Nick Reveiz doesn't need a reminder. Unprompted, the Tennessee linebacker can provide the specific date of the last time he was running at full speed.
"Sept. 26 against Ohio," he said moments before climbing on a stationary bike for rehab. "I'm very goal-oriented. I've got to have things exact."
Reveiz has another day circled on the calendar in the middle of April, but the rising senior doesn't need to be quite so precise with that one.
He's been cleared to run for about two weeks now, and there's obviously a target for him to be back without restrictions from his reconstructed right knee, but if he gets there a bit early there won't be any complaints. And Reveiz is planning on having his equipment back on throughout spring practice regardless.
"They've told me I'm going to be limited, but I'm going to be in pads, I'm going to be running," Reveiz said. "At the same time, there are going to be times when my knee is hurting and I'm going to have to pull out. I don't think there will be any full-contact stuff and I've got to be careful.
"I think I'm on a good pace right now, I think I'm a little bit ahead of schedule, and they've said I'm going to surprise myself. I think I will, too."
That's been the theme of his entire career with the Vols, and more adversity for the former Farragut standout has only increased his resolve to do it again.
Reveiz has gone from a walk-on to a captain. A special-teams ace to the heart of the UT defense, averaging nearly seven tackles per game before losing the last nine of the season to tears in his lateral meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament.
Now a player originally considered too slow or small to ever do much at middle linebacker has to start over again, and that's clearly pushed him through a difficult recovery process.
"I think it's easy after I got hurt to look at how far I've come since when I first stepped on campus," Reveiz said. "Now I've got to do even more work? That's frustrating to think about, but at the same time, this process right here is strengthening me - not only physically, but mentally.
"It was hardest when I first got my surgery, because I went two weeks waiting for it and the swelling to go down, so I almost felt like after those two weeks I could play. Then they said, 'OK, you need to go into surgery.' When I come out of surgery I'm not thinking about football. I'm thinking about whether or not I'm going to be able to walk. That's how much pain I was in. I've got a knee the size of a bowling ball, but I'm thinking, at this time next year my plan is to be right where I was before, if not better."
Reveiz immersed himself in that process right from the start, practically living in the training room and embracing the few exercises he was allowed to do.
He also bought into a recovery plan that kept him from rushing back too early, even when he felt like he could run, pushing himself as hard to follow orders from a doctor as closely as a strength coach.
There was one setback when Reveiz decided to go for a run through the Georgia Dome during a practice before the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and the pain was a reminder of what he had been told all along about playing it safe. That will still be the game plan when the Vols go back to work in early March, but by then they'll at least be close to turning Reveiz loose on something other than rehab.
"I wanted to do other exercises because it was just simple stuff like getting your leg straight and raising it 20 million times," Reveiz said. "They have these ankle weights, I put like 33 pounds on one ankle, and I set the training-room record for single-leg raises. That gets repetitive, but you've got to remember there's a light at the end of the tunnel and that the goal is to get back out there and playing.
"I'm a big believer in everything happening for a reason. What just happened with Coach Kiffin (leaving), that's just part of God's plan and strengthening the character of me and my team. All I can do is work as hard as I can."
That's never been an issue for Reveiz.
Now he's just counting the days until he gets to do it on the field again.