1-9: Combined record last five seasons against Florida (0-5) and Alabama (1-4)
2: Games of major college experience for Tennessee's quarterbacks, and those were two years ago when Matt Sims was a backup playing for Louisville.
5: Consecutive seasons with at least one NFL first-round draft choice, the only SEC school to do so
14-13-3: Record against Pac-10 schools, though the Vols have never played Pac-10 member Oregon, who they'll face Sept. 11
Tennessee linebacker Nick Reveiz, groggy from anesthesia, looked at his surgically repaired right knee last October and did what anyone would do in that situation.
He felt sorry for himself.
"I wondered if I'd ever walk again," Reveiz said.
But if you know Reveiz, son of former Vols and NFL kicking great Fuad Reveiz, then you understand his pity party didn't last very long.
"My philosophy is everything that happens, whether it's good or bad, God uses that for your development, for your perseverance," Reveiz said, "He puts things in your path to see where you're at, and it's up to you to react positively."
No one is doubting Reveiz, a fifth-year senior, will bounce back from his injury. All questions about his grit were answered long ago when he joined the Vols in 2006 as a walk-on, and worked his way into the starting lineup last year as an undersized linebacker (5-10, 224) in a league of giants.
He had 27 tackles before he tore his lateral meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in the fourth game against Ohio. No one touched him -- "I was just running and it popped," Reveiz said.
And though he did allow himself that moment of self-doubt after surgery, Reveiz realized that it was just a blip compared to some of the things his family had been through the last couple of years.
In January 2008, Nick's younger brother Shane, now a Vols' junior linebacker who also plays on special teams, underwent open heart surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor.
Three months later, sister Bryanna was on her way to school at Farragut High when she ran off the road trying to adjust her car radio. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but today after 12 surgeries, she's a student at Tennessee.
Finally, Fuad, who played 11 years in the NFL, then became a successful home builder in Knoxville as well as hosting shows on the DYI Network, fell victim to a wheezing economy. Reveiz and Company, Reveiz Homes LLC and Hardin Valley Development filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in January 2009.
Fuad, now in the insurance business, said maybe he and his family developed their resiliency and toughness from Fuad's parents, who migrated from Colombia to Miami.
"My mom and dad came to this country with $400 in their pocket, three kids and four suitcases," Fuad said. "I never heard my parents complain and whine about what anybody owes them. My parents pointed out what we had instead of what we didn't have, that we are blessed for what we have."
Fuad still holds eight Tennessee records he set from 1981-84, including most field goals made in career (71), consecutive field goals made (18) and a 60-yard field goal vs. Georgia Tech that remains tied for the longest in SEC history. But a little-known fact is he was also a fiery linebacker and fullback at Miami's Sunset High.
And when Fuad was in the NFL, especially with Minnesota, he made it a point of not just living the one-dimensional life of a placekicker.
"I've always been a big fan of guys like Tony Dungy and Jack del Rio, so I'd always hang around the defensive team meetings (with the Vikings when Dungy was defensive coordinator and del Rio was a starting linebacker)," Fuad said. "I was able to pick up a lot of little neat things that Tony and Jack would do, and I just tried to pass some of those on to my sons."
This all ties into Nick, because in the eighth grade he decided he wanted to play football. But he wanted to be a linebacker and not a placekicker like his dad or his uncle Carlos, who followed his father at UT.
"I tried placekicking once," Nick said. "I took three steps back, two steps to the left ... and then shanked it. When I told my dad I wanted to play linebacker, he coached me up."
But Fuad did more than that. He instilled an insatiable work ethic.
"Preparation is more important than just about anything," Fuad said. "If you want to be good, do just what the coaches tell you. But if you want to be exceptional, get there before practice and stay after practice. You have to watch more film than anybody else. You do all the extras so that when you get to the game, you are so well prepared that you just have fun and fly to the ball."
That's why Nick, though he never got major scholarship offers despite being Class 5A All-State and a Mr. Football finalist at Farragut in 2005, didn't blink about walking on and succeeding at Tennessee.
He felt outworking everybody would get him noticed. It did, and he was on his way to a great season a year ago when he got hurt.
"I knew it would be a long road back, and I could not focus on the end result," Nick said of his rehab that he started one week after surgery. "Every single day, I had to think about something that I needed to improve. Four months ago I wasn't feeling that great, but it's interesting to see how fast you heal when you keep working hard."
As happy as Reveiz is to be back on the field -- he's the first former walk-on to be named a team captain since J.J. McCleskey in 1992 -- his teammates are ecstatic to see him running from sideline to sideline.
"We had some awesome guys replace Nick last year, but nothing can replace Nick's energy, his heart and his passion for the game," Vols' defensive end Chris Walker of Christian Brothers said.
A closer look at Tennessee
Rewind: The post-Phillip Fulmer era at UT last year marked a drastic change. Lane Kiffin took over for Fulmer, immediately insulted several SEC coaches and continually committed secondary rules violations, claiming it was part of his master recruiting plan to get the Vols more national attention. On the field, Tennessee played hard, but the talent just wasn't there in what became a 7-6 season (4-4 in the Eastern Division). Quarterback Jonathan Crompton got off to an awful start, but kept plugging away and had 20 TDs to five interceptions in the final nine games. Tennessee's defense, beset by injuries, especially along the line and at linebacker, didn't have the depth to hold it together against the league's best offenses.
Fast forward: Kiffin bolted for USC in January when Pete Carroll left for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, so Louisiana Tech's Derek Dooley was an emergency hire. The Vols did a decent job in recruiting, but spring practice showed a team full of extraordinarily average talent.