Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer wasn’t shy this week when discussing the Vols current state of performance.
“There’s a lot of frustration by a lot of people,” Fulmer said after the team’s practice Sunday night inside the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. “Our frustration as coaches right now is just finding that consistency we know is there. We see it in practice enough, but (in games) we are not making plays and that ends up costing us opportunities or even ballgames.
“Especially offensively the inconsistency we have had, it’s not one particular person or position or anything like that. It’s one here and one there enough that we’ve not been — and this is an understatement — very efficient.”
The Vols have a chance to turn things around during a stretch of three home games in their next four, beginning Saturday with a 7 p.m. kickoff against Mississippi State. VideoSeat is providing the pay-per-view telecast.
“We’re working at it,” Fulmer said. “We had good energy tonight. If we can bring that energy on Tuesday — that’s absolutely the only way I know to get where we need to be and that’s consistently practice well, take the practice into the game and play well.”
Berry racing into elite company
Tennessee safety Eric Berry has moved atop the SEC season leaderboard in interceptions and broken a nearly 40-year-old school record in the process.
The sophomore from Fairburn, Ga., picked off his conference leading fourth pass of the year and ninth of his young career late in the second quarter of Saturday’s 26-14 loss at Georgia. The ensuing 54-yard return upped his career interception return yardage total to 325, surpassing the previous Tennessee record of 305 and moving Berry into third on the SEC’s all-time interception return yardage list.
Berry’s 103 yards this season tie him with Vanderbilt’s Ryan Hamilton for league honors at the season’s midway point. His 325 career interception return yards eclipse former Vols Mike Jones (1967-69) and Tim Priest (1968-70), each of whom tallied 305 interception return yards during their UT careers. The only SEC players still ahead of Berry are Bobby Wilson (1946-49) of Ole Miss with 379 yards and Darryl Bishop (1971-73) of Kentucky with 376.
As a freshman, Berry finished with five interceptions for 222 return yards to break Tennessee’s season record of 177 set by Bobby Majors in 1970. Berry’s 2007 yardage total was second best in SEC history, trailing only the 244 by Florida’s Joe Brodsky in 1956.
The NCAA career record is 501 yards by Terrell Buckley (1989-91)?of Florida State.