KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee is treating Western Kentucky as if it's a Southeastern Conference opponent instead of a Sun Belt team.
"All you have to do is watch a couple of clips and they have your attention," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "They have SEC talent."
They also have a former SEC coach who knows how to beat teams in the nation's toughest conference.
Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino went 34-17 at Arkansas from 2008-11 and was 21-5 over his last two seasons. He got fired in April 2012 for misleading school officials about a motorcycle accident that eventually revealed his mistress was a passenger and employed by the coach. Petrino took over Western Kentucky's program in December and beat SEC program Kentucky 35-26 Saturday in his debut as the Hilltoppers' coach.
"To be honest, I wasn't really that surprised," Tennessee defensive tackle Daniel Hood said. 'We've been preparing for them really since the summer because we knew they had a lot of talent coming in. We know they've got a great coaching staff there. We knew they were going to be really talented and it would be a tough team to beat. When we saw the score, it was kind of what we expected."
The Volunteers insist they'll resist the temptation to look past Saturday's game against Western Kentucky with trips to No. 3 Oregon and No. 10 Florida looming in the next couple of weeks. They know this team and its coach all too well.
"We feel like they're an SEC opponent," Tennessee safety Brian Randolph said. "We know it's going to be a very competitive game."
Both teams are coming off convincing performances.
Tennessee played penalty-free football and scored touchdowns on each of its six first-half possessions in a 45-0 shutout of Football Championship Subdivision program Austin Peay, while Western Kentucky defeated Kentucky for the second straight year.
"Tennessee looks like a very, very good team on video," Petrino said. "It's a huge challenge for our program."
Petrino, regarded as a quarterback guru, already has made an impact in that regard at Western Kentucky. Brandon Doughty went 27 of 34 for 271 yards and a touchdown against Kentucky in his first start since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in 2011.
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