Weight-room warrior

One Tennessee Vol proved himself a "weight-room warrior" last fall. Unfortunately, the game is played on a football field, not a weight bench, so he rarely saw action in 2007.

Sophomore Nick Reveiz is determined to change that in 2008 by adding the flexibility and mobility needed to fully exploit his strength. The hard work seems to be paying dividends because he is the No. 2 middle linebacker behind senior Ellix Wilson as the Vols prepare to open fall camp this Saturday.

"This is huge for me," said Reveiz, son of former Vol place-kicker Fuad Reveiz. "It's a big fall camp coming up, and I'm going to have more opportunities to contribute to the team. I've just been working my tail off, trying to do every thing extra. Everything's geared to getting ready on the field.

"Last year I was really in the weight room a whole lot ... every opportunity. Now I've been trying to get on the field, doing footwork things and linebacker drills – trying to be ready as a football player, not just as a weight-room warrior."

Few offers were forthcoming following his career at Farragut High School, so the 5-10, 225-pound Reveiz decided to walk with the Vols in 2006. He immediately turned heads with his determination and work ethic. Defensive coordinator John Chavis, who coaches UT's linebackers, was impressed.

"Coach Chavis told me when I was working on the scout team that the offensive coaches had talked to him about me, said I was hustling real hard," Reveiz said. "That's good and everything but it's still the scout team."

After redshirting in '06, Reveiz was making a determined bid for playing time at linebacker in the spring of '07. When his big break came, however, it wasn't the positive kind.

"I really think my first chance to shine a whole lot was spring ball of '07," he recalled. "I had seven real good practices before I broke my leg."

Although the injury kept him from contributing at linebacker last fall, Reveiz's hustle and toughness eventually earned him playing time on several special team's units.

"I really thought I had showed the coaches what I could do in spring practice," he said, "and that's why I got the opportunity on special teams last year."

Whereas scholarship players sometimes view special-teams play as an annoyance, walk-ons view it as a proving ground. Reveiz certainly did, and he did a great job of proving himself.

"It's not a whole lot, obviously, compared to getting on the field on offense or defense," he said. "But every opportunity you have, you need to go full speed. Covering a kickoff, that extra five yards when you're slowing down, that could be a time when you're making a play.

"Every little opportunity you have, you've got to give it everything you've got."

Nick Reveiz gave everything on special teams last fall. Now he's working just as hard to prove he's more than a weight-room warrior.

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