Dan Fleser weighs in on UT's new football jerseys
A video game might be making a summer fashion statement regarding Tennessee football.
A possible preview of UT’s uniforms comes courtesy of EA Sports’ “NCAA Football 14.” This season’s version, which was released on Tuesday, showcases several alterations to Tennessee’s football attire.
The biggest changes involve UT’s away jerseys. They have “Tennessee” in small type running across the front with the iconic checkerboard end zone pattern adorning the orange numbers.
On the home uniforms, the 'Power T' is moved down from the collar to right above the numbers.
Both uniforms depicted in the video game have a checkboard design on the sleeves along with a state of Tennessee patch above the players’ names.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones confirmed the Tennessee patch to the News Sentinel on Monday, along with the checkerboard background to the orange numbers on the road uniforms.
UT did not release any prototypes.
Jones said the changes would be subtle. The state patch reinforces his statewide message.
In an interview this week with govols247.com’s Wes Rucker, Tennessee director of athletics Dave Hart paid his respects to Tennessee’s tradition, describing the university as “one of the few institutions, one of the few athletic departments in the country that has history and tradition that is nearly unparalleled by anyone else. There are only a handful of schools in that conversation.”
Still, Hart alluded to the likelihood of uniform changes, mentioning both Jones and the players.
“Part of what makes Butch Jones such a good fit at the University of Tennessee and I believe one of the rising stars in the coaching profession is that he does — as you’ve articulated to me in the past — he understands young people,” Hart said. “He understands them very well. He understands how to communicate with them. He understands their wishes and desires as it relates to it being 2013 and one of those — whether we like it or not — is the ability, within reason, to tweak something that excites them.”
Hart didn’t offer any specifics, other than to say: “Yes, we’re looking at things — again, nothing that would upset the apple cart of our tradition — but yes, we’re looking at some tweaks at some appropriate times during the season.”
While Tennessee hasn’t varied much from its traditional colors, it has some history of donning different uniforms.
In 2009, the Vols wore black jerseys with orange pants for a Halloween game against South Carolina at Neyland Stadium. The combination was named the third-worst uniform combination ever by the Uni Watch blog.
Tennessee wore all orange for the SEC championship game in 2007. UT also has tried piping of various colors and sizes on the pants during the last 10 years.
Hart referred to the student-athletes in saying, “We do listen. We do listen to their needs and their desires and one of those happens to be input and candid, meaningful coversation relative to some things that might excite them as it relates to tweaks.”