Over the summer, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said that the Volunteers were working on a plan to wear black jerseys this season in their matchup against Kentucky. The look hasn’t been seen since Lane Kiffin pulled them out on Halloween night back in 2009 against South Carolina.
As it turns out, we’ll have to wait a little longer to see them again. Pruitt admitted a mistake on his part on Monday, teasing the jerseys before doing all of his homework. He said that due to current contracts, the Volunteers aren’t actually allowed to wear black jerseys this season.
“I’ve learned a really good lesson as a head football coach,” Pruitt said on Monday. “There are contracts within our organization that are about our apparel and what we’re allowed to wear. It’s something that our players and staff want to do. It’s something that we’re not going to be able to do from the standpoint of our contract. We’re going to find ways within our organization to raise money and support local institutions. We’re not going to be able to do it this game. Nike guaranteed us that from now on we would be able to have black jerseys. It’s something we’ve worked hard on within our administration to get done.”
Tennessee has been by the book as far as uniforms go since Phillip Fulmer and Jeremy Pruitt have been in place. They’ve returned even more to a traditional Tennessee look, shelving the ‘smokey grey’ alternates that we saw during the Butch Jones era.
Alternates do have their place in college football, as evidenced by any recruit’s twitter account during a campus visit. However, there are plenty of traditionalists that would simply rather see the orange and white every week, understandably so.
We’ll see what Nike comes up with for Tennessee, maybe now as early as 2021.