Dave Hooker Reacts to UT’s New Gray Uniforms

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Updated: August 15, 2013

Even though it was far from a well-kept secret, gray uniforms still caused a stir among Tennessee fans.

Credit the Vols with producing a quality uniform that will turn some heads. The last time Tennessee tried an alternate jersey was in 2009 at home against South Carolina.
Fans were mostly split on that new look, partly because the jerseys looked more like practice jerseys than those to be used for actual games. The jerseys didn’t look well put together because they weren’t. UT decided to try the jerseys less than a week before the South Carolina game. Needless to say, they were hastily assembled.
The gray jerseys unveiled on Thursday are clearly higher quality. Still, some fans won’t appreciate change, noting that UT’s colors are solely orange and white. However, this was a business decision. Why did the Vols offer alternate jerseys? Here are the primary reasons:

1.Recruiting -

This is reason No. 1 why the Vols decided to spruce things up. The Vols have been recruiting well under first-year Tennessee head coach Butch Jones. Yet there’s still more work to do. With 24 commitments, the Vols still need to close strong, preferably with highly rated defensive linemen.

The response from prospects has been overwhelming. As a matter of fact, one could search the internet for hours and not find one prospect who doesn’t like the new jerseys. The Vols have to upgrade their talent significantly. Whether the jerseys appeal to older fans really doesn’t matter in this regard; kids love them.

2. Change -

After three losing seasons and four head coaches since 2008, Tennessee needed to breathe fresh air into its program. Sure, fans have become more optimistic with Jones at the helm but he still hasn’t won a game at Tennessee.
There will likely still be tough times ahead if one follows preseason predictions. Using new jerseys mid-season could keep fans interested even if the Vols are in the midst of a losing season. Former coach Derek Dooley tried the same with his orange pants. This is a much bolder and likely more effective move to changing the culture at UT.

3. Motivation -

It’s hard for many of us over 25-years-old to understand what motivates a teenager. However, jerseys can be a factor. When the Vols donned their black jerseys in 2009, UT beat South Carolina, who was favored.
For the most part, fans were also hyped by the change. Sure, some traditionalists were peeved. However, Neyland Stadium hasn’t had that much electricity since the black jerseys ran onto the field.

4. Money -

Despite rising television revenue, athletic departments across the nation are struggling to bolster game day revenue. It’s too easy to sit on the couch, watch in high definition, not worry about traffic and eat cheaper food.
Football season is right around the corner. However, UT fans will still find time to buy the new gray jerseys. They will be prevalent when the Vols host Austin Peay on Aug. 31. They’ll also be bought at souvenir shops in Neyland Stadium.
Dave Hooker is a Host and Writer for Tennessee Sports Radio. You can listen to The Dave Hooker Show every Monday through Friday from 11-1 on Tennessee Sports Radio.

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