Culture is key with new coach at Grainger

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) —The Grainger Grizzlies are coming off a 6-5 season with a first-round playoff appearance in 2020.

This is a season of change for the Grizzlies. A new head coach in Mike Manis and the loss of 18 seniors due to graduation means a lot of new faces will have to step up in 2021.

Senior wide receiver Landon Patterson looks to be one of the leaders on the team. Manis expects Patterson to line up at quarterback at times in a wildcat formation.

While Manis plans to keep the Grainger ground-and-pound style of offense, you can expect to see more passing this season. Dillon Fowler and Brody Wells will share the duties under center.

Manis says he’d like to see the Grizzlies back in the playoffs in his first season, but most importantly, he wants to continue building a winning culture.

“We play iron man football. A lot of guys play both ways so we’re going to have to be physical. We’re going to have to be in shape, and we want to be tough,” Manis said. “Those are the first things up front, but we’re going to hit some adversity at times with everything being kind of new and we’re just going to have to manage those waves as we go. Just ride it out and wait for good things to happen, and it will as long as we stay with what we’re supposed to do.”

The Grizzlies open the season on Friday, Aug. 20, when they play host to Cumberland Gap. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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