Although this column has a long history of avoiding fashion statements, I feel comfortable venturing into foreign territory today. You can archive it under fall fashion tips.
First tip: A Tilley Airflo Hat.
That's what first-year Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley has been wearing at preseason practices this month.
His choice of headgear has not gone unnoticed.
"You wouldn't believe how many calls I've got about it," said Roger Frazier, who has been UT's equipment manager since 1983.
Frazier has been around UT football too long to be surprised by fan reaction to a coach's hat. In fact, he warned Dooley that his chapeau choice would not be ignored. Consensus: The fans like it.
Employees at the UT Bookstore will vouch for that. They have received a number of calls inquiring about Dooley's khaki-colored, nylon hat. They don't carry it.
I even received a call about the hat. I don't carry it, either. But I know where to get one. I checked it out at River Sports, which is where Frazier purchased one on behalf of his coach.
The hat isn't as simple as it looks. It protects you from ultraviolet rays, is rain repellent and comes with a four-page owner's manual.
But it doesn't come with a Power T. Frazier had the patch added for Dooley.
Second tip: Black jerseys. Bring them back.
It might have bothered you last Halloween when the Vols donned black jerseys for the first time since 1922. It might bother you more that the jerseys are now connected to former coach Lane Kiffin, who has become persona non grata in Big Orange Country.
Here's something that shouldn't bother you: The black jerseys seemingly bring out the best in the Vols.
I discussed the jerseys with half-a-dozen UT players at football media day Sunday afternoon. They either liked the jerseys or loved them.
Senior wide receiver Gerald Jones and senior defensive end Chris Walker were the most passionate about them. They were among the players lobbying for the jerseys early last season. Kiffin passed along their pleas to athletic director Mike Hamilton, who OK'd them for the Halloween game against South Carolina.
The Vols warmed up in their orange jerseys, then changed to black and thrashed the Gamecocks 31-13. The performance wasn't necessarily a coincidence, according to the players.
"You saw how much energy it brought to us," Jones said. "We came out on fire and played the whole game really great. It may sound crazy, but it brings energy.
"We like to see new stuff."
UT offensive guard Jarrod Shaw said a change of color worked for his high school team as well. It opened a homecoming game in its traditional black jerseys and led 14-0 at halftime before switching to red jerseys in the locker room. The impact was immediate.
"We just blew them away," Shaw said with a smile.
The black jerseys worked just as fast for the Vols against South Carolina. They led 21-3 at halftime.
Asked if he had thought about those jerseys since that magical night, Jones said, "I thought about the black jerseys as soon as we took them off. Momma has got mine at home with her.
"But I got a feeling they won't do it again - unfortunately. . . . But hopefully, Coach Dooley will be flexible about it."
The Kiffin connection shouldn't be a factor in the decision. The black jerseys weren't his idea. The players came up with it.
Since the players still get revved up talking about the black jerseys, why pass on such an obvious motivational ploy? And what better time than the Vols' only home game in October, against defending national champion Alabama.
Maybe Tilley could complement the jerseys with a Tide-proof hat for the coach.
John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or email@example.com