, but a member of the media recently appeared to question his intense and aggressive approach, and he offered the following.

“I try to say [players], which I can probably be a bit aggressive. I can be a little rough. I may not say it in the nicest way.”

“But I try to tell them, don’t take the tone, get the message. This aggression…it’s just me wanting to win. It’s just me wanting you to be better.”

Garner goes on to share that 99% of his guys love him after their playing days are over, and happily bring their wives and kids to hang out with him, and he treats them like his own grandkids.

“Right now, in that moment, maybe they don’t like me, and it’s kind of like being a parent. Because your kids don’t always like you when you’re raising them. But when they grow up, they love you and appreciate everything you’ve done for them.

“That’s what we’re hoping for, the same sort of thing happens.”

“I want the best for them. I want them to be the best version of themselves, so that we can be the best version of the Tennessee defensive line, and so we can be the best version of the Tennessee football team.”