Don't expect Berry to play QB at UT

A lot of high school teams line up their best athlete at the quarterback position regardless of their throwing skills. That doesn't usually work at the college level and especially not in the SEC. One media member suggested to the Vols Head Coach Lane Kiffin to move Eric Berry to the signal caller position. Kiffin quickly dismissed the suggestion and explained why he wouldn't do it.

Arm chair quarterbacks and coaches come in all shapes sizes and professions.

They love to complain and gripe about their favorite college or pro football team, saying if I was the coach or quarterback I would do things different.

This was the case here Friday morning at the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama when one member of the media apparently felt that he could do a better job coaching the Tennessee Volunteers than their new head coach can.

The media member, who probably has never played a down of football in his life, asked Kiffin why wouldn't he line up Eric Berry and play him 50 snaps on the offensive side of the ball as the Vol's version of the Wild Vol offensive formation. He was pretty adamant about it.

"Eric played quarterback in high school," stated the unidentified media member. "Why wouldn't you line him up at quarterback and let him have 50 snaps a game on both sides of the ball."

Kiffin quickly silenced that rumor, stating it wouldn't be very fair to Berry in several different ways.

"This is Eric's first year in our new defensive system," Kiffin said. "He most likely won't be back with us after this fall. He is a great leader for us defensively and his career at the next level is on the defensive side of the ball."

Kiffin also explained that while Berry is the only member of his team that has a starting position already claimed, Berry needs to be learning everything about the new defensive system to prepare him for the next level and for his success on the field this season.

"It would be unfair to Eric," Kiffin said again. "He needs to be over there working with Monte on his drops and getting all the knowledge he can on that side of the ball."

This showed the integrity of the Vols new head coach.

Kiffin is known as an offensive genius, a more selfish head coach wouldn't worry about Berry's progression for the next level as much as they would worry about what he could do for him now. Kiffin is just the opposite.

"If we were in year three of our defensive system, we might consider it," Kiffin said. "It also isn't fair to the other players on the team; it would be taking away from their development also."

Berry agreed with his head coach.

"I probably could handle it," Berry said. "I don't want anything to take away from me being the best I can be at my position. I'm working hard to learn everything I can now from Coach Monte, he is already making me better."

Berry was the No. 1 overall vote recipient at the SEC Media Days, and the University of Tennessee has already announced a Heisman Campaign for Berry.

"It's a great honor that they believe in me this much," Berry said. "I would much rather win championships, like a SEC and a National Championship instead of the Heisman, don't get me wrong that would be great also."

While Kiffin dismissed the suggestion of Berru playing offense, he did admit that his defensive staff is looking for a lot of different ways to use him on that side of the ball.


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