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Virginia unveils new football uniforms

During the past few weeks, I've seen much interest in Virginia's rumored new football uniforms. On Friday, those uniforms were unveiled. I'm not a fashion expert, so you can judge for yourself (based on my amateur cell phone photography):U-Va. football uniforms.jpg

Between the orange, blue and white jerseys and pants, Virginia has nine uniform combinations. It will change uniforms on a week-to-week basis. The team will wear black shoes -- a request by the players -- and London still is not sure about the socks.

Here's the story behind the new uniforms: the idea started with Executive Associate Athletics Director Jon Oliver, who visited Nike's headquarters in Oregon. Oliver discussed the idea with London, who was receptive toward the revamping Virginia's look. Usually, Nike needs a year in advance, but the process took quicker.

"All this is designed to give the kids what they wanted," Oliver said. "I don't think we did a uniform that was that flashy. But what we tried to do was give a unique look that kids would like, and give some flexibility so the kids could choose what to wear. I don't think we were trying to pick the jazziest uniform in the country. I don't think that was the intent. We were looking for something new and fresh that would reflect the era and that the kids would want. Because I think for the first time they were allowed to choose, 'this is the look and feel we want.' This is going to give them the flexibility for that to happen."

In talking to cornerback Ras-I Dowling and tight end Colt Phillips, the players were happy with the uniforms. They saw the uniforms for the first time just before it was unveiled to the public. Both particularly liked incorporating orange back into the uniforms. More important than how the uniforms look, though, the new material is more comfortable and better with absorbing sweat.

While the change is of much discussion for the fans, the new image was also important for London as he tries to re-brand the football program. Current players and recruits have been buzzing about the uniform recruits, and London knows the appeal updated fashion has among college students -- and what might bring a player to his football team.

"A lot of players out there will look at it, particularly young high school players, and know that, that's the school that has several different combinations," London said. "I've been coaching for a long time, and I've had kids choose a school for the food in the cafeteria, one because of the professor. I don't doubt that this will sway minds also. They could look at things and see themselves in this type of uniform."

By Zach Berman  |  April 9, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
 | Tags: Jon Oliver, Mike London, Virginia football  
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