Current Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2013 05:01:26 -0500
The North Carolina football team is debuting much-hyped black uniforms in tonight’s “Zero Dark Thursday” matchup with No. 10 Miami. UNC’s many uniform redesigns in recent years can partly be attributed to the Oregon football team, which has drawn national attention for its unique Nike uniforms. The Ducks will be wearing pink helmets this weekend in honor of breast cancer awareness.
Oregon football equipment administrator Kenny Farr spoke with Michael Lananna about Oregon’s uniforms and their impact.
Daily Tar Heel: The Oregon football team has become well-known for its various uniforms. How often does the team get new uniforms, and could you describe how that process usually works?
Kenny Farr: This varies, honestly. In the past we have done a total redesign of our uniforms every three years, but there have been several instances of us adding a uniform during the season. We always have two new uniforms for our Support the Troops themed spring game. We also usually introduce a new uniform style or color for our bowl game as well.
DTH: What role do you play in the design of new uniforms? What about players and coaches?
KF: We all play a part in it. Nike plays the biggest part in overall design, but they seek feedback from the players on things they are interested in and the style that they like. Nike will design the uniforms and present the ideas for the new looks to coach and some key players. From that point, modifications are requested and made, and a plan is put into place as to how and when we are going to wear the new look. I’m mostly a middle man arranging meetings and a collector of information, but my opinion is requested from time to time.
DTH: How do players normally react to getting new uniforms? Do you think the designs help recruiting at all?
KF: Our players are always really excited to see new uniforms and helmets. They have come to expect that we will push the envelope with regards to style and innovation with our new looks at Oregon. I do think that it helps in recruiting, mostly in getting kids from the south or east coast to be interested in University of Oregon football. Once they are interested and come out and take a look, the university and football program sell themselves.
DTH: UNC football players often talk about emulating Oregon in terms of playing and in terms of how they look. For example, the Tar Heels are debuting new all-black uniforms on Thursday. Do you feel like Oregon has set the standard in this regard? Do you notice other programs trying to follow Oregon’s lead?
KF: Yeah, I think we have been the trendsetters for multiple uniform combinations in college football. It seems as though almost everybody has an alternate helmet or uniform combination or two these days. I think most young football players like the premise of having a multiple uniforms and all college football teams are looking for young men who are excellent football players. When you have multiple uniforms it’s just one more appealing thing that might attract prospective student athletes to programs and create a buzz about the football program.
DTH: Do you know how many uniform combinations you all have?
KF: That’s a complicated number. We currently have six game helmets, eight jerseys, eight pants in our arsenal, but when we start adding different colored socks, cleats, gloves and decals to those uniforms, that number can get exponentially larger.
DTH: In general, how do you think new uniforms and new equipment can impact a program? Do you think they can have a large impact?
KF: I think that new uniforms generate excitement from not only the program but also the fan base. Everybody is looking for that buzz about their program and their university. Changing uniforms is one way to create that. Ultimately, though, I think that a program wants to be known for the young men that are inside the helmets — not for finish on the outside of the helmets.