no. 3 Tennessee will bring back its all-black, ‘dark mode’ look, with a twist, for Saturday night’s game against Kentucky, the program announced on social media Tuesday afternoon.
The Vols announced they’ll be wearing their black jerseys, black pants and new black helmets when they kick off with Kentucky (5-2, 2-2 SEC) at 7 pm ET inside of Neyland Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPN.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) October 25, 2022
The Vols were in their traditional orange jerseys and white pants for last week’s 65-24 win over UT Martin, but with a twist. They wore them with ‘Summitt Blue’ accessories — the same color the Lady Vols use in their uniforms — with the game celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Title IX movement.
Tennessee simply wore its traditional orange jerseys and white pants the week prior in its thrilling 52-49 win over Alabama. It wore its Smokey Gray alternate uniform in the 40-13 win over LSU on October 8 at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge and were in their traditional home uniform in the 38-33 win over Florida on September 24, inside a checkerboard, sold-out Neyland Stadium.
Tennessee went with orange jerseys and orange pants in the 63-6 win over Akron on September 17, it was white on white in the overtime win at Pitt on September 10 and the classic orange on white for the season-opening win over Ball State on September 1 in Knoxville.
Three weeks ago was the first time since 2017 that the Vols wore the Smokey Gray alternate. It was the first time the uniform had been worn on the road, against an LSU team that went with white jerseys, white helmets and white pants, its own alternate uniform look. The Tigers traditionally wear white jerseys at home with yellow helmets and yellow pants.
Last season the Vols introduced an alternate black uniform — black jersey with orange numbers, black pants and black accents on the traditional white helmet — that was worn twice, in a win over South Carolina and a loss against No. 1 Georgia.
Tennessee wore a white helmet with the first “Smokey Gray” look in 2013. The Vols introduced a gray helmet with mountains, an orange stripe and and orange Power T, in 2015.
head coach Josh Heupel hinted at getting the Vols back in the alternate uniform business in July 2021, though, saying at the time that he would be open to combining the “great iconic logo” at Tennessee with a “new-age approach” while “celebrating the great traditions that are Tennessee football.”
“It’s going to take a lot of different forms,” Heupel said when as asked the “new-age approach” comment. “It’s the way that we communicate inside of our building. Every interaction that we have with players, with staff, with janitors, it doesn’t matter who it is, creating and harnessing energy inside of our building.
“I think that’s a really important thing that we’ve tried to build with our VFLs too is harnessing that energy and creating positive momentum that surrounds our program where our kids feel that every single day.”
Later Heupel talked more specifically about uniform possibilities.
“As we move forward, it may be different opportunities as far as what the uniform looks like when you run out on the field,” Heupel said. “Look good, feel good, play good.
“We want to create a positive player experience from the moment that they step on campus until they’re done but have a long-term relationship with them that lasts forever.”