Feb. 9, 2009
At regular season's end, Eric Berry was tied for the national lead in interceptions with seven and had set school and SEC records for interception return yards in season (265) and in a career (487). He finished third on the team with 72 tackles and posted 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks as well.
Berry twice earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors; first after breaking the SEC career interception return yardage record vs. Mississippi State and again after breaking the SEC single-season record at Vanderbilt. Through his first two seasons on Rocky Top, Berry posted 158 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 12 interceptions, which rank ninth on UT's all-time career list.
Utsports.com sat down with Berry to get his thoughts on the new staff, football and life.
Question: What has the team's response been to Coach Kiffin ruffling some feathers in the SEC?
Berry: It's great to have a coach with so much confidence in us. Our team has been working harder than ever because he's making us feel we can compete with anyone. He has raised the bar on and off the field.
Question: How do you feel about all of the support you received this season and all of the national awards?
Berry: The support has been great. I really enjoy it. I'm hoping to build on what we started this season.
Question: Are you excited about the season with the new coaching staff?
Berry: Yes. I'm also a little anxious to see how it's going to be with the different styles and ideas in practice.
Question: You were a consensus All-America last year. What are your goals for this season?
Berry: To go back to the SEC Championship game and put Tennessee where it's suppose to be. I'm also working to be a more vocal leader.
Question: What is your role on this team?
Berry: I see myself as a motivator.
Question: What advice would you give to the incoming freshmen?
Berry: Come in shape, be like a sponge and be ready to work.
Question: What is your favorite thing about the University of Tennessee - besides football?
Berry: The people in general are really friendly. I love the southern hospitality.
Question: What do you enjoy doing outside of football?
Berry: I love to pull pranks on people. I also enjoy playing Grand Theft Auto and hanging with my roommates - they're like my brothers.
Question: If you could say anything to the Tennessee fans, what would it be?
Berry: Thanks for your support, continue to support us and I look forward to seeing everyone this fall.