The culture is changing, we finally have the right staff in place, and we're on the cusp of competing for the SEC Crown ... now it's time to address our appearance! I know that I've posted a similar piece at the beginning of the season but with Nike's recent unveiling of Oregon's 'Rose Bowl' uniform as a dedicated Vandy fan I can't help but want to ask the question: What is Vanderbilt doing in the uniform/equipment department?
Imagine a Vandy team with one of the best looking uniforms; not only in the SEC, but in the country!
http://www.nikeinc.com/news/oregon-ducks-will-wear-most-innovative-football-uniform-to-date-for-rose-bowl#/inline/6240CJF mentioned prior to the season that his focus was solely on winning football games and not with 'secondary subjects'; such as uniforms. I realize that they weren't a priority then ... but they should be now! After we win the Liberty Bowl this weekend we will be approaching our final push in recruiting and entering into the post-season. I believe CJF understands the relevance that appearance means to kids these days. Look at how much came from our unveiling of the black helmets this year. Our players ate it up, the fans loved it (for the most part), and you can bet that our recruits noticed. Kids care just as much about looking good in college as they do about education, location, facilities, playing time and even brand association. We can't argue that fact.
Given how the SEC is known to be traditionalist in nature when it comes to appearance I think that a push by Vandy to negotiate a unique Nike Pro Combat uniform would significantly support our efforts to draw attention within our conference and with kids across the nation. Think about it. Ten years ago most kids didn't even know where the University of Oregon was on the map. Now, they constantly compete for the top athletes in the nation. It comes down to two key changes. Upgraded facilities and sexy new uniforms. "If you look good you play good!" Kids are drawn to Oregon solely for the uniforms, facilities, and style of play. They have very few athletes playing in the NFL, they play in a weak conference, and aren't exactly in the best region of the country; yet they have made their presence on the national stage.
Vandy has a lot to offer. As CJF says, "We can offer something that very few schools in the nation can!" The four points that he pushes (location, conference, education, playing time) are significant and seem to be working beautifully. However, imagine if we could also offer an upgraded stadium with a jumbotron and state-of-the-art turf, a brand new indoor practice facility, and the most dynamic uniforms in the best conference in America!!!
SEC schools know they can't match our academics but they beat us out with facilities and tradition. We have the coaching staff in place to permanently change the culture. We have a proven track record of prepping kids for the NFL (Cutler, Bennett, Moore, etc.). We're finally upgrading/building facilities to meet SEC standards. Now we need to add that 'sex appeal' that will give us the advantage against other schools. Then, we truly will have something NO other school in the country can offer!
The majority of the current uniform combinations that we have are successful (black on black, white on black, gold on black), but the materials themselves could use some work. The only thing that I wouldn't change is that I love our black pants with nothing but the 'Star-n-V' logo on one side and the Nike logo on the other. I love the concept of having two helmets; not only for looks, but for practicality. However, I would definitely get rid of black/white stripe on our gold helmets. How old is that?! I've never been a fan of the white or gold pants either. The white pants look too much like a baseball uniform and I'm sure they're difficult to maintain during the year. Also, can we please use the same color scheme throughout the uniforms? The gold pants, for some reason, have never been the right color and just look silly. I love the color schemes of all of our jerseys except for the gold. They should change the names and numbers on the gold jerseys to black with true gold trim. We look like a Junior College out there when the names on the back of the jerseys don't even match the color of the numbers. I would be interested to see what the black uniforms would look like with gold names/numbers vs. white. And I've always hated the pin striping from the collar, down the side of the numbers, and around the back. What is that all about?!
Either way, things are changing in Nashville and as a lifetime 'Dore I couldn't be happier. Let's go 'Dores ... shock the world!!!