A 'smokey' shade of gray for Tennessee football uniform

UT unveils alternate uniform for '13

ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee football coach Butch Jones shows off the Vols’ new alternate uniform modeled by linebacker Curt Maggitt, center, while offensive lineman Zach Fulton, left, and linebacker A.J. Johnson model the traditional uniforms during media day at Neyland Stadium on Thursday.

Photo by Adam Lau

ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee football coach Butch Jones shows off the Vols’ new alternate uniform modeled by linebacker Curt Maggitt, center, while offensive lineman Zach Fulton, left, and linebacker A.J. Johnson model the traditional uniforms during media day at Neyland Stadium on Thursday.

Butch Jones hosts fashion show unveiling new Tennessee uniforms

Butch Jones answers questions about the new smokey-gray uniform

The University of Tennessee’s traditional color palette is adding a giant splash of gray.

The Vols unveiled an alternate uniform for their football wardrobe on Thursday, showing off a shadowy gray jersey and pants — the color is officially dubbed “smokey” — complemented by the traditional orange numbers and lettering.

There were some other less dramatic changes among the five uniforms that head coach Butch Jones showed off on his player models during a locker room fashion show that included mood lighting and music.

“I’m excited because our players are excited, and I think our fan base is excited,” Jones said. “The great thing about Tennessee is we have tradition. But any great organization is always embracing change.”

Few changes get college football fans more riled up than uniform alterations, which is why Jones stressed several times that he didn’t consider the changes to be too radical.

“We have the best colors in the country, and with the smokey gray jersey, I think it just adds to it,” he said.

The gray uniform is an alternate look that likely will be used in only one home game in 2013. The other less significant changes to the traditional home and road uniforms probably won’t be as alarming to traditionalists.

The primary home uniform still will include an orange jersey and white pants and the road jersey will have a white jersey with orange pants. But the white jerseys now have a checkerboard pattern on the numbers, a Power T logo on the back and “TENNESSEE” written above the numbers on the front. The orange jersey will have the outline of the state of Tennessee above the player names on the back of the jersey.

Players said they were excited about the changes. UT showed a video of Jones announcing the new look to players during a team meeting Thursday morning. Many players stood and cheered when linebacker Curtis Maggitt, who served as the primary gray-uniform model, strode into the meeting room.

“There had been a little talk about gray uniforms, and coach Jones was telling us there was going to be a surprise,” redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Peterman said. “When (Maggitt) came in, I was pretty pumped about it, to be honest.”

While Jones said he expects fans will like the new look, that’s not his primary audience.

“It’s all about recruiting,” he said.

That means capturing teens’ attention with bold designs.

“My phone has blown up with recruits across the country who are very, very excited,” Jones said.

Peterman, only a couple of years removed from the recruiting process, isn’t surprised.

“The high school kids like the bling, I guess. I think the young guys are going to like it,” he said.

Jones said don’t expect the uniform fashion show to be an annual event. This year’s changes were done carefully and cautiously in an effort to reflect “class” and tradition at Tennessee. He even cited the “smokey” gray uniforms worn by the undefeated 1914 UT team.

“We’re not going to be a program that’s all over the place with our uniforms,” he said.

The Vols play at the University of Oregon, a program known for its jersey diversity, on Sept. 14. Jones said the gray jerseys will be worn during a home game. Could it be Oct. 5 against Georgia? Oct. 19 against South Carolina?

“We have not decided which game it will be,” Jones said. “That’s still in discussions. As of now, the plan is a one-game deal. It could grow from that.”

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

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Comments » 52

miatatom writes:

Nothing like snappy grey to really jazz up the uniforms. UGH, they're awful.

ChadsFordVolunteer writes:

"It could grow from that."(meaning more than one game). Is Bama doing this in order to recruit, Coach Jones?

Nash Rambler Paint Primer Gray - sickening! Why don't we get some clown shoes to go with the orange socks too!

BillsBrother writes:

Yeah. OK. If it excites a few more recruits into signing with the Big Orange, I can cheer for the Smokey uniforms!

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

South Carolina seemed to really like our black jerseys in 09. That was the most fired up Tennessee team I ever saw. We kicked off to Carolina, and 4 minutes later we're ahead 14 to 0. Lets save the grey jerseys for them. I hope they wear them for more than just one game though.

ChadsFordVolunteer writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

South Carolina seemed to really like our black jerseys in 09. That was the most fired up Tennessee team I ever saw. We kicked off to Carolina, and 4 minutes later we're ahead 14 to 0. Lets save the grey jerseys for them. I hope they wear them for more than just one game though.

All that having to resort to a Mississippi State type gimmick in order to beat the likes of South Carolina means is you've conceded you're no longer in the Bama's league. That's exactly the same thing this move signals today. We might as well call ourselves the Bumstead Grays.

Vol1973 writes:

A grey metallic helmet is needed to finish off the package. A white helmet looks like a leftover. Oh well... go win with any color!!!

Go Vols !!! VFL !

snafu14u#241639 writes:

It's humorous to hear some of the "old guard" bellyache and whine about updating for a game a uniform. The shade of orange that UT uses has changed over the years for crying out loud. Back in "the day" it was more yellow (like the daisies on The Hill) than orange. Love a little change....about time. Bonzai Vol

onetruevol706 writes:

I like them...they look good. Way better than those black uniforms from the USC game. While people keep bringing up Bama and uga they've tweaked theirs also. UGA has done alternate uniforms and helmets even switching at halftime...halftime that's a gimmick

td writes:

At some point, there'll be: gray jerseys/orange pants; grey jerseys/white pants; orange jerseys/gray pants; and white jerseys/grey pants. I believe, with the traditional orange and whites, that's about 8 uniform combinations available for a 12 game schedule, or a different look for each SEC opponent. I don't know if that's a good idea or not. I know Bammer uni's look about the same as they did when I saw Joe Namath (didn't start -- injured knee) & the Bear in 1964 in Doug Dickey's first season. LSU is another school that hasn't changed much in the last 50 or so years. On the other hand, if smokey grey motivates the current players to maximum effort and makes the difference in one recruit signing with the Vols, I'm all for it.

VolsFanInAfghanistan writes:

Oh how I really wish I could say what I want on this page to some of you. If I could i'm sure I would be in a parking lot lining some of you up for a good ole fashion TENNESSEE @#$ whoopin. Uniforms do not make a team, the young men on that team make it. What does it matter if we change for a game or two? Some of you whine about us losing and we need change. Some of you whine about the coaching staff and the front office. Nothing is going to make everyone happy, but if wearing a new uni makes the young men playing this game happy them let them go out and have fun playing for the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE. Some of you truly need to get over yourselves. It's not about what you want, its about what help sell the Volunteer brand to the new generation of players.

MarbleCitySon writes:

I think the alternate uni is great. But after seeing the players' reaction, I know it's great. Regardless of what anyone outside the team thinks, it doesn't matter. I was born and raised in Knoxville, raised a Vol fan. I did not attend the university, my brother did, I decided to serve. So, with that being said, I may not have paid money to be a Volunteer, I was born one instead, by the grace of God. I don't know how many people on this site know what it's like to be a part of something bigger than themselves, but this uniform is just that. It's bigger than any fans' or alums opinion. I'm not a fan of a particular color, or jersey, or helmet, I'm a fan of the team of young men who choose to represent my state on the football field. And if anyone chooses to rebut my statement, don't talk to me about tradition, I'm in a branch of service that's older than the nation itself.

td writes:

Worst thing of the day: Who decided to remove the black trim from the orange numbers on the white jerseys? Now we're back to unreadable numbers on game day unless you've got rattle your jewelry seats. And it's just as bad on television.

GburgOrange writes:

in response to td:

Worst thing of the day: Who decided to remove the black trim from the orange numbers on the white jerseys? Now we're back to unreadable numbers on game day unless you've got rattle your jewelry seats. And it's just as bad on television.

I saw that to. it was hard to see for everyone and very hard to read on TV.
I could get used to smoke on occasion.
No Kiffin black!

LibertyVolance writes:

The gray uniform screams out for a matching gray helmet with orange stripe. If you are going to make a major change, then make it coordinate color-wise.

RealisticVol writes:

GRAY? BLING? How does that compute? I have liked everything I have read about how Coach Jones is shaking things up..........................UNTIL THIS. At least the last "change" was to black, a power and dominance color! GRAY? BLAH GRAY? Any players cheering for that were just supporting the coach!

Stanman08 writes:

in response to ChadsFordVolunteer:

"It could grow from that."(meaning more than one game). Is Bama doing this in order to recruit, Coach Jones?

Nash Rambler Paint Primer Gray - sickening! Why don't we get some clown shoes to go with the orange socks too!

Get a life. these uniforms look good. And if they boost this team's ability to perform, then Jones has accomplished his objective. if you don't like them, turn the game off when they wear them

afbiii#627897 writes:

Knoxville attorney and regular army veteran, John Williams, published an “Address to the People of East Tennessee” in both Knoxville and Nashville newspapers on November 10, 1812. In it he called for every man to assemble at his home “mounted on a strong horse, armed with a musket or rifle, with a brace of pistols, a tomahawk and a butcher’s knife – dressed in black hat, black hunting shirt or roundabout and pantaloons” for an expedition into the wilds of the southern frontier controlled by the Creeks and Seminoles”. That would make the original Vol uniforms black helmet, black shirt, and khaki/brown pants. Since Col. Williams served some thirty years on UT's Board he would have no doubt picked a few of those daisies from the Hill and wouldn't have minded some orange mixed in somewhere. Nothing EVER stays the same. Go Vols!

proudveteran writes:

There have been reports from players and recruits on the "Smokey Gray" uniforms. Since this was the idea of Coach Jones, would any one of them express opposition to their coach? Absolutely not if you want to remain in his good graces.

Razzle writes:

in response to VolsFanInAfghanistan:

Oh how I really wish I could say what I want on this page to some of you. If I could i'm sure I would be in a parking lot lining some of you up for a good ole fashion TENNESSEE @#$ whoopin. Uniforms do not make a team, the young men on that team make it. What does it matter if we change for a game or two? Some of you whine about us losing and we need change. Some of you whine about the coaching staff and the front office. Nothing is going to make everyone happy, but if wearing a new uni makes the young men playing this game happy them let them go out and have fun playing for the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE. Some of you truly need to get over yourselves. It's not about what you want, its about what help sell the Volunteer brand to the new generation of players.

Outstanding post! Totally agree.

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

They really need to hold off on the grey uniform until next year. It should be worn at a home game where the whole game and gameday experience is dedicated to paying tribute to that undefeated 1914 team, and descendants of the players/coaches are invited and introduced on the field at halftime.

Come on? You're going to blow that PR opportunity by wearing them this year when next year is the 100th anniversary of that team? What are you thinking? I'll bet if Jones told them he wanted to wait, all the players would understand the reasoning.

That 1914 team went 9-0, including 4 shutouts -- 89-0, 67-0, 66-0, 27-0 -- and outscored their opponents 374-37!

Love the look though.

lahvolman2 writes:

in response to MarbleCitySon:

I think the alternate uni is great. But after seeing the players' reaction, I know it's great. Regardless of what anyone outside the team thinks, it doesn't matter. I was born and raised in Knoxville, raised a Vol fan. I did not attend the university, my brother did, I decided to serve. So, with that being said, I may not have paid money to be a Volunteer, I was born one instead, by the grace of God. I don't know how many people on this site know what it's like to be a part of something bigger than themselves, but this uniform is just that. It's bigger than any fans' or alums opinion. I'm not a fan of a particular color, or jersey, or helmet, I'm a fan of the team of young men who choose to represent my state on the football field. And if anyone chooses to rebut my statement, don't talk to me about tradition, I'm in a branch of service that's older than the nation itself.

AMEN..and..AMEN...Great post!!!!!!!!!!!

Moost writes:

These men represent the school, the state, their families, and their team. Please note that I did not write uniforms.

Some old (mind and/or body) people here are mistaking uniforms for national flags. It is a team of young men coached by a team of older men. I do not want them to care about the opinions of people who contribute nothing to their team other than a Joan Rivers type commentary on what they are wearing.

I cheer for the teams of my alma mater.

Personally I like the smoky uniforms. It makes the home orange look painfully dull though. Of course that may be because of the model chosen to wear the orange stuff.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to LibertyVolance:

The gray uniform screams out for a matching gray helmet with orange stripe. If you are going to make a major change, then make it coordinate color-wise.

I'll go along with that..Gray and white doesn't work..Iam all for a little change but I think they really missed the mark.. What I hate are the orange pants. Iam sure it has no relevance but all my memories of the orange pants are of us losing big wearing them

westknoxrepub writes:

I'm sure there were people screaming in the 60's when Dickey created what most of the people here now are screaming about not changing.

rbwtn writes:

Change is good in anything if done correct.

drwut70 writes:

Whats new and whats the big deal my son (an O state grad) ask me? Google Oklahoma State uniforms -- imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

SherVols writes:

Very DISAPPOINTED in Jones and Hart. These uniforms are TERRIBLE. Last year, you could not even tell it was AR on the field -- fans and players hated them. Now, we will look just as stupid. The young men that I have talked to have the desire to wear ORANGE and WHITE like Reggie White, Willie Gualt and Peyton Manning. Do you want a sea of GREY in the stadium -- very disappointing! Love the boys and girls --and always want the best for them!

DukeDeLuca2 writes:

The Big Orange.

Not UCLA.

The Big Orange.

Not the Big Gray.

The Big Orange.

Fire Sgt. Carter!

maxvolfan#217855 writes:

They will have a Smokey Helmet with the uniform.

Ottery writes:

Great look! Change is good. Way to go coach. Keep up the change.

71 grad.

cazirkle#615142 writes:

If it can fire up the team and they go out and play their hearts out for the Big Orange, I am all for a uniform change....I am one of the old guard and I like the new colors...it is 2013 and we have to move forward...I was born in K-town and went to school there in 1964 for a short time and then put a different color uniform...and those uniform colors have changed since that time also...I am now living in another state watch many UT games on TV during the season....with all the personnel changes that have taken place since Fulmer and his staff were run off, uniform changes would be the least of my concerns.....go big orange...we love you in South Carolina....

BigOrangeFreak writes:

in response to VolsFanInAfghanistan:

Oh how I really wish I could say what I want on this page to some of you. If I could i'm sure I would be in a parking lot lining some of you up for a good ole fashion TENNESSEE @#$ whoopin. Uniforms do not make a team, the young men on that team make it. What does it matter if we change for a game or two? Some of you whine about us losing and we need change. Some of you whine about the coaching staff and the front office. Nothing is going to make everyone happy, but if wearing a new uni makes the young men playing this game happy them let them go out and have fun playing for the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE. Some of you truly need to get over yourselves. It's not about what you want, its about what help sell the Volunteer brand to the new generation of players.

Well said.

And I'll join you out in the parking lot. Some of these people need a good brain-duster.

drwut70 writes:

in response to BigOrangeFreak:

Well said.

And I'll join you out in the parking lot. Some of these people need a good brain-duster.

Be careful Big Orange freak. Some of these old fart grey hairs do not fight physically any more. They learned fire power is much more effective in a jungle 40 plus years ago. And it is much easier with Tennessee's liberal carry laws!!

madrigal writes:

Since when is gray a UT color? Oh well, it's not the end of the world as some want to think. It's just one of those things that might be corrected in a few years. Or not. The fate of the world doesn't hang on stuff like this.

tanasi2 writes:

There are only two colors that you can add to the Vol uniform that highlight the Orange. Those two colors are White or Black. Get rid of the Grey and use Black and you'll have a sharp alternative uniform. But, since Kiffin used Black jerseys, nobody else wants to use Black. Big Mistake!!! The Grey is UGLY!!!

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to Vol1973:

A grey metallic helmet is needed to finish off the package. A white helmet looks like a leftover. Oh well... go win with any color!!!

Go Vols !!! VFL !

73, i agree, but what about a flat black helmet and an Orange T??? Hmmmmm?

illinoisvolfan writes:

Bottom line...if the Vols win in the "smokey" gray unis, the fan reaction will be more positive. If they lose in them, we'll all say they look like cr@p.

volistic writes:

in response to VolsFanInAfghanistan:

Oh how I really wish I could say what I want on this page to some of you. If I could i'm sure I would be in a parking lot lining some of you up for a good ole fashion TENNESSEE @#$ whoopin. Uniforms do not make a team, the young men on that team make it. What does it matter if we change for a game or two? Some of you whine about us losing and we need change. Some of you whine about the coaching staff and the front office. Nothing is going to make everyone happy, but if wearing a new uni makes the young men playing this game happy them let them go out and have fun playing for the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE. Some of you truly need to get over yourselves. It's not about what you want, its about what help sell the Volunteer brand to the new generation of players.

Great post. However, it is fun to read some of these sky-is-falling posts, where people are actually freaking out because we will change uniforms for one game this year. My dad always said that the older you get, the more you want to maintain the status quo. These people probably eat the same thing for breakfast every day, drive the same route to work (or other destinations), watch the same TV shows, eat at the same restaurants (and order the same thing each time), etc. That's fine, I just hope I never get that way, no matter how old I get.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 10seVol85_Part_Deux:

They really need to hold off on the grey uniform until next year. It should be worn at a home game where the whole game and gameday experience is dedicated to paying tribute to that undefeated 1914 team, and descendants of the players/coaches are invited and introduced on the field at halftime.

Come on? You're going to blow that PR opportunity by wearing them this year when next year is the 100th anniversary of that team? What are you thinking? I'll bet if Jones told them he wanted to wait, all the players would understand the reasoning.

That 1914 team went 9-0, including 4 shutouts -- 89-0, 67-0, 66-0, 27-0 -- and outscored their opponents 374-37!

Love the look though.

That is an outstanding idea..+100

cpasteve writes:

in response to miatatom:

Nothing like snappy grey to really jazz up the uniforms. UGH, they're awful.

Beige. I think I'll paint the ceiling beige.

traderjoe writes:

in response to Vol1973:

A grey metallic helmet is needed to finish off the package. A white helmet looks like a leftover. Oh well... go win with any color!!!

Go Vols !!! VFL !

Agree. Change the helmet. If the players picked this uniform and it'll help recruiting, who cares...even if it's pink.

volschick22 writes:

I have seen many pictures of these uniforms. I actually like the grey, but in some of the pictures it looked blue. That's probably the pictures people are seeing when they are complaining. We better get us some nice grey helmets. Maybe have white numbers with orange trim.

webgent writes:

I like the idea of change, but I would have thought navy blue or black with the orange and white. I think Navy and orange and white would look really good. Different combinations. Not really crazy about the smoky gray, but will have to see them in person.

pcshowtime writes:

I like this a lot more than the tradition of the last three years. Look cut coach jones some slack. Why because he is winning in recruiting if he was 34th in the country in recruiting I would say who needs it too. Rivals number one ranked recruiting class baby. This year maybe a little rough. But, you will see improvement as the year goes on. Dooley's team got worse as the year went on. Keep showing me results coach jones I love it.

jibthe3rd writes:

The best:: all white with 'finally' enough orange in different places to offset properly.

The worst:: orange pants white shirt is hideous. Looks like a cheap 70's sitcom uniform some producer threw on one of the 8 is enough kids.

silicon28 writes:

in response to miatatom:

Nothing like snappy grey to really jazz up the uniforms. UGH, they're awful.

Wow... So true. Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen the picture. UT going the way of Oregon? No thanks; these are perhaps the ugliest uniforms I've EVER seen for a Vols team - and I'm including all of Don DeVoe's "Carolina Blue" trim basketball uniforms. I'm going to be embarrassed to watch this...

TnMolly writes:

Love 'em.... Now, play ball! GBO!!!

Enki_Amenra writes:

Hmmm...

I think they look good, but they could be even better. They seem incomplete - maybe it's the helmet...

I reserve the right to hold my opinion until I see them on the field, on a gameday.

They look decent enough on individual players, but... how will they look when you have 11 of them on the field?

How will the linemen/linebackers appear when they are shoulder to should?

How will the o-line/qb/rb's look when they are in formation?

I'm not sure, but I have a feeling it will be much easier to make a strong opinion after seeing them on gameday.

They may appear very attractive after seeing them in action - or - they may look worse than they appear on a single individual modeling them.

Personally, I think they should do a modern reproduction of the historic UT jerseys - dating back to the first leather helmet unis.

Maybe they could break a new version out at homecoming each year... I know some of the old uniforms would look awesome if they were modernized, such as;

the long-sleeved orange jersey with the white 'box' on the mid-chest, a white 'box' on the interior bicep, and a white box on the interior forearm.

the very dark navy blue (it looks almost black) long-sleeved jersey with a large orange 'Power T' on the upper chest, off-white boxes on the top of shoulders, and a long white box on the back of the arm, extending from wrist to tricep.

the very dark solid navy blue long-sleeved jersey, with 10 orange stripes on the sleeves, extending from wrist to just beneath the arm-pit area.

I think modernizing any of those jerseys (which were the #2, #3, & #4 series of jerseys ever worn by the vols) would be quite impressive.

Also, doing something like that is something that other teams aren't already doing a lot and it should serve to keep the traditionalist fans from puking in their mouth when they see them on the field.

volcraze writes:

in response to MarbleCitySon:

I think the alternate uni is great. But after seeing the players' reaction, I know it's great. Regardless of what anyone outside the team thinks, it doesn't matter. I was born and raised in Knoxville, raised a Vol fan. I did not attend the university, my brother did, I decided to serve. So, with that being said, I may not have paid money to be a Volunteer, I was born one instead, by the grace of God. I don't know how many people on this site know what it's like to be a part of something bigger than themselves, but this uniform is just that. It's bigger than any fans' or alums opinion. I'm not a fan of a particular color, or jersey, or helmet, I'm a fan of the team of young men who choose to represent my state on the football field. And if anyone chooses to rebut my statement, don't talk to me about tradition, I'm in a branch of service that's older than the nation itself.

First of all, thank you for serving but we are talking about a football tradition here. Not life and death. Since I was born in West Knox I have known UTs colors to be orange and white. No need to change now. Yes I will support the team just the same but I sure dont like breaking tradition.

BayLee writes:

Adapt and survive...stagnate and perish...recruit well and thrive. Anyone who drives a Ford vehicle and it is not black, cannot, in good faith, complain.

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