Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Will Bob Stoops consider new-age uniforms?

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 31, 2013 at 3:55 pm •  Published: July 31, 2013

Baylor’s new neon-gold helmet was a show-stealer at Big 12 Football Media Days last week. I wrote about the helmet over the weekend, which you can read here. But just in case you think the Mod Squad look is embraced only by the newcomers to college football’s table of success, check out these uniforms from our old friends in Lincoln.

Yep, Nebraska is unveiling new-age uniforms. The Huskers will wear black jerseys that look more at home in a sci-fi movie than on the hallowed ground in Huskerland. You can see them here.

If Nebraska – and Wisconsin, and Michigan – are giving in to the trend of non-traditional uniforms, can the Sooners be far behind?

Maybe. Bob Stoops says it’s possible. He didn’t say it would happen, but he said OU is open to discussions about the possibility.

Stoops knows what a firestorm that would cause among older-generation fans. He also knows how attractive it would  be to potential recruits.

“You’re never above experimenting here or there,” Stoops said. “Some time you have a chance to do it, you never know. You know why, too, it’s fair to say.”

And here’s why. I received an email from the father of a former OU player. I thought it was interesting enough to share.

“Berry, I just read your blog on the Baylor gold helmet and the trend of being like Oregon filtering through college football. Let me tell you, my son told me numerous times the players at OU were getting tired of the same uniforms every game, and they were wanting ‘cool’ new looks (especially all the out-of-state players). And they heard many recruits say, ‘why does OU not have a bunch of cool options to wear?’

“I know, I know, I am like you. I LOVE the tradition of the OU uniforms, but you and I are not being recruited for OU. And I know there is SO much more (and more important) things to choose a college to play football at, but I am telling you it is starting (if not already) to hurt OU. Kids today LOVE to look good. (My son) said OU needs to get on the same page as OSU, Oregon, etc. or it will hurt recruiting. I know Boren, Joe and Bob will fight hard against it, but I believe it could ignite some recruiting if they could display some new modern uniforms because like the program was getting stale, the kids can sense that, too.

“I am not saying wear something new like Oregon does every weekend, but I do think OU needs to get Nike to create a couple of modern ones, or they will continue to be behind the times.”

I don’t know how serious are these player desires. Could be just 20-year-olds talking. But clearly, the new-age uniforms at Oregon and OSU and West Virginia and all over the country have caught recruits’ attention. And some tradition-rich programs have gone down the same path.

“It’s interesting that some don’t, though,” Stoops said. “Florida doesn’t do it. Georgia doesn’t do it. Alabama doesn’t do it. USC doesn’t do it. Penn State doesn’t do it. Ohio State doesn’t do it.  There’s some pretty good schools that don’t do it. Oklahoma doesn’t do it. Throw us in there.”

Now, some schools have gone to single-game special uniforms. OU has worn throwback uniforms on rare occasions.

Stoops said Nike would like the Sooners to experiment and he and the OU administration are willing to consider it. “But we garner attention when kids turn on the TV, we’re recognizable immediately,” Stoops said. “As soon as you turn it on. We garner attention through being such a brand, to a degree.”


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...
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