Cream orange and white make for a hard palette to turn into an aesthetically pleasing uniform; just ask the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Somehow Tennessee made it worse by adopting its "smokey grey" alternates in 2013. The end result was just an ugly eye sore for college football fans to see when the Volunteers were on their TV screen.
The good news for those uniform purists among us is Tennessee is reportedly dropping this gaudy alternate uniform in 2018 under first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt in favor of a more traditional uniform set.
It’s out with the old, in with the new — or rather in with the traditional old again — for Tennessee football moving forward under Jeremy Pruitt. Tennessee will stop wearing its “smokey grey” jerseys during football games and stick to traditional orange and white, all orange and all white combinations, sources close to the program told FOX Sports Knoxville. The Vols will also only wear black cleats.
The move is a more traditional one for Tennessee, but it has some unsurprising elements. Pruitt’s last two stops, Georgia and Alabama, both have a simple look. Both wear primarily black cleats and rarely use anything other than traditional uniform combinations and colors.
It was supposed to be a nod to the region's coal-mining past. In practice, it was just... ugly. It belied any sense of identity the program had built since its inception. Cream orange and white may be hard to make work but ultimately cream orange and white are the Volunteers. It defeated the purpose to saturate and overwhelm those colors for a "smokey grey" that doesn't at all fit the rest of the football program's color palette.
For better or worse, the "smokey grey" uniforms will define the ill-fated Butch Jones era. They appeared in 2013 and became favored uniforms for "marquee" home games. All told, the Volunteers were 3-3 in those uniforms.
Their use against Georgia last season may define both the uniforms and the Butch Jones era. Georgia shut out Tennessee in Knoxville, 41-0.