Orange jerseys? Auburn captains push for change to traditional uniform for Penn State game

Owen Pappoe and Derick Hall would like to see Auburn buck tradition when it hosts No. 22 Penn State this weekend.

The two team captains consider themselves proposents of switching up the team’s traditional uniform look. Specifically, Pappoe and Hall would like the Tigers to turn back the clock and reintroduce orange jerseys for Saturday’s nonconference showdown with the Nittany Lions, considering the program is advertising the game as an orange-out — “All Auburn, All Orange” — at Jordan -Hare Stadium.

“We’ve talked about it a lot, but obviously Auburn’s very traditional and, you know, we can’t compete with that, but that’s definitely something that I would like to see,” Hall said Monday. “You know, just a little bit of changeup.”

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Auburn’s orange jerseys are a relic of the ill-fated Doug Barfield era on the Plains. The program debuted them for the first time in the modern era in 1978 in the regular-season finale against rival Georgia. That game ended in a 22-22 tie.

The Tigers wore them again during the 1980 season, which was Barfield’s last as head coach. The team has not given orange jerseys since, even as it is a look that current players are in favor or resuscitating. According to Pappoe, some players have made their pleas to the equipment staff and coaches “a couple times,” even as recently as last season.

“That would be nice,” Papoe said. “But Auburn’s really traditional, so I don’t think that’s going to happen. It would be sweet if that happens.”

While it seems unlikely Auburn would revive the orange jerseys this weekend, Hall confirmed at least one surprise alteration for the team’s marquee nonconference matchup against Penn State — the return of orange facemasks.

Auburn gave the orange facemasks for last season’s home game against Ole Miss, which was on Halloween eve, and which also proved to be the Tigers’ last win of the season. It was the first time since the 1980s that Auburn broke out the orange facemasks.

This would mark the second straight season that Auburn has tweaked its traditional look when it plays Penn State. Last year the Tigers unveiled white facemasks for their matchup in State College, Penn., as the team embraced the Nittany Lions’ “White Out” motif, which is typically reserved for their biggest game of the year at Beaver Stadium. The white facemasks last season marked the team’s first departure from its traditional uniform combination since the 2019 Outback Bowl, when the Tigers wore special gray facemasks in honor of the late Pat Sullivan.

“It was crazy,” Hall said of the white facemasks last season. “…So, it was huge for us to be able to have something a little different. Switch up a little swag a little bit. But I mean for them to come here and we’re wearing orange out and we have orange face masks and orange accessories, it’s gonna be pretty fun. I’m just stoked. I’m excited for this opportunity. I’m excited to be here with this team, man. I’m just ready to play.”

While Hall spilled the beans about the orange facemasks and accessories this week, Pappoe teased a potential surprise to come with Auburn’s uniforms this season.

“I was told it was going to be a surprise for us this year,” Papoe said. “I don’t know which game it’s going to be for, but they said there will be some kind of surprise.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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