One area of improvement at the University of Tennessee appears to be in the play of the Volunteer's secondary.
Veteran secondary coach Willie Mack Garza has taken over coaching the Vols defensive backs, the first year coach was pleased with the play of his guys after an opening day win against Western Kentucky.
"There is always room for improvement," Garza said Monday. "I was overall pleased with their performance. We had some little mistakes on run fits, but overall I thought they played well as a unit."
This year secondary appears more aggressive and seems to like attacking the football; they also have a lot of young talent in the defensive backfield.
"I thought our young guys did really well," Garza noted. "Janzen Jackson and Darren Myles both saw a lot of playing time and they had a few rookie mistakes here and there but overall they performed well for us. Both have so much talent and ability, they just need to keep working hard to improve each and every day."
Garza was pleased with how his secondary performed on third down, giving the offense the ball back so they could score some points.
"Their passing attack was pretty simple," Garza said. "We did a good job on third down, getting their offense off the field and getting our guys back out there."
Garza joins a defensive staff that is headed up by defensive guru Monte Kiffin, who is known for his Tampa 2 defensive scheme. Garza and Kiffin are joined on the defensive side of the ball by defensive line expert Ed Orgeron and veteran linebacker coach Lance Thompson.
Garza attributes some of the secondary's success as a complete team effort.
"I would put up our defensive ends with the best in the country," Garza said. "Coach O is the sack master. You don't have to cover them very long with the way our defensive line gets after the quarterback."
Garza was also excited that a lot of players saw action in Saturday's impressive 63-7 win over Western Kentucky.
"Any game experience is good experience," Garza said. "This game was a good game one, a good stepping stone for us to learn and grow from. We need to get better every week, last week I feel we got better as the game progressed. Now we just have to keep doing that everyday in practice and take it to the game field against UCLA Saturday."