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fensive coordinator helped him up and said, “That was a nice lick, David. Go get you another one.” He remembers that happenstance sentimentally. “Like everybody else, I loved Erk and that sideline reaction of his was something I’ll always appreciate. He and Coach Dooley had a lot of class.”
As a starting defensive back for three years with Tennessee, David was a member of an extraordinary group. His sophomore year, the Volunteers created 57 turnovers: 36 interceptions and 21 fumbles recovered— still NCAA and SEC records. In those years, 11 games were the norm (bowl games did not figure in stats) which means that to come up with 36 interceptions in one season, there was an average interception rate of 3.27 per game. That is a record that will likely stand forever if you think about it, even with today’s 12 games seasons and a minimum of three playoff games for the better teams. Postseason game statistics are now included in seasonal stats.
“Coach Bennett would get ticked off if you didn’t go for the ball and make interceptions,” David says. He remembers one game when he made what he thought was a good play and broke up a potential pass reception. When he got to the sideline, a manager handed him the phone. He was expecting Buddy to say something like, “nice job,” but instead, his coach barked, “You should have intercepted that one.”
When Stetson Bennett showed up in Athens and his name began to be banded about, I got a call from David, who wanted to know more about Stetson. He quickly deduced that the Georgia quarterback had to be related to his college coach.
Today as a fan, David sings the praises of Stet IV, Georgia’s National Championship quarterback and knows how proud his late grandfather would be to have been on hand last fall.
“I’m a big fan of Stetson, who is a very capable quarterback,” David says. “I will be retiring in June and want to catch up with Stetson and tell him how much respect I have for him. Maybe we could share stories about his grandfather. Buddy Bennett was a fine fundament football coach, and I am happy I survived. No boot camp could compare with his preseason drills.”