KNOXVILLE — Last week as a Tennessee player strolled by the media contingent surrounding the Vols’ sophomore sensation, he eagerly informed those in the vicinity that “Superman wears Eric Berry pajamas.”
Earlier this week, the growing legend of the defensive back grew even greater as Berry took snaps at quarterback for the first time since excelling at the position as a star at Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga.
“I really just kind of forgot about it really,” Berry said of promises to try him under center. “I kind of let it play out how it was going to play out. If they called my number, I was going to jump up in there and be ready.”
Berry went through drills with the quarterbacks at the beginning of practice and ran two plays at the position during live action. In addition to Berry, sophomore receiver Gerald Jones also spent time under center Tuesday and said the possibility of finding both athletes in the backfield at the same time has been tossed around.
“Oh man, that puts a big smile on my face to see (Berry) get to come over to offense and make big plays,” said Jones, who spent time at quarterback in 2007. “You know he can do it. We call him Superman because he can do the unthinkable. It’s exciting to see.”
During Jones’ time at quarterback last season, one thing defenses did not have to defend against was the pass. That’s something Jones hopes is the next wrinkle added to new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson’s playbook.
“They’ll let me throw a little hitch or something,” Jones said of his wishes. “Right now, we just put in plays with me and Eric back there. Hopefully we’ll put some pass plays in there as we progress through the season.
“…I told them to let me throw the pill. All I got to do is get this thing warmed up.”
But while Berry and Jones were excited with their expanded roles Tuesday, both stressed the need to focus on their original responsibilities. Jones expressed a desire to master the ins and outs of Clawson’s new offense, while Berry hopes to build on his freshman All-America season.
Yet no matter how much he referenced the work required to succeed at safety, Berry, like Jones, could not help but contemplate an option attack featuring arguably the two most athletic players on the Tennessee roster.
“I think it would be pretty tough to defend,” Berry said. “We go against each other everyday in practice in one-on-ones, blocking drills and tackling drills. (Jones) always tells me to just make each other better. If we were on the same side together, that would be pretty crazy I would think.”