JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – When he was first brought on in January, former Tennessee Volunteer Nick Reveiz was going to be a graduate assistant under Ken Sparks and help coach the Eagles linebackers alongside veteran defensive coordinator Mike Clowney.
However, plans have changed and now the three-time academic All-SEC selection will be working with Carson-Newman's talented cadre of tailbacks.
"It's a great opportunity," Reveiz said. "The whole reason I got into coaching was to make an impact on people's lives for a lifetime. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from coach Sparks and coach Turner and to have my own room and my own guys and to impact them in a way like coach Sparks has."
Reveiz swallowed up running backs on plenty of occasions in his career with the Vols. In 2010, he capped off his duties with a 108-tackle season, including a career high 14-tackle performance in the Music City Bowl versus North Carolina.
But, actually being an integral part of developing the position, or playing it – that's a different story. He tried out as a fullback in NFL.
"It's like going to speaking from English to Chinese," Reveiz said with a laugh. "This is much different from a triple option offense, I'm just thankful that Sparks gave me the opportunity."
Despite his apparent lack of experience at the position, Sparks is quite comfortable with and confident in Reveiz's abilities.
"The last three weeks in camp in the NFL, he ran with the running backs as a fullback," Sparks said. "He's a student of the game and he'll be good at any position because he will impact lives. He'll get close to kids and motivate them in a positive way. That's what makes any coach special – one who can motivate players."
Carson-Newman has a stockpile of backs at ready for 2013. The Eagles return Brandon Baker (Miami, Fla.), Tyron Douglas (Clover, S.C.) and Andy Hibbett (Corryton, Tenn.), who accounted for 2,932 of the Eagles' 4,543 yards on the ground in 2012.
Baker and Douglas were both All-SAC selections in 2012, with Baker garnering All-American honors from the Don Hansen team. Together the trio accounted for 31 scores on the ground last year.
"He's so enthusiastic. He gets them out of their comfort zone so that they perform wide open. There's a lot of heart there," Sparks said.
Baker sits more than 1,600 yards away from being the all-time leading rusher in the program's history following last year's 1,468-yard campaign. Baker rushed for more than 150 yards in all but one of the Eagles' final four games of the year in 2012. He came up five yards short of replicating the feat in the second round of the playoffs against Lenoir-Rhyne.
"First thing coach Turner told me, if this is going to be my first gig as an assistant coach, this is the group of guys you want," Reveiz said. "I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to learn."
Hibbett ran for a career high 161 yards in a win over Tusculum while Douglas surpassed the 100-yard mark on three occasions. All three backs scored multiple touchdowns in more than one game last season.
Reveiz's father Fuad was a Vols placekicker before an 11-year NFL career in which he kicked 188 field goals and 367 extra points.
The Eagles kick off the season Thursday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. against Wayne State.