HOOVER, Ala. — All it took were three chirps and an idea.
When “the Vandy Whistler,” as he is known, began his familiar tune during Tennessee’s Thursday night game against the Commodores, Jeff Vincent and Derek England heard a message from the row in front of them.
“‘Every whistle, whistle, whistle, we need to fire back with a ‘Go Big Orange,’” said another fan, already tired of the noise.
So Vincent and England — from Sevierville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia, respectively — obliged.
“Season tickets at Lindsey Nelson, I’ve got a big mouth,” said Vincent, who was clad in an orange feathered boa that even drew laughs from the security staff. “So that’s what we did.”
Soon enough, orange-clad fans throughout Hoover Metropolitan Stadium caught on, even to the point that the fans’ response was discussed on ESPN.
The Vols matched their fans’ effort, dispatching the Commodores 10-1.
And when Vanderbilt took the field against Kentucky on Saturday, the Whistler was noticeably quieter.
“Everybody in the SEC’s goal,” said Vincent, “is to shut him up.”
Now that the mission has been (relatively) accomplished, both fans are calling for Friday night reinforcements against a rowdy, RV-partying crowd of LSU fans.
“Listen,” said Vincent. “I hope some of Vol Nation, if not all of them, hear this: we need your help. My voice is hoarse, his voice is hoarse.
Vol Nation is the best fan base in the country. We need you guys to show up in there, loud and proud.”
The full video of Vincent and England can be seen above.
Tennessee takes on LSU at approximately 8 p.m. CT in Hoover, with the Vols starting SEC Pitcher of the Year Chase Dollander against a Tiger lineup that has averaged 14 runs in its last five games.
The winner will take on the winner of LSU-Kentucky/Vandy at 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, while the loser will play earlier Saturday with a chance to play later that night to advance to Sunday’s championship.