Tennessee's non-incident streak wasn't exactly as advertised.
Tennessee freshman defensive back Nyshier Oliver broke the nearly year-long string of no public police incidents when he was charged with shoplifting just hours before the Vols played host to Memphis on Nov. 7.
Oliver wasn't allowed to dress for the Memphis game and also was punished internally, UT spokeswoman Tiffany Carpenter confirmed this morning.
It was the first known incident involving UT football players and police since Lane Kiffin was introduced as coach on Dec. 1.
When asked about the arrests of three other players in an alleged attempted armed robbery last Thursday, Kiffin said, "We made it 11 months and 11 days without any incidents."
Not quite. The official streak ended at 11 months and six days.
Oliver, 18, is the fourth player from UT's 22-member signing class for 2009 to be involved in a known incident involving police. He joins receiver Nu'Keese Richardson and defensive backs Janzen Jackson and Mike Edwards, who were arrested and charged with attempted armed robbery on Nov. 12, five days after Oliver was cited.
Oliver's citation was issued at Dillard's department store in West Town Mall at 1:45 p.m. The UT-Memphis game kicked off at 7 p.m.
He was cited to appear in court after a police officer spotted him trying to conceal a brown polo shirt worth $110 in a Dillard's bag.
Oliver, who is from Jersey City, N.J., will make a court appearance on Monday.
Oliver has played in one game this season, against Alabama on Oct. 24.
Kiffin declined to talk to the media after practice Tuesday. Kiffin wasn't asked about Oliver's citation during his weekly press conference early Tuesday afternoon since news broke of the incident later in the day. Kiffin does not typically meet with the media after practice on Tuesday.
Defensive end Chris Walker said he and some other UT players, including safety Eric Berry and defensive tackle Dan Williams, are trying to take a more active role in guiding UT's freshmen in light of their recent struggles.
"They need guys, like some of the upperclassmen, just to mentor some of them," Walker said. "I think that's what we're doing. There are a couple of guys that I've kind of taken hold to as freshman.
"That's one of my jobs, is to be a leader, just take those guys under my wing so when I get out of here they'll be able to be leaders for this team."
Walker seemed unsure why UT has had a recent rash of problems after going 11 months under Kiffin without any public incidents involving the police.
"I don't know; I guess it's just the season is really long," Walker said. "Lack of focus can come in and things can get very routine for you . . . and people can get bored with some stuff. That's when all the trouble gets in."
Oliver had an eventful recruitment before eventually signing with the Vols. He originally committed to UT in June under former coach Phillip Fulmer. He then changed his mind and committed to Notre Dame in October after Fulmer was fired. Then, he committed to UT again just days before National Signing Day on Feb. 4.