Defensive notebook

Just about the only thing Tennessee's defense has done this fall to remind fans of Eric Berry is to remind them that he's gone.

Something happened Saturday night at Liberty Bowl Stadium, however, that rekindled memories of the Vols' two-time All-America safety: Big Orange defenders registered some long returns off of turnovers.

Berry returned 14 career interceptions a total of 494 yards, an average of 35.3 yards per runback. He also returned four fumbles for 103 yards, an average of 25.8 per runback.

Showing a touch of Berry in Saturday night's 50-14 pasting of Memphis were defensive tackle Malik Jackson (44-yard interception return), safety Janzen Jackson (35-yard interception return) and cornerback Prentiss Waggner (37-yard fumble return).

For what it's worth: Berry would've scored on Malik Jackson's and Prentiss Waggner's returns.


One year after recording a team-high six sacks for the 2009 Vols, senior defensive end Chris Walker played the first eight games of 2010 without registering a single sack.

No. 84 ended the drought upon returning to his native Memphis , however. Walker recorded his first two sacks of this season against the hometown Tigers.


Redshirt freshman cornerback Eric Gordon recorded his first interception as a Vol. Junior defensive tackle Malik Jackson accomplished the same feat. Jackson also registered 2 sacks, giving him a team-best 3 for the season. He had 5.5 in two years at Southern Cal before transferring to Tennessee during the offseason. Freshman defensive end Jacques Smith recorded his first collegiate sack vs. Memphis.


Tennessee's defense wasn't very opportunistic in Games 1-8, recording just 11 take-aways - 7 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries. The Vols broke out of their slump vs. Memphis, however, forcing a season-high 5 turnovers (3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries).

The last time Tennessee recorded 5 take-aways in a game was Nov. 11, 2000, when the Vols turned the trick in a 63-20 annihilation of Arkansas.

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