Eric Berry endorses Jones' approach

Former Volunteer Eric Berry, left, talks with UT head coach Butch Jones on the field during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, April 20, 2013. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Former Volunteer Eric Berry, left, talks with UT head coach Butch Jones on the field during the Orange and White game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, April 20, 2013. (AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL)

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Eric Berry is on board with the direction of Tennessee football under new coach Butch Jones.

That probably was not the case a couple of years ago when Derek Dooley was UT’s coach.

UT football means a lot to Berry, the former All-American safety for the Vols (2007-09) and current Pro Bowler for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tennessee is where his career blossomed.

“I feel like (Jones is) really trying to make a change in our university and our team, and anytime you’re doing that, I’m going to support you to the fullest,” Berry said Saturday during the Eric Berry D1 Iron Sharpens Iron Football Camp at Grace Christian Academy.

“I just feel like he’s a good person in general, not just a good coach, but I feel like he’s a good person. He’s trying to do things the right way and he’s trying to handle them to the best of his ability, so that’s always cool.”

Berry said he has had several conversations with Jones — and it’s not just shoptalk.

“We talk about football a little bit, but usually he’s pretty much just checking up on me, seeing how I was doing, and I talk to him about his family, he asks me about mine,” Berry said. “I think it was more of us just getting to know each other, not more so of just talking football all the time. I appreciate that too as well.”

Jones has some serious interest in Berry’s family.

In particular, UT is one of many schools offering football scholarships to Berry’s twin brothers, Evan and Elliot, for the Class of 2014.

Evan Berry actually committed to UT in June of 2009 when he was 13 years old — the summer before Lane Kiffin’s only season as the Vols’ coach — but that commitment was null because Evan had not registered as a prospect with the NCAA Eligibility Center, so UT could not formally offer him a scholarship at that time.

The Berry twins, rising seniors at Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga., have opened up their recruitment and given older brother Eric no idea where they are leaning.

So what is their take on Butch Jones?

“They haven’t really even said anything about him,” Berry said. “They just said they’re interested in Tennessee, along with some other schools, and they enjoyed their visit up here. That’s all they told me. They’ve kind of just been keeping it between the two of them.”

They will probably get more of an endorsement from Eric with Jones at the UT helm than if his predecessor, Dooley, was still head coach. Dooley was fired before the last game of the 2012 season.

When asked by the News Sentinel if he ever had contact or conversations with Dooley during his post-UT playing days, Berry responded: “A little bit.”

How was that?

“It is what it is,” Berry said.

Berry was more positive when asked about his experiences with the two coaches for whom he played at Tennessee. He was signed by and played for Phillip Fulmer for two seasons (2007 and ’08), and played his junior year under Kiffin (2009) before turning pro.

“It was two different coaches, so I don’t compare them to each other,” Berry said. “They were just different. I just learned a lot from both of them. With Coach Fulmer here, I had a privilege of working with John Chavis (former defensive coordinator), who I feel like is one of the best coaches I ever played for.

“I feel like (Chavis) pretty much taught me a lot of the things that helped me throughout my career, and with Lane, I had Monte Kiffin (as defensive coordinator), an NFL guy, and I learned a lot of things from him as well. I definitely think I was privileged to play for both of those guys, and I learned a lot.”

Dave Link is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 24

xanga writes:

Eric Berry, CLAP CLAP CLAP, Eric Berry. Will not forget siting in the student section in the Swamp when Eric Berry and Tebow Collided. The entire stadium heard that hit. Row 3 baby!!

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to xanga:

Eric Berry, CLAP CLAP CLAP, Eric Berry. Will not forget siting in the student section in the Swamp when Eric Berry and Tebow Collided. The entire stadium heard that hit. Row 3 baby!!

On the other hand, Knowshon Moreno probably don't remember too much following this hit...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xePs7...

volgrog#210164 writes:

It's difficult to pick a favorite Vol, but Eric Berry is definitely in the mix. He's one of the best all around football players I've ever seen in person.

Glad to see he's on board with Jones.

mikethehistorystudent writes:

This is a good sign for Jones. I don't think Eric would really endorse Jones if he didn't like him. Notice how he reacted when questioned about Dooley? Having guys like Berry and Manning out there spreading the word about UT is a big help to the program. Thanks Eric for all you have done and continue to do for the Vols.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Roland James was always my favorite db at UT, but I've got EB at a very close 2nd.

govolsdid writes:

Eric Berry and "Big Al" are two of my favorite "D" players of all time,what else can you say? Go Big Orange!

CroKev writes:

in response to govolsdid:

Eric Berry and "Big Al" are two of my favorite "D" players of all time,what else can you say? Go Big Orange!

Add Reggie White to that list for me...

bigorangejungle writes:

Eric Berry is a class act. Full support for Butch and as close as you can get to "No comment" about Dooley. As Mama always said, if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. He did his Mama proud. He does the Big Orange nation proud. Go Vols!

antonio14313 writes:

good article. who doesn't like coach jones?...

c'mon twins! join the UT empire!

go vols!!!

t

CoverOrange writes:

If Dooley was still here, no way the twins would be coming.

Would have liked to have seen the Chief given a shot at HC, don't know how it would have turned out though. Hamilton wanted flash.

SevenT writes:

In 2009 Berry put a lick on Randall Cobb that stopped Cobb from scoring the winning touchdown in OT and it made Cobb ineffective the rest of the game. I have hated that dirtbag Berry ever since that play.

Just Saying

usafvol writes:

in response to SevenT:

In 2009 Berry put a lick on Randall Cobb that stopped Cobb from scoring the winning touchdown in OT and it made Cobb ineffective the rest of the game. I have hated that dirtbag Berry ever since that play.

Just Saying

The most intelligent post you've ever made! Just saying

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

Eric let the your brothers know what a great place it is to go to UT! We need DB's. Course we need lineman (both sides), and LB's.

Go Vols!

VOL56 writes:

I live in Houston - recent comment from Andre Johnson, all pro, all stud Texan receiver, "who in your opinion is the best db, hardest hitter you face in the NFL?" "without a doubt, Eric Berry with the Kansas City Chiefs". Andre doesn't pass out many compliments.
all the buzz down here IS about Johnny FootbaLL'S remark he will be glad to finish up at A&M after the upcoming season.

Voltransplant writes:

in response to MetroplexMojo:

On the other hand, Knowshon Moreno probably don't remember too much following this hit...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xePs7...

Oh yeah, Knowshon remembers that hit. He said that it was the hardest lick he ever took college or pro.

Voltransplant writes:

I would say pound for pound, Eric Berry is the hardest hitter to ever put on the Power T.

OwensboroVol writes:

Berry is a great ambassador for the University. He is a class guy and a great football player. I would love to see his brothers come to UT, but I would also understand if they don't want come to UT and be constantly compared to James and Eric. We can always hope and I do believe that in the end they will end up at UT.

volgrog#210164 writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

Berry is a great ambassador for the University. He is a class guy and a great football player. I would love to see his brothers come to UT, but I would also understand if they don't want come to UT and be constantly compared to James and Eric. We can always hope and I do believe that in the end they will end up at UT.

I'm sure every HC recruiting the Berry twins is telling them that they will be overshadowed by Eric and James reputations if they come to UT.

However, if they want to be the best players they can be, they'll welcome the challenge of trying to reach the same level as Eric and James.

Based on the quality of the men in that family, I'd say they will thrive rather than wilt when being compared to the best.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to volgrog#210164:

I'm sure every HC recruiting the Berry twins is telling them that they will be overshadowed by Eric and James reputations if they come to UT.

However, if they want to be the best players they can be, they'll welcome the challenge of trying to reach the same level as Eric and James.

Based on the quality of the men in that family, I'd say they will thrive rather than wilt when being compared to the best.

You and OV both make good points. Some people like to be part of a "dynasty" and some prefer to be their own persons. I saw where Eric said that both of his brothers are far advanced from where he was at the same age. They may have the confidence to think they can OUTDO big brother and are anxious to do so. We can always hope!

ProfessionalHandicapper writes:

Sounds like if they listen to the words of Eric they will play for LSU and USC with legendary DC's and National Championship hopes in the near future.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to ProfessionalHandicapper:

Sounds like if they listen to the words of Eric they will play for LSU and USC with legendary DC's and National Championship hopes in the near future.

I don't know who USC's defensive coordinator is going forward, but Monte Kiffin retired back in the winter. If the Berry boys like Jones and staff well enough, they at least are smart enough to know that the pro scouts can find them just as easily at UT as they can anywhere else. Just ask Eric!

MetroplexMojo writes:

in response to johnlg00:

I don't know who USC's defensive coordinator is going forward, but Monte Kiffin retired back in the winter. If the Berry boys like Jones and staff well enough, they at least are smart enough to know that the pro scouts can find them just as easily at UT as they can anywhere else. Just ask Eric!

After Lane fired his dad, Monte got the DC gig for America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys. With Monte, Garrett, and Dooley on staff, I'm pumped for the upcoming season.

volunteerfan98 writes:

MetroplexMojo...I dont know why your so pumped. You still have the worst starting qb in the NFL and the biggest chocker also. Good luck with not winning the NFC East. America's team?? Haha, what a joke! Go NINERS and Go VOLS!

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