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September 16, 2008
Berry has picked off a pass in each of Tennessee's first two games, and that fast start has helped make him the new No. 1 defensive back in the Rivals.com Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top players and coaches at each position.
"(Forcing turnovers) is a big part of our game," Berry said Saturday after the Vols' 35-3 victory over UAB. "We feel that we need to get the ball back to Jonathan (Crompton) and the offense so that they can do what they need to do to get points on the board."
Berry picked off five passes and recovered two fumbles last season, and set a school record with 222 yards in interception returns. He also scored on a 96-yard interception return against Florida, which plays at Tennessee this week.
His big performance against UAB helped Berry displace Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins atop the defensive back rankings. Ohio State gave up four Mark Sanchez touchdown passes in a 35-3 loss to USC.
The only other change at the top of the rankings is at the defensive coordinator position, where Virginia Tech's Bud Foster recaptures the No. 1 position he had held at the start of the season. The Hokies edged Georgia Tech 20-17 last week. Foster moved ahead of UCLA's DeWayne Walker, whose team followed up an impressive victory over Tennessee with a 59-0 loss to BYU.
Players and coaches remaining atop their respective positions were Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, Ohio State running back Chris Wells, Texas Tech wide receiver [db]Michael Crabtree[/db], BYU tight end Dennis Pitta, South Florida defensive end George Selvie, Missouri linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri kick returner Jeremy Maclin, USC coach Pete Carroll and Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Christensen.
The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.
Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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