When the Vol defense takes the field on Saturday there will be a new face in the starting lineup opposite Jonathan Hefney. Eric Berry has been given the spot due to his impressive play in a losing effort last week against Cal. This comes as a surprise to very few that keep up with recruiting as Eric Berry had his pick of schools last year. He was third overall in the nation regardless of position and the #1 rated corner back.
So why is the Nation's #1 corner back playing strong safety? Berry practiced primarily at corner the entire preseason, but saw some time at safety toward the end. He played some corner in the Cal game in the first half but recently has said that he felt out of place due to the position being fairly new to him. (Berry played quarterback and safety in high school.)
He replaced Jarrod Parrish for the second half of the Cal game and in all, racked up 3 solo tackes and 4 assisted tackles and was the Vols 3rd leading tackler.
Fulmer said that after watching the film, Berry played as well as, if not better, than anyone in the secondary on Saturday.
- Saturday’s game marked just the third time in 55 games that the Vols had scored 30 or more points with David Cutcliffe as their offensive coordinator and lost.
- Erik Ainge has thrown 203 passes with only one interception after hurling 47 balls in the California game. That one interception was thrown against Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
- Chris Brown is the first Tennessee tight end since Austin Denny in a 28-0 victory over Auburn on September 24, 1966 to record two touchdown receptions in a single game.
“I want to be a go-to guy,” said Brown, “somebody that can make the big catch and be an example on the field.”
- Defensive tackle Dan Williams was very nearly moved to the offensive line by head coach Phillip Fulmer. “I was going to move him,” said Fulmer. “He was moving. He was not where he needed to be with his weight and not committed and dedicated to getting his weight closer to where it needed to be [to play defensive tackle],” said Fulmer. After losing fifty pounds, and having a career day against Cal, Williams will get the chance of a lifetime when he lines up with the starters on Saturday.
- According to Chris Low, Ben Martin should be ready to play when the Vols face off against Florida in the Swamp. Martin was injured during fall practice in what appeared to be a significant knee injury, but later was shown to be a deep bone bruise. Martin is a highly recruited 5 star defensive end out of Ohio that should give the Vols a speed-threat on the line.
- It is sounding more and more like Memphis linebacker Chris Walker will be moved to defensive end for depth. Fulmer had this to say: "Chris Walker has done exceptionally well. He's really taken to the defensive end position. He could play linebacker, but we just have such a need for a young, speed-rush defensive end."
- If anyone was wondering why we didn't see more of Gerald Jones against Cal, he has been battling hamstring issues that prevented him from practicing prior to the game. Jones had earned a solid spot in the rotation before he got hurt.
"It really is not the hamstring right now -- it's the work that he missed while he wasn't at practice, being a young guy," Coach Fulmer said. "But he's catching up fast. He's smart, and I think he will play and help us on Saturday. All the (young) receivers have been in the mix, pretty much."
All said, Tennessee missed 22 tackles in its 45-31 loss to California on Saturday.