Aug 15, 2013
By: Alex Cate
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Media day came and passed and while all eyes were on the unveiling of the Vols' new "Smokey" gray uniforms, media from all over got a chance to see the rejuvenated Tennessee football team as a whole for the first time.
In a multimedia filled day, the little subtleties of the day proved plentiful and showed a new spirit in Tennessee Football.
Remember that old video of Peyton Manning leading the Pride of the Southland Band? Now picture Antonio Richardson in the middle of the team photo waving his arms like an established maestro as his Volunteer choir sang a harmony to head coach Butch Jones.
"Butch, Butch, Butch... Jones!" they sang, obviously having practiced it beforehand. Ja'Wuan James and Zach Fulton were on a mission to find out the name of an NFL AM reporter before James conducted his own interview of Fulton for a local station.
Roommates Marlin Lane and Alton "Pig" Howard took part in game show about how well they knew each other as roommates and kept suspiciously drifting closer and closer to the locker room before having to be corralled back for more interviews.
In between team pictures, position pictures, pipeline state pictures and various print and video interviews the Tennessee team found time to stay goofy and even Jones found his way into the mix requesting a "crazy" photo after the serious ones.
But in the midst of all the hilarity, there was still a directed focus on introducing the state and even the world to a new era of Tennessee football.
And while many unanswered questions still yet to be addressed, Thursday served as a first step in having some of those questions answered.
Jones started off with the unveiling of the new uniforms which were well received by Team 117.
"It's what we do on the field," said Jones after showing how the Vols reacted to the new alternate uniform. "Bottom line winning football games but does impact and everything is about the student athlete experience. I don't think we can ever forget about that. We're asking 17-22 year old individuals to represent our tradition. To represent our great state, our institution. So they were very excited."
An emphasis was still placed on tradition and pride in that tradition despite the uniform change as well as the need to conform to modern times so as to not end up stagnant.
"The great thing here at Tennessee is we do have tradition but also you know you look at any great company, any great organization there always staying ahead of the times, they're always embracing change and change is difficult," said Jones.
In many ways, not only in their attire, the Volunteers have changed.
As the different groups made their rounds to each station and visited with media from all over, it felt like a different energy pulsed through the players and staff. But according Vol legend Condredge Holloway one thing remains the same.
Despite all the flashes and glamour of media day and the behind the scenes fun that goes on, everyone is really itching to see what happens on Saturdays.