Josh Heupel has nothing against the traditional orange and white Tennessee football uniforms.
“We have the best college uniforms in college football,” the Tennessee freshman coach said on Vol Calls Wednesday night. “I mean, our traditional look is amazing and our suits, that helmet when you’re under the lights is special, the way that thing shines.”
But there will be another outburst on Saturday, when Tennessee (3-2, 1-1 SEC) host South Carolina (3-2, 0-2) for a kick-off at noon EST. (TV: ESPN2) at Neyland Stadium.
The Vols on Wednesday afternoon launched their new alternative Nike “Dark Mode” uniform to wear against the Gamecocks, featuring black jerseys with orange numbers, black pants with two orange stripes and a black mask and black outline on the band. orange on the helmet and Power T.
This is the first time Tennessee has worn black since winning 31-13 against South Carolina on Halloween night at Neyland Stadium in 2009. Before the then head coach. Kiffin Lane brought it back, Flights hadn’t worn black since 1922.
12 years ago, the administration of Kiffin and Tennessee rushed production of the black jerseys at the end of game week, after players asked to wear black.
Wearing black this time around, once again, comes down to the Tennessee head coach and his staff listening to their players.
“I think it’s important that you can take a new-age approach to things as well, and that was important for our players,” Heupel said, adding that his players “went crazy (Wednesday afternoon) when they had the opportunity to see it.
Tennessee mixed up their uniforms this season, wearing orange jerseys and white pants against Bowling Green and Tennessee Tech, while going orange on orange against Pitt on September 11, paying homage to Johnny Majors, who introduced the “Orange Wave” see.
The Vols wore white jerseys and orange pants two weeks ago in Florida, before sporting white jerseys and white pants last week in the Missouri victory.
“We celebrate our great traditions,” said Heupel, “but sometimes that’s a question too. Important for our players. It’s also part of recruiting in the current landscape. We can celebrate all the great traditions, but some new approaches. -age about that too. “
Heupel said he knows everything about Tennessee lore, from wins to first-round picks in the NFL Draft to fan base size.
“You walk into the stadium,” he said, “you understand the passion that surrounds this program, because stadiums aren’t built like that all over America. I think – I don’t think – I know it is. is really important.
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It also emphasizes reaching out to both current roster players and everyone who came before them.
“Since I came here we’ve been trying to reconnect with the VFLs,” said Heupel, “and it’s really important to me that they understand that this is their forever home. ‘They’re in training, they’re in the scrum, they’re bringing their kids, they’re part of it, they’re talking to our team.
“Throughout training camp and over the summer when we had our team meetings, we showed videos of big wins in great settings including Neyland Stadium.
“We showed great players and what it was like and what it means to be a linebacker here in Tennessee,” continued Heupel. “What is the standard? Well you’re gonna throw Al Wilson Up there. What is it like to be a D lineman? Well let’s have a look Reggie White. You celebrate all of these great players, that’s for sure.