Tennessee football mailbag: Time for Vols to dig out black jerseys?
Here’s your chance to weigh in on Tennessee football, via our mailbag column featuring the best questions supplied to SEC Country beat writer Mike Griffith from the Tennessee Volunteers Insiders page on Facebook or Mike’s Twitter account @MikeGriffith32.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee fans are hoping for a different look from their football team, perhaps in more ways than one.
The Vols (3-4 0-4 SEC) take to the road this week to play Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at Kroger Field in Lexington.
Tennessee has an active streak of 14 consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown entering the game with the Wildcats — a bad look to be sure. The Vols’ coaches and players have talked about wanting to look better on offense.
As for how they look in their uniforms, nothing new is expected in Lexington.
Kentucky, as the home team, is expected to wear their blue uniforms while the Vols will be in white.
That leads us to ….
Tennessee Football Question of the Day
When will be wearing the black Jerseys again? — Stuart Horton
Tennessee athletic director John Currie said he leaves uniform color combinations to the discretion of each sport’s coaching staff.
The issue came up again this fall, when Currie announced he was reinstating the use of the Lady Vols nickname to all of Tennessee athletics at the discretion of each sports program.
The Lady Vols softball uniforms have already been ordered, but Tennessee has plans to re-introduce as much light blue into the game day dress as possible under those circumstances.
As for the black jerseys, they haven’t been worn at Tennessee since 2009 when Lane Kiffin was the coach.
The Vols beat No. 21-ranked South Carolina 31-13 that night at Neyland Stadium.
The Halloween Night victory against former Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier came with only 96,263 in attendance in Knoxville.
That Kiffin team was 3-4 at the time of the game against South Carolina en route to a 7-6 finish — despite a roster filled with six NFL draft picks, including All-American Eric Berry.
Tennessee fans didn’t know it at the time, but Kiffin’s staff also committed several violations during his one season as coach.
The rule-breaking under Kiffin’s leadership triggered a three-year NCAA investigation that ultimately led to the Vols being placed on probation through 2014.
The black jerseys were also a source of controversy at the time, with many Tennessee fans encouraging the traditional usage of the orange and white uniform combination.
Coach Butch Jones has not said anything about wearing black jerseys this season, and neither have any of the players.