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Tighter, lighter and altogether cooler - that was the general description of Utah's new Under Armour uniforms by Utah's football players who modeled the new duds Thursday at the Smith Center.
The Utes, who are entering a 5-year deal with Under Armour after ending its partnership with Nike, heaped praise on the new uniforms and how they fit.
"They feel better than all the other uniforms out there," running back Darrell Mack said. "The pants don't feel so tight and they stretch a whole lot. It's better than what we had."
The differences in the look are subtle with the striping on the leg changing and the numeral style. Players said they feel a bigger difference than they see.
The jerseys have a higher arm cut than Nike's and an inside seam underneath the arm allows for a snugger fit around the midsection while allowing mobility. The pants are polyester spandex without a break in the waistbands and no fly on the front. A rubber band inside the waist keeps the pants snug and holds the jersey in better than past uniforms.
"I saw them on the [video] game NCAA Football 09, but they're even better in person," said safety Robert Johnson, who modeled the uniforms along with Mack. "When I was at my junior college I was wearing more Under Armour than Nike and I'd have to spend money to buy it. Now that Utah has changed, it makes it even more better."
The plans are for Utah to wear red pants and jerseys at home and all white on the road, although they can be mixed, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
"That will all be a leadership decision," he said.
Whittingham didn't rule out the idea that Utah would wear black at some point this season. The players have been pushing for a black getup, going so far as to pass around a petition asking for one.
"We are kicking around the idea of a black uniform, that is still in the works," Whittingham said. "If we do go that direction, it will be a special occasion. We're never going to become a wholesale black uniform team, but there might be an opportunity if we go forward with it this year."
The last time Utah tweaked its uniforms was three years ago, but that happened when the Utes were with Nike, so the change wasn't as big as the switch to Under Armour. The company is providing the team with practice gear, sweats, shoes, gloves and other accessories. The gloves have a better grip than their past gloves, the players said. Also popular are the cross-training shoes they wore Thursday.
"They are doing a great job with all their stuff," Mack said. "The shoes, especially, is a great shoe. It's comfortable and so are the cleats. I never really wore any Under Armour, but they are doing a good job."
Quarterback Brian Johnson recently returned from a camp in Louisiana and said his shoulder is completely healed. Johnson, who hurt his shoulder in the first game of the 2007 season, was limited by the injury throughout the season and into spring practice.
"It feels great," he said. "There were times in the spring when I was thinking, 'come on, come on, get better and it wasn't. I've been working hard this summer and it feels great."
Viliamu Nau, a 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive lineman from Mt. San Antonio College has signed a financial aid offer with the Utes and will join the Utes for the 2008 season. . . . JC signees Dudley LaPorte, Aiona Key and David Reed still are finishing academic work and will hopefully join the Utes in August, according to Whittingham.