Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: More uniform ideas

by Berry Tramel Modified: August 2, 2013 at 9:55 am •  Published: August 1, 2013

Greg is a long-time reader, retired military guy, OU grad, with a keen sense of history. He emails me all the time, often with loads of ideas about the way the world is or ought to be. Sometimes he can think up goofy stuff. But it’s hard to have a great idea without having a bunch of ideas, so give him credit.

Greg emailed me about my OU uniform blog of yesterday, which you can read here. Here’s what he had to say:

“I don’t get it why OU’s fans believe the current uniforms are so sacred. If you look at color film of the ’50s and ’60s, there were no crimson helmets and all the text letters on jerseys, etc. I would like to see some changes, or better, more options, in the helmets, if nothing else, which could positively influence a game in OU’s favor.

“I remember playing Alabama twice in the last decade or so and especially at night, I wondered how a QB with little time to decide where to throw behind a huge O-line, and an oncoming tall D-lineman, could pick out his receiver when both teams’ helmets were about the same color. In fact, the Alabama fans I was sitting next to in Tuscaloosa thought Alabama was playing a team wearing Alabama’s away uniforms.  I guess they were surprised that Alabama did not create our look, but we had instead, copied it.  I think the QB might be helped ever so slightly if OU had a uniform variation which included a very loud, cream white with almost gaudy cream white like Baylor’s gold, if the other team was wearing a very dark colored helmet.

“In fact, I would like to see someone utilize the ability to vary the uniforms to potentially help the players and if in the process, they look good, all the better.

“I think it has some surprise effect on the other team as OU comes out in a uniform on the road no one is expecting, including our fans.

“I would like to see a shoulder pad patch(es), not large, but large enough to discern from the stands; one with a cream white border on our home uniforms with crimson background and a very distinct ’47′ in the patch. Since Steve Davis passed this year, I would consider another patch on the other shoulder with a ’5.’ Wish we could have done the same for Jack Mildren, Jimmy Harris, and Leroy Selmon (11, 15 and 93) in the seasons following their passing.  If the game is on a holiday weekend like Veterans’ Day in November, consider Kalsu and Waddy Young.

“Want to give Texas a subtle dig?  I would look up Darrell Royal’s OU jersey number and have his patch number on the same side with Steve’s this season…and then stomp their butts again.”

Now there’s some good stuff. Let’s start with the premise; Greg is right. OU’s current uniforms don’t date back to Bud Wilkinson. The Sooners did not wear red helmets until the mid-’60s. Now, I don’t think Jason White had a problem discerning between Mark Clayton and whoever played cornerback for Bama in 2003. Some of these two-tone jerseys that other teams wear (Brigham Young is the prime perpetrator) can cause confusion, but not helmets.

Still, a cream-colored helmet would be pretty cool. And Greg is right. It would be an emotional boost at just the right time. So here’s a date. Why not Nov. 7 down in Waco? National television. Fox Sports 1. Baylor will be all gussied up, I’m sure, with that gaudy gold helmet. Why not counter with a new look from the Sooners?

Anyway, let’s move on. The number on the shoulder to honor a fallen Sooner, I don’t know. I mean, it’s a good idea, but it could get political real fast and might be more of a headache than it’s worth. Do you honor Steve Davis but not Eddie Crowder? Lee Roy Selmon but not Jerry Tubbs? I have no idea how to draw that line.

As for Darrell Royal, I’ve long been a proponent of honoring Royal, but Greg doesn’t remember his number, and neither do I, so that doesn’t seem like a good idea.

But it’s a great discussion. And I sense that something will happen with Sooner uniforms.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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