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Tennessee QB Nico Iamaleava continues to impress no matter Vols’ outfit

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Tennessee quarterback Nico Iamaleava may end up being the best quarterback in the nation. Even if that’s the case, the redshirt freshman is going to do it his way.

That means you may need to get used to the pajama bottoms if you haven’t by now. Pajamas at the Vol Walk? Probably not, but the look may become a fashion trend if Iamaleava is close to the highly rated prospect he was projected as. If that’s the case, does anyone really care what he’s wearing to the workout facility?

“Does he walk in with pajama pants?” Mays said of Iamaleava. “Of course.”

That’s when the individuality ends. Each player is fitted with an outfit to hit the weight room or football field for workouts. If the Vols are going to make a run to the College Football Playoff or beyond, there isn’t much room for individuality.

“People don’t do that,” Mays said of wearing individual gear during workouts. “We we can’t do that. Everybody’s wearing the same.”

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It’s only a matter of time until Iamaleava is eventually ridiculed for his pants. That will likely come after he plays less than perfect. It’s easier to poke fun at a player when he’s downtrodden. However, the look doesn’t affect Mays. He knows Iamaleava has what matters – and that’s not what he’s wearing.

“I don’t really care what people think,” Mays said. “Obviously, the people that you care about, you care what they think. Obviously, people in your circle, the coaches and everything, you care what they think about you.

“Why do you care what anybody else thinks about what you got going on? You know, because really, at the end of the day, the way people think about others and the way people talk about others is just really just projection of how they’re feeling on the inside, you know what I’m saying? So I don’t really get caught up and stuff like that.”

Mays, however, has to hear about the Vols and their chances for the College Football Playoff, which will expand to 12 teams this season. Making that field is an expectation that is pervasive in Tennessee’s fans base. One loss does not define a season, as it did in the 1990’s and early 2000’s when the Vols played Florida in an always highly-ranked matchup. The winner had a great chance to win a championship. The loser had a great chance to finish second in the SEC East.

Does that make losing a big game more tolerable?

“Probably not like what the proper etiquette answer is, ‘I guess’” Mays said when asked if he expects to make the College Football Playoff this season. “It does change things up a little bit…I’ve kind of been in the playoff era the whole time I’ve been in college football, so I’ve never played a team and was like, “Oh, everything’s gone now.’ 

“Every year that I’ve played, you’ve had a chance to go do whatever you wanted, even if you lost a game. But I mean, at the end of the day, losing a big time game like that is going to be rough either way.”

Pajama pants or not.

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