By Chadd Cripe
© 2010 Idaho Statesman
Los Angeles Times college football writer Chris Dufresne, who has rolled out his Top 25 a day at a time, just posted his story on his No. 1 team — Boise State.
About 10 Boise State football players were involved in the design process for the new Nike Pro Combat series uniforms that were unveiled Wednesday. The Broncos will wear them in the season opener against Virginia Tech. (See the uniforms here.)
The Broncos wore them for a practice Saturday night.
"I like them a lot actually," senior wide receiver Austin Pettis said.
Pettis was one of the players who met with Nike representatives. He said the players wanted more gray — last year's uniforms included several gray accents — and the phrase "Bleed Blue," which is printed in a couple spots.
The jerseys are gray, which didn't sit well with a lot of fans (see comments below).
"They asked us if we could build a jersey from scratch what would we do and we just gave them as many ideas as we could," Pettis said. "... (Gray) was definitely something that we wanted."
The players saw the uniforms for the first time about a week and a half ago. The model: quarterback Kellen Moore.
"That'll probably be the first and last time a quarterback models gear," Moore said. "... I think they look good. They're creative."
The uniforms are marketed as having better performance qualities — including lighter fabric and improved moisture handling. Junior defensive tackle Chase Baker said they lived up to that billing.
"They're pretty sweet," he said. "It's cool that Nike chose us. It's pretty special to have that going on."
Some key elements of the uniforms: The silver Bronco head logo with an orange eye is only on the left side of the helmet. The right side is blank. The player's number is on the back. There also is a touch of orange on the left sleeve. On the right, there's a Bronco head on the sleeve instead of the helmet. The uniform features some reflective touches, like the silver on the pants, that should pop under the lights. The blue shoes have orange soles. The team motto, "Bleed Blue," is on the inside of the gloves and the inside of the collar.
I talked to Julius Brown, the Broncos' director of player personnel, and Cindy Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Nike, and got a few details:
From Brown: Nike chose Boise State in late spring or early summer. Reps visited Boise once to talk about ideas with members of the staff and about 10 players. "It was a big roundtable of brainstorming," Brown said. Nike wanted to create a futuristic Bronco logo. They wanted the uniforms to be different. Nike then presented the design but Boise State wasn't able to make many changes because of the timing. The school did make a couple tweaks. "We really just wanted something that would be cool for the kids," Brown said. "I like them. I think they're different — they're totally different than I would envision." No decision yet on how or if Boise State will use them after the Virginia Tech game.
From Hamilton: The mascot was inspired by Boise State's unpredictable style of play and "the nature of an untamed horse." On the Virginia Tech game: "We like to introduce these things on a grand stage." The Pro Combat System of Dress innovations will be used eventually on a broader basis. The uniforms are 37 percent lighter than any other Nike uniforms with enhanced breathability and durability. ... Schools didn't have to pay for the uniforms. ... Schools can mix and match parts of these uniforms with past uniforms if they want. ... Silver was a big part of the uniform in part because of the reflective elements that should look good under the lights.
Here's Nike's story of the uniforms:
"UNTAMED. UNAPOLOGETIC. Boise State University.
"Boise State University’s relentless drive to win has earned the Broncos a place among the country’s
football elite. Respect for the Broncos’ rise to prominence can be seen in rankings, recruiting, media
attention, and even, in their uniforms. This year, Boise State is one of 10 top college teams to don the
innovative Nike Pro Combat System of Dress. On Sept. 6, the Broncos will open their season against
Virginia Tech in uniforms that say, yes, we have arrived.
"The Boise State Nike Pro Combat System of Dress makes a statement in Silver Wing and vivid Game
Royal, echoing the famed blue turf of Bronco Stadium. Nike designers also drew inspiration from the
school’s mascot, noting a link between Boise State’s unpredictable style of play and the headstrong
nature of an untamed horse.
"These insights show up throughout the uniform. A reflective, orange-eyed bronco-head logo is found on the right shoulder of the jersey. The same logo wraps around the side of the chrome Game Royal helmet, with the player’s number at the back lower right corner. Boise State’s incalculable style is referenced in the asymmetrical placement of motifs throughout the uniform. The cuff of the left sleeve is bound in orange. On the left knee rests a slanted block “B,” while “Broncos” appears on the side of the right leg—both in reflective lettering that will shine under the lights of FedExField.
"Corresponding gloves capture Boise State’s pride: The slogan “Bleed Blue” is used as a background pattern for a Bronco head that forms on the gloves when the palms face outward. “Bleed Blue,” a saying adopted by the players, can also be found inside the back collar of the jersey. Footwear in Game Royal and Silver Wing with orange-tipped studs completes the commanding ensemble.
"A bold expression of Bronco bravado, the Boise State Nike Pro Combat System of Dress also delivers
significant performance benefits. The uniforms are 37 percent lighter than current designs, relieving
players of extra weight in a game that demands top speed. The four-way stretch twill fabric rapidly
sheds sweat and water, ensuring that even when wet, these uniforms are lighter than their standard-issue counterparts when completely dry. Dual-density foam padding provides critical protection and
greater mobility than traditional pads for unencumbered speed. The Nike Pro Combat base layer allows for specific pad placement to suit every position, providing a highly customized solution.
"The game of football has evolved. Players are stronger and faster, collisions more forceful. For the
Boise State Broncos, the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress delivers unmatched lightweight protection
in a formidable head-to-toe package."
My post from early this morning:
The Boise State football team will wear blue pants and gray jerseys — and blue helmets featuring a large, gray Bronco head with an orange eye — for the season opener Monday against Virginia Tech.
The new uniforms were unveiled Wednesday in New York. They are part of a 10-team set of new uniforms in the Nike Pro Combat System of Dress. The uniform fabric is lightweight and flexible.
Virginia Tech also is participating. The Hokies are wearing all black against Boise State.
The other eight participating schools are Ohio State, TCU, Oregon State, Miami, Alabama, Florida, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
The schools agreed to wear the uniforms for one specific game this year. However, they can use them as they see fit after that.
Former Boise State wide receiver Jerard Rabb, who scored the game-tying touchdown on the hook-and-lateral in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, represented Boise State at the uniform reveal in New York. The press release says the “reflective, game royal Bronco head on the uniform echoes the famed blue turf of Bronco Stadium.” The uniforms include gloves that form a Bronco head when players put their hands in catching position and blue shoes with orange soles.
The Blue & Orange Store in Boise Towne Square is selling replicas of the new Boise State jerseys for $80. They went on sale this morning. The store also has hats and T-shirts inspired by the uniforms.
In the comments, please let us know what you think of the new uniforms. We might run a few of those opinions in the newspaper.
Travis Hawkes, owner of the Blue & Orange Store, told me last week that Nike went to great lengths to maintain the privacy of this program. He was shown pictures of the merchandise by a Nike representative but not allowed to keep anything.
He planned to limit knowledge of where the replica jerseys were located to himself and one other employee before opening today.
“I don’t want to be the one (to leak it),” he said.
Turns out, he had little to worry about — this program was full of leaks.
It started when Virginia Tech sent out the press release on the event in New York before anyone else. That release was later pulled off the Hokies’ website. Other schools sent out the Nike release over a span of several days.
A promotional poster showing the Virginia Tech uniforms leaked several days ago. The Boise State poster was on the Internet on Tuesday night, along with a picture of one of the helmets.
And on Tuesday, Miami posted the Nike release dated Sept. 1 on its website a day early — scooping Nike on the game dates and some details about the uniforms.
Virginia Tech senior kicker Chris Hazley competed for much more than a job in fall camp.
Hazley, a walk-on who already had graduated, was going to walk away from college football if he didn’t win the job.
Instead, he earned a scholarship and will continue his education.
“If I didn’t get the job then I guess I would have gone and looked for a real job,” he said.
Hazley, a longtime soccer player, only kicked one field goal in high school. He went to Virginia Tech as a student and walked on to the football team through an open tryout during the spring of his freshman year. He dressed for a game for the first time at the Chick-fil-A Bowl last season.
Now he’ll kick in one of the biggest games in college football this year.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m sure it will be a little nerve-racking. I’m excited to take on the challenge. It should be a great experience.”
Hazley is somewhat battle-tested. Coach Frank Beamer runs the special teams and spends the first part of practice working directly with the specialists.
“I’ve been kicking in front of Coach Beamer for three years,” Hazley said. “I feel like that will prepare me for most any pressure situation.”