July 20, 2012
It doesn’t take long before the conversation turns to fashion.
The chatter starts at the Puffy Muffin bakery in Brentwood, Tenn., Tuesday morning, the first pit stop only 30 minutes after Vanderbilt leaves campus for SEC Media Day in Birmingham, Ala.
|by Brandon Barca (Archive)
Twitter updates @brandonbarca
“Who will be the best dressed today?” head coach James Franklin asks quarterback Jordan Rodgers, tailback Zac Stacy and cornerback Trey Wilson, the Commodores selected to represent the team that afternoon in front of more than 1,100 media members in Birmingham, Ala., to promote the upcoming season.
“I got something put together,” Wilson says without hesitation. “I’m going for the best dressed title.”
“Trey will be the best dressed. But I’ll be the best looking,” laughs Rodgers over a plate of eggs, sausage, hash browns and a biscuit.
Stacy, the SEC’s leading returning rusher, stays relatively quiet in the debate, later confessing that he was simply going for the professional look.
The trio arrives at The Wynfrey three hours later for media festivities, but first heads to the Presidential Suite on the 15th floor to change into their suits ( Watch video).
Stacy, a hometown hero 45 miles down the road in Centreville, Ala., quickly realizes he left his slacks in Nashville. That’s when panic sets in. “I almost threw up— started sweating,” Stacy admits.
Luckily for the tailback, his mom, Barbara, comes to the rescue and purchases a pair of pants in the mall attached to the hotel. “That’s what we do in the Stacy family: we make plays. She made a good one,” says the relieved son.
Rodgers and Wilson make changes to their wardrobe as well, without crisis though.
Wilson, who brings two outfits to choose from, selects his charcoal-gray suit and red power tie. His unused light gray jacket catches the eye of Rodgers, who calls an audible and borrows the threads to match up with his black pants.
Wilson is the definition of GQ. His black and white checkered shirt is trendy, and so is his silver tie bar, black pocket square and black square toe shoes.
Wilson’s thick black retro glasses garner the most talk of the day from his outfit. Reporters ask him several times if the stylish, large-frame Ray-Ban’s are real.
“I want to get this out of the way,” Wilson exclaims. “These are prescription.”
He can thank NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant, who wore fake lenses during the NBA Finals press conferences, for the questions.
Rodgers also looks sharp with a white shirt, silver checkered tie, black and silver tie bar, gray pocket square, narrow black shoes with square toes and a black and gold Nixon watch. His influence? “Ryan Gosling is a good-looking kid. I was just trying to look as GQ as possible.”
The QB’s biggest challenge of the day is perfecting a Double Windsor knot. He watches a tutorial on YouTube to get it right. “If he can read a Cover 2 defense, he should be able to tie it,” quipped Stacy.
Stacy rebounds from his earlier emergency and stands out in his three-piece suit. His black slacks go together nicely with his gray vest and jacket, white shirt and black and white tie. Stacy credits his aunts for putting the combination together.
“I’m not necessarily here for the dress or the fashion though,” says Stacy. “It’s a business trip.”
No look would be complete without a little Vanderbilt flavor, so the players add black Star V lapel pins to their jackets.
Finally, the three Commodores are ready to tackle the media throng. And like the old motto says: when you look good, you feel good; feel good, play good.
Of course, nobody likes to lose, even if it’s just fashion.
“We compete in everything we do,” remarks Stacy as he walks with his teammates to the elevator.
“We’re winning today,” adds Rodgers.
So who gets the award for best dressed?
“[Trey’s] wearing my watch, so I think I get credit for that,” Rodgers reasons. “But I’m wearing his jacket, so I think we split.”
Wilson sees it differently.
"It’s me, hands down. It’s definitely a product of my own intuition.”