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UT players drive push to wear black jersies

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Now that's a good trick.

There were rumors and speculation on the Internet all week that Tennessee would don special Halloween uniforms -specifically uniforms with black jerseys - for Saturday night's game against South Carolina.

The Vols came out for warm-ups wearing orange jerseys and orange pants, but when they lined up in the tunnel to run through the 'T' they were wearing black jerseys with orange numbers and orange pants.

It was contrary to what UT officials and coaches had been saying all week: There will be no funky uniforms for Halloween.

"On Wednesday Eric Berry and Montario Hardesty came to see me about possibly wearing black jerseys," UT athletic director Mike Hamilton said. "You know, I'm a pretty consistent person. That wasn't something I was really in favor of, but I do believe as Lane (Kiffin, UT coach) alluded to it's a players' game and those guys have represented our university in a great way all season long in the way they've handled themselves both on the field and off the field. Frankly, at that point (Wednesday) I didn't know if we could get it done."

Kiffin was first asked about the uniform changes after last Sunday's practice.

"It's a players' game," Kiffin said after the Vols' 31-13 victory. "Our players have kind of been begging for them for a while and once they knew it was a night game and it was Halloween night and a couple of players went to Mike Hamilton and asked him about it. It was unbelievable to find a way to get it done that fast. Roger Frazier (equipment manager) did an unbelievable job getting that done. I think it gave us some energy."

It wasn't the first time the Vols wore black jerseys. They wore black jerseys with white numbers in 1921. They first wore orange jerseys in 1922.

Hamilton said the black jerseys were a one-time deal. "Don't plan on doing it again," he said.

UT quarterback Jonathan Crompton said: "It was good. It was a change-up. We did if for the fans on Halloween night. When we came into the locker room (Friday night) we knew we were going to do it. It was pretty exciting."