"Mentally, I've learned a lot, I understand the defense a lot better than I did. I understand exactly what I need to do in certain situations. Last year, I didn't understand why I was somewhere, I just knew I had to be there. Now, I know why."
Garvin appreciates the discipline within the WVU defensive scheme, where players are constantly reminded by coordinator Jeff Casteel not to try and be a "high school hero" by going outside the concept of taking and playing gaps.
He also doesn't have any issues with the fact that even though he was the top tackler on the major college team ranked third in total defense last season, the postseason accolades went to others.
"I just want to be around the ball and make plays," Garvin said. "Our defense is a real disciplined defense. You really can't try to do too much or you really mess the whole thing up. You can't try to do too much.
"I'm not worried about what people think of me outside (the WVU program). I'm worried about what the coaches and players think of me. As long as I make plays and do my job, that's the main thing."
Garvin seems to appreciate his role as one of the defensive veterans now, but also misses the older teammates who helped him feel his way into a starting role and success last season.
"It's a lot different," said Garvin, also a key special teams player for the Mountaineers. "You learn so much during the spring and the summer. I'm just trying to do the same thing as last year, and I try to help the guys who don't have much experience, the way those guys helped me last year.
"You try to be perfect in what you are doing, and you try to pass that down to the younger guys."
Garvin said the defense isn't different, although the personnel has changed significantly. He and Tandy, an All-Big East cornerback, are the back-line leaders now.
"Tandy is going to do Tandy, and I'm going to try to do me," Garvin said. "Darwin Cook is new (at boundary safety) and really good. He's fast. Eain (Smith, free safety), back there, he's really good. He's been around for five years. He knows the defense, and he gets his chance. (Cornerback) Pat Miller has stepped up, and he's going to get a chance.
"It's just different people. We're younger and we've got a different identity for ourselves. Last year, everybody kind of knew who Rob was, Hogan was. We've got to make a name for ourselves."
Contact Sports Editor Jack Bogaczyk at ja...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949.