Lance Thompson has been running low on depth for a while.
But even after adding another of his players to the injury report, the Tennessee linebackers coach isn't going to borrow one from somewhere else to fill the void.
Particularly not a certain star safety.
"Eric Berry? If you say that publicly, (secondary coach) Willie Mack (Garza) might want to kick my butt," Thompson said. "Eric's great where he is. He makes plenty of plays where he's at, and he helped us a lot Saturday.
"People that know the game saw him helping the young linebackers out, and he's just one of those guys that's just special. He knows the whole package, he can help everybody, but from that perspective, we're not going to move Eric Berry."
The Vols (4-4, 2-3) might not officially make Berry a linebacker, but that doesn't mean they won't move him around to plug some holes in the defense against Memphis on Saturday (TV: ESPNU, 7 p.m.).
Savion Frazier became the latest middle linebacker to add crutches to his practice equipment after injuring his right knee in the 31-13 win over South Carolina on Saturday, and though his injury doesn't appear to be as serious as the season-ender Nick Reveiz suffered, UT can hardly afford to lose anybody else at the position.
Both Herman Lathers and Greg King figure to have expanded roles this week regardless of any progress for Frazier, and that would keep Berry at his spot in the secondary. But the Vols also could use him closer to the line of scrimmage in the nickel package more often as a stopgap.
"We don't know for sure who's going to be out," UT coach Lane Kiffin said. "(Frazier) initially we thought was going to be longer, and he could even play this week. We'll have a lot more information as we get guys in here (today), but Greg King came in and did a great job, and we'll figure out a way.
"We've got a great staff, and no matter who's gotten hurt they've figured out a way to get guys in there. We'll continue to move Eric Berry around and play more nickel if we need to."
The Vols have shuffled him around the field all season anyway, and even though it might have caused Berry's statistics to dip a bit, it obviously hasn't lessened his impact.
Berry finished with just two tackles and one quarterback hurry in the impressive win over the Gamecocks, but some of his most valuable work can't be measured by his personal numbers. And UT has had no complaints about his production.
"He can be the deep safety, he can be the down safety, he can play the nickel, and on Saturday night he played all three," Thompson said. "Eric Berry is a special cat. He can do anything you ask him to do. He can play corner, he could play the Will linebacker, probably play quarterback if you wanted him to.
"He's special, but (there's) always a plan for him and we put him where we need to put him."
That's not always the same from play to play. But for now, the plan doesn't call for him at linebacker.
No Nu'Keese: The Vols had several other players aside from Frazier nursing injuries. But the most notable absence at practice was freshman Nu'Keese Richardson, who was missing in action during Sunday's workout without much explanation from Kiffin.
"We're dealing with an issue with Nu'Keese, and I'll have some more information on that for you guys next time on Tuesday," he said.
The highly recruited target only played a limited role in the win over the Gamecocks, taking one direct snap and losing a yard on the ground and finishing the game without a catch.
Bumps and Bruises: The Vols anticipated defensive end Chris Walker being able to play against South Carolina, but he pulled himself out of the lineup as he deals with an injured back.
"Even before warmups he came and said, 'Coach, I can't go. I did this one game before where I tried to play and I didn't play well. I don't want to hurt the team being out there and not being able to play well,' " Kiffin said. "Guys stepped up and played well, but we're going to need him."
His status for Memphis likely won't be determined until later in the week, and fellow linemen Gerald Williams and Marlon Walls also are dealing with health issues. Both of them were held out of Sunday's workout. Running back Montario Hardesty practiced but seemed to have his reps limited.
Back to Work: UT's four touchdowns were more than enough to beat a top-25 opponent. But the offensive performance still left a lot to be desired for Kiffin, particularly in the passing game.
"We need guys to step up and play better," he said. "We're just out of rhythm. It's just one guy here, one guy there, then the passing game got out of rhythm. We just weren't very consistent.
"We had a good week of practice, we had done things very consistent in practice, had practiced a number of audible situations - we're screwing up. We've got to get back to basics. It's good sometimes when you play poorly and still win, sometimes that helps you down the road because it gets your focus back and gets you to understand there's a long ways to go."