Tennessee Football will be debuting new alternate uniforms against Kentucky after players and coaches hyped up the possibility earlier this year.
There was some hype surrounding Tennessee football earlier this year, but some of the hype wasn’t about the recruits that Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols were getting, it was about possibly wearing black jerseys this fall.
Pruitt mentioned in a virtual press conference on Thursday that black jerseys will be making its return to Neyland Stadium after players voiced their opinion about recent events.
"“It’s been really good. It’s something that Tee has done a fantastic job heading up and getting our players involved and getting feedback,” Pruitt said. “Once we get the feedback, we have to act on it. We’ve started today to get all our players registered to vote. We have speakers planned to come in here, and there are things during the season we want to do.“One of the things we want to do is when we play the Kentucky game, we want to wear black jerseys. When the game is over with, we want to find a way to auction the jerseys and raise money for Black Lives Matter. That’s just one thing that our kids have talked about.”"
The Culture Committee is another step that Pruitt is taking in the direction of standing with his players. Something that’s been circling around social media is that Jeremy Pruitt isn’t behind his players; he’s standing with them, which is the ideal coaching situation that we could ask for right now.
If you want to compete with the blue bloods of college football, then you have to find different ways to be successful. After seeing some top coaches in the country give unfavorable responses to recent events, Pruitt is giving a response that current and future players want to hear.
"“Right before the players came back, we obviously had a lot of circumstances that happened throughout our country that everybody was aware of,” Pruitt continued. “We started with just sitting down with our team and really talking about it.“I think in my lifetime, this is the first time that I can ever remember with all the things that are going on, not only in our country but in our world, there’s conversation of how to put measures in to create change. Absolutely I want to be an advocate of that, support our players, and use our platform at Tennessee to help create that.”"
I don’t want to relate everything to recruiting because some things are more important than football, but if there are players in the near future choosing between Tennessee and elite college football programs, then Pruitt’s dedication to his players could give him the edge.
Back to the jerseys, the last time Tennessee wore black jerseys during a football game was on Halloween in 2009 against South Carolina.
I remember choosing to watch the game over Halloween activities that year. My love for Tennessee football hasn’t waivered from that point as much as I would want to give up during the lowest points Tennessee has reached in the past decade.
This past Halloween was the ten year anniversary of the black jerseys making its debut and we took a look back on that day and that game, and you can read that here.
Depending on your opinion on the black jerseys, your excitement level might be at the roof for black jerseys or you could be skeptical of the return. I can almost guarantee you, these black jerseys will not be the pumpkin jerseys we saw thrown together in 2009.
Even if you didn’t like them, the black jersey’s winning percentage is much higher than the smokey grey’s. Tennessee is 1-0 in black jerseys thanks to the 31-13 win over South Carolina that Halloween night.
Now, as the world starts to get moving again, and college football programs get back to work, fans, players, and coaches will be anticipating the official announcement and debut of the new black jerseys that Tennessee will be sporting against Kentucky.