Aug. 3, 2013
By Brian Rice
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.- Beyond the usual fresh look of perfectly manicured grass, brand new footballs and the gleam of the newly-completed Anderson Training Center overlooking the scene, there were a few new looks that stood out on the practice field as the Volunteers kicked off pre-season camp 2013 on Friday afternoon. The coaching staff had player names added to the backs of the team practice jerseys, as well as Vol Scholar patches that had previously appeared only on game jerseys.
But perhaps the most noticeable new uniform element that appeared in the opening session was a black stripe on the helmets of the newest Tennessee players.
"One of the best things we do in our personal development program here at Tennessee is our big brother program," Butch Jones said after practice Friday. "That is part of the big brother program. When they've earned their stripes, their big brother will come up and rip that off of the helmet because they've earned it."
Quarterback Justin Worley said the program helped make the upperclassmen more accountable for the development of their newest teammates.
"As senior and juniors and upperclassmen, we can evaluate the freshmen and really watch what they d and watch how they progress," Worley said. "Once they earn their stripes, we rip it off and they're part of the team."
Worley was one of the players that qualified for a Vol Scholar patch, and said he was proud to wear the award that is given out by the Thornton Center to student-athletes that achieve a 3.0 or higher GPA in the previous semester.
"It's an honor to have that on my jersey," Worley said. "It goes to show the hard work that myself and everyone else that gets to wear one put in off the field as well. I'm glad I'm a guy that can represent the school by wearing one of those."
The players, including defensive tackle Daniel McCullers, were excited about the addition of names on the back of the jerseys.
"It's a good new addition to Team 117," he said. "It's something special and we're going to continue to grow with it."
Jones said the names were done to reward the team for the hard work put in since the conclusion of spring practice, but that he and the coaching staff wouldn't allow the players to forget what mattered most on the uniform.
"It's a reward," Jones said. "But the name that matters the most is the Power T on the front of the jersey."