Slade up for secondary honor

Tennessee veteran assistant coach Larry Slade is one of three finalists for the FootballScoop Defensive Back Coach of the Year Award presented by Muscle Milk, it was announced Monday.

Slade is in his 10th season with the Vols and this year's unit might be his best ever. Tennessee has been among the nation's leaders all season in interceptions, currently standing 11th nationally with 15 interceptions.

Slade teaches man-to-man technique as well as anyone in the business. Over his career, he has coached a number of players who have gone on to become excellent NFL defensive backs. One of his current Vols, Eric Berry, might be the next to make it big on Sundays. Berry currently is tied for the national lead with six interceptions and leads the country with 220 interception return yards.

Key Tennessee Secondary Stats:

7th nationally -- Total defense (275.6 yards per game)

15th nationally -- Scoring defense (18.1 points per game)

7th nationally -- Passing defense (164.0 yards per game)

11th nationally -- Interceptions (15)

"The FootballScoop set of awards is unique from other 'Coach of the Year' awards in that there is no other outlet that focuses on position coaches and coordinators," said Scott Roussel, president of FootballScoop. "Nearly every other Coach of the Year award is solely for a head coach."

Finalists have been chosen for the 14 awards from the following areas: offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, strength and conditioning, quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, defensive backs, Div. I-AA coordinator, Div. II coordinator and Div. III coordinator.

Others in the running for secondary honors along with Slade are Wake Forest's Tim Billings and Vanderbilt's Jamie Bryant. The Vols play at Vanderbilt this Saturday.

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