Tennessee Stat Book
AP Top 25 College Football
Nick Reveiz has vivid memories of his first game at Tennessee.
"That was the first time I ran out of the 'T,' first Vol Walk - it was just an incredible atmosphere," the senior middle linebacker said about the 2006 season-opener against California.
"How much excitement, that's something you want to bring to Tennessee, that's something that, as a senior, you really want to see that defined about your senior class. It was very exciting, and I will never forget that day."
Ninth-ranked Cal ventured into a frenzied orange hornets' nest and left with a lopsided loss to a UT team full of questions coming off a 5-6 season.
Four years later, the defending Pac-10 champion and seventh-ranked Oregon come to Knoxville to face a somewhat mysterious group of Vols on Saturday night (TV: ESPN2, 7 p.m.).
Reveiz is certainly looking for the crowd to replicate the same atmosphere that left Cal shell-shocked.
"The crowd," the former Farragut High School standout said, "and this may be cliche, but they're going to be our 12th man out there. Oregon does a lot of checking at the line.
"They do a lot based on our look, they'll have a play, and obviously they've got to communicate that to every single player.
"We're going to need the crowd to play a huge role on Saturday. We're really looking for (Oregon) to have confusion on the field, and (the crowd) be able to take part in this, win or loss."
Darron Thomas, the Ducks' sophomore quarterback, will be making his first road start.
Cal's Nate Longshore did the same in 2006 and threw for 85 yards and an interception before being replaced.
UCLA's Kevin Prince made his first road start at UT last year, but the Bruins handled the crowd and an early 10-3 deficit and won19-15.
"A lot of times when you change a defense compared to what the offense is doing it's because they're moving formations, shifting guys, they're shifting people," Reveiz said.
"What Oregon does, they really don't change a lot of people as far as where they're at on the field, as far as changing formations. They just check (to) a different play. Again, as a defense, we don't really change anything, we're just going to stick to our call.
"That's why the crowd's going to be extremely important in causing confusion on that side of the ball for Oregon. We're going to need them to be extremely loud."
Special Attention: Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris took two punts back for touchdowns against New Mexico.
The scariest part about that for UT special teams coach Eric Russell is Harris is the Ducks' No. 2 punt returner.
"It gets your attention on attention to detail here and coverage and kick directions and things like that," he said. "If we're not fundamentally sound, they'll run right by us. That's what we stressed."
Oregon coach Chip Kelly called Kenjon Barner, his usual returner who scored five touchdowns against New Mexico filling in for suspended starter LaMichael James at tailback, the best returner in the country at his press conference Tuesday.
Barner, a sophomore, set a school-record with 1,020 kickoff return yards and had 420 all-purpose yards in Oregon's last two games last season.
Russell thought the Vols were "average" in the kicking game against UT Martin.
"I thought effort was good," he said. "Execution and some schematic issues wasn't real good. We weren't good enough to win in the Pac 10 or SEC with what we had."
Russell also said UT's situation at punt returner is still unsettled.
Patrick Brown is a freelance contributor.