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  • Thoughts on Nebraska's New Alternative Uniforms

    When UCLA (an adidas school) released a new uniform yesterday, I got a hunch that we could see something different from Nebraska for their September 14 game against the Bruins.

    Today, Nebraska and adidas revealed the alternate uniforms the Huskers will wear. The set has some minor tweaks to the iconic helmet (a large black stripe instead of the thinner red stripe, a matte finish, and a facemask that transitions from red to black) although the classic sans-serif "N" remains untouched. The biggest change is a black jersey instead of the usual red. (A full slide show can be seen here.)


    So what do I think?

    I don't like them.

    Yes, I am an unabashed old-school fuddy-duddy who thinks Nebraska's uniforms are fine as they are, thank you very much. But there is more to my dislike of these jerseys than me being averse to change. My biggest objection is the black jersey, for two primary reasons:

    1. Only the defense - Nebraska's storied "Blackshirts" - should wear black jerseys. Period. Considering that Nebraska, under Bo Pelini, has not handed out the Blackshirts until the middle of the season, does it really make sense that some third string wide receiver gets to wear a black jersey before Ciante Evans and the rest of the defense? What in the name of Charlie McBride is going on here?

    2. After the defense's disastrous performance against UCLA in 2012 (36 points allowed, 653 yards of total offense, with over 300 rushing and passing) black is the last color Nebraska should be wearing against the Bruins.


    But I understand why this is happening, and why it will continue to happen. Recruiting top talent is very important, and today's kids like wearing cool uniforms like Oregon and dozens of other schools are wearing.* Black will always be a cool color for young males, as it denotes toughness and strength. Additionally, Nebraska makes nice money from their contract with adidas as well as the sales of replica jerseys and shirts. From an operational standpoint, doing an alternative uniform is as close to a no-brainer as you can get.

    *A side question: At what point does the novelty of teams wearing alternate uniforms go away for kids? I would guess that a quarter (if not more) of all D-1 schools have a mix-and-match "uniform system" with thousands of potential combinations. Beyond that, many more schools (including staunch traditionalists like Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Nebraska) have dabbled in alternative jerseys or helmets. When does the "wow" factor switch to "ho-hum"?

    My secondary complaint about these uniforms is a repeat of a complaint from last year: instead of Nebraska receiving a unique, special, and symbolically relevant design they get a cut and paste mockup from this year's adidas template. I continue to find it offensive that Nebraska's athletic apparel partner (who just signed a new contract with the university this year) thinks so little of one of their flagship schools that they cannot create something unique for them; something that no other school wears.

    Adidas - if you want to use a high profile Nebraska game to market your super fancy, inter-galactic space polymer uniforms, go all out. Show the nation that you have talented designers who can create multiple looks, instead of some guy who makes subtle tweaks to a generic template.

    A few other thoughts on these uniforms:

    • I don't care for the vertical split in the numerals. It makes me think of the uniforms a prison team would wear. Despite the mostly clean records of Bo Pelini's players, Nebraska is still living down the off-field crimes of a few former players.

    • What is the pattern on the shoulders? A first glance, it reminded me of a Bear Bryant houndstooth. What adidas should have done was used the outline of the state as their pattern, but that would have required doing something unique and outside of the approved template, so I can see why they didn't.

    • Just to show you that I'm not entirely negative on these: I love that I'll be able to read the numbers from row 47. That was a major shortcoming of last year's set.

    • Nebraska's new athletic director, Shawn Eichorst, really owes Tom Osborne. Instead of being the guy who trots out the first alternative football uniforms (and likely earned Steve Pedersen-esque ire from the fans) he is simply following a precedent that T.O. set last year.

    • As if you needed further proof that I'm old - I watched the introductory video and my main thought was "Just hold still so I can see the damn things".


    Overall, my feelings are about the same as they were last year: They could have been a lot better, but they definitely could have been much worse. In the end, my feelings about them will likely be swayed by how Nebraska plays in the UCLA game. Win and I'll probably like them a little more. Lose and my dislike will only grow.



    Dave Feit is a freelance writer living in Lincoln. Additional thoughts on the Huskers (and everything else) can be found on his blog (www.feitcanwrite.com). Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


    Comments 26 Comments
    1. The Impaler's Avatar
      The Impaler -
      Well said and I agree. BFBS, nothing more nothing less. I am all for alternate uniforms, just use some creativity with the scarlet and cream palette.
    1. IndyHusker's Avatar
      IndyHusker -
      It's for one game. I wouldn't get too worked up about it. Frankly, if they beat UCLA I'd be happy no matter what they're wearing.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Thanks for writing up a big article on how much you don't like them. Cry that there is black, cry that there isn't enough red, cry about our defense.... whatever. I bet you're one of the blue hairs in the stadium that doesn't even bother getting loud for the team.

      Personally, I'm a Huskers fan & don't care what they wear.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      So let's see an alternate uniform that you WOULD like. Tired of people griping about things without offering their own solution...
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      exactly how old are you Dave? Good lord.... give it a rest. The uniforms, for one game a year, are cool.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      These are far from ugly. And at least they aren't Maryland's. Ick.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I am an old fuddy duddy also then, cause I sure as heck wanted that guy to stand still also.
    1. Dave Feit's Avatar
      Dave Feit -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      Thanks for writing up a big article on how much you don't like them. Cry that there is black, cry that there isn't enough red, cry about our defense.... whatever. I bet you're one of the blue hairs in the stadium that doesn't even bother getting loud for the team.

      Personally, I'm a Huskers fan & don't care what they wear.
      You're welcome for the article! While I don't like them, I'm definitely not crying over them (or the defense).

      And you can ask the folks who sit in my section - I am not a "blue hair" and if anything, I sometimes get too loud.
    1. Dave Feit's Avatar
      Dave Feit -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      So let's see an alternate uniform that you WOULD like. Tired of people griping about things without offering their own solution...
      If I had any sort of design skills, I'd give it a shot. But as it is, my artistic ability peaks at stick people.

      That said, I understand your point. I think the black uniform in this mock-up is pretty good. I can't find the link, but I recall seeing some helmet prototypes that I liked too.

      Any of those would have been better than the adidas cookie cutters
    1. Dave Feit's Avatar
      Dave Feit -
      Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
      exactly how old are you Dave? Good lord.... give it a rest. The uniforms, for one game a year, are cool.
      As of this post, I am 38 years, 10 months, and 16 days (and some odd hours)
    1. Sturgis 'Sker's Avatar
      Sturgis 'Sker -
      Bob Dylan once wrote, "The Times They Are A Changin." Dave Feit had never heard this song.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Like who cares what dave felt thinks. Everyone is sooo NEGATIVE. He must have hug envy. It's what college kids want today. If we want to attract the cream of the crop. I'll whistle yankee doodle out my bhole. Christ! I'm counting the days till the Children Of The Corn take the field and all I have at the moment is some stooge who doesn't like the unis. Please game 1 hurry up so this cry baby of a writer will beef about something else like he didn't like the way the 'weiner slinger' shot his hot at someone. Husker fan for life.... Go new unis!
    1. DMHusker's Avatar
      DMHusker -
      I get the desire for something modern and hopefully inspiring. The thing is, the color red should be sacred. RED = NEBRASKA SPORTS. Scarlet RED = Husker tradition and everything every Husker who put on the uniform aspired to be. I don't think it's helpful to give tradition a week off, there aren't enough game days to throw one away. Have your alt uniform, just make it predominately RED!!! (NEBRASKA RED, not Texas Tech red) The black uniforms are badass, they're just not Nebraska.
    1. profhecken's Avatar
      profhecken -
      The uniforms look like something that crawled out of the gutter from Watts.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Dave--you really need to think about what you complain about. You make the point that the Huskers gave up 36 to UCLA last year and the defense EARN the blackshirts.. Do you think there is any DEFENSIVE MENTAL GAME going on with BLACK shirts at the UCLA game. Seriously, is ANY fan concerned about our offense scoring against UCLA or are we ALL concerned about our defense stopping UCLA. BLACK shirts are intended to conjure up nothing but support for the DEFENSE! Loving it in WyoBraska!!
    1. Chronic Lurker's Avatar
      Chronic Lurker -
      Dave,

      Seriously man, you are only 38? Troubling. You need to get out more.

      Unis are way better than last year, maybe improve the helmet but otherwise look great for a one game shot.

      I guess I'll go check out your blog, aptly? named feitcanwrite to see if there is anything there worth reading.
    1. Dave Feit's Avatar
      Dave Feit -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sturgis 'Sker View Post
      Bob Dylan once wrote, "The Times They Are A Changin." Dave Feit had never heard this song.
      I've heard the song, but I prefer "Rainy Day Women" more.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Quit whining. FFS im 50 years old and I say they look damn badass! Its just for one game , get your panties out of a bunch!
    1. Spinner4's Avatar
      Spinner4 -
      Dave either a bitter old lady is using your name as an alias or you should contact 60 minutes and try to be the next Andy Rooney... Just saying.

      Start practing the words "you know what I hate" and shaking your fist
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      The blame for a crappy bland uniform doesn't lie with Adidas. It was well documented last year that Adidas had come out with some vastly different options but the people in the athletic department (tom osborne) rejected most of the ideas because they didn't want something that was "too out there". That's pathetic, even when it's an alternate uniform, we still can't get away from the normal.
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