Uniforms In News Regarding Alabama

There has been talk about redshirts this year. Alabama got word that two men who had been injured in previous seasons asked for and received redshirt consideration from the NCAA, meaning they have another year.

Wide receiver Darius Hanks thought this was his last season because he had played a few snaps in the first game of his freshman year at Alabama in 2007. This summer he received word that he is a junior in eligibility. Linebacker Dont'a Hightower was injured in the third game of the Crimson Tide's 2009 season. He, too, has been granted an additional year, meaning that he is a sophomore in eligibility this season.

(It's likely a moot point insofar as Hightower is concerned. For NFL draft purposes, he is completing his third football season this year, which makes him eligible for the 2011 draft.)

There has also been talk of grayshirts in this Fall camp. At various times, Alabama Coach Nick Saban has announced three grayshirts – players who will be less than fulltime students in their first semesters at Alabama and work out on their own and not count against scholarship numbers. Grayshirts sign again in the next year and enter full time in the spring semester.

Earlier Saban had announced that wide receiver Ronald Carswell would grayshirt, as would two tight ends who are brothers of two offensive linemen – Harrison Jones, brother of Barrett Jones, and Wilson Love, brother of Tyler Love.

This week, with the start of classes at The University, Harrison Jones was back in practice gear. The reason is that freshman defensive end Alfy Hill has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse, owing to some of Hill's high school courses not being accepted. All this acording to Hill's high school coach.

We're even hearing rumblings that an opponent might wear black shirts against Alabama this year. Yeah, that's worked out well for opponents. Yeah.

In 2008, Georgia was the nation's third ranked team, hosting eighth-ranked Alabama, and publicized its "black-out" for the game. The Bulldogs players would be in black jerseys and all Georgia fans were asked to wear black. Coeds in little black dresses looked nice, but that idea probably died about halftime in Athens when Alabama had a 31-0 lead. Last year in Starkville, Mississippi State wore its maroon jerseys in pre-game warm-ups, then switched to black for the game in Starkville. Alabama Coach Nick Saban said afterwards he hadn't even noticed because the maroon jerseys are so dark. That was a 31-3 Alabama win.

Now there are rumors of Tennessee thinking about a black jersey gimmick when Alabama goes to Knoxville October 23.

When Shaun Alexander played for Bama in the late 1990s, he pushed for a game in which the Crimson Tide wore black jerseys. His request was ignored.

Under Saban the black jersey has significance. Players who are not to have contact—basically quarterbacks and injured players—wear black in Bama practices.

But most talk about football uniforms in Tuscaloosa these days concerns the report that the Crimson Tide will be one of 10 schools to wear a Nike Pro Combat uniform for at least one game this fall. The game in which the Tide will play dress-up will be announced September 1. Alabama recently extended a contract with Nike whereby Bama will be spending $30 million of Nike money over a seven-year period.

The suggestion is that one of the things Alabama must do in exchange for that loot is wear the uniform for at least one game.

According to Nike, the Pro Combat System of Dress uniforms are engineered to provide superior protection and durability, while utilizing advanced fabrics and tooling that reduce weight and provide moisture-wicking. But the different fabric type itself will be the primary change in Alabama's 2010 version.

By all accounts, the appearance of the Nike Pro Combat Alabama uniform will remain largely unchanged from regular Bama uniform style.

Other schools contracted to wear the Pro Combat uniform this fall include West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Florida, Miami, Ohio State, Boise State, Texas Christian and Oregon State.

A handful of schools used the uniforms for a game last year. To some, no doubt, the uniforms were stylish, futuristic, all things good. Others took the view of a North Carolina fan who wrote, "These are/were my favorite uniforms ever. Simple, classic, and conservative – reminiscent of Penn State, Alabama, Texas, and other traditional powers whose stature and pride won't allow them to be Nike's guinea pig."

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