Johnny Majors had his Tennessee team working a lot on kickoff returns this week, although he hopes he won't have to do too much of it.
The 10-ranked Tennessee Volunteers (8-2-2) meet the unranked Virginia Cavaliers (8-3) in the Sugar Bowl tonight."They're the most versatile offensive team we've faced, and we've faced some pretty darn good offensive teams, starting with Colorado," Majors said.
"Notre Dame has all the ingredients, and Ole Miss has a very good offense, so we've played some good ones and we feel Virginia is the most versatile and dangerous that we've faced."
Virginia coach George Welsh was equally complimentary of Tennessee's team.
It was a mutual admiration society between two old friends who have shared football secrets since Majors was at Pitt in 1973 playing Welsh Navy teams every year.
Welsh said Tennessee is the best team his Cavaliers will face this season.
"It's just their overall team - no one aspect of it. I think overall, they are the best team we have played. Count their kicking game, which is probably the best kicking game we have encountered this year," Welsh said.
It's the 100th anniversary of football at Tennessee, and Majors has mentioned often that this year's team is the only Volunteer team to have repeated as Southeastern Conference champion since Gen. Bob Neyland's won three in a row in 1938-40.
And even the 1939 team, which went through the regular season unscored upon, lost its Rose Bowl date with Stanford 14-0.
Another thing Majors has brought to his team's attention is that the last time Tennessee played in the Sugar Bowl it faced highly favored and No. 1-ranked Miami and won, 35-7.
One thing Welsh has going for him is the return of star quarterback Shawn Moore, who dislocated his right thumb against Maryland on Nov. 17, underwent surgery and has been cleared to play.