Utah Utes football: Team, fans ready for 'blackout' game vs. TCU
When Jim Boylen became the Utah basketball coach last year, he vowed to get rid of black in the Utes' uniforms and get back to the traditional red and white.
The football team, however, is going the opposite direction, at least for a night, putting black into its uniforms in a big way for Thursday night's "blackout" game against TCU.
Fans have been encouraged to wear all black for the game and black merchandise has been flying off the shelves at the U. bookstore. Down on the field, the Utes will be wearing black uniforms for the first time ever.
Some of the Utes are excited about the black uniforms, while others are downplaying the idea.
"It's something our players are excited about and if they're excited about it, that's what we'll do," said coach Kyle Whittingham. "But we've still got to show up and once the ball's in the air, all that gets pushed aside. You've still got to play football."
The idea for the blackout actually originated from the players' leadership committee.
"It's just something the guys thought of this year," said senior receiver Bradon Godfrey. "We just got together and thought of things we can do to get people into the game and get the crowd excited."
But as Godfrey acknowledges, it's not going to win a ball game for you.
"It's a uniform and you put it on the same way," he said. "It's just a different color."
Running back Matt Asiata added, "I heard about it, but it really doesn't matter if we wear, red, white or black. We just have to come out and play and that's it."
Kicker Louie Sakoda said some players are more excited about it than others and said he was "in the middle."
"I know some players don't really agree with it because they grew up with the red and white," he said. "Then you've got some players that say it's great. It's something to get excited about and get the crowd a little more involved."
Some have wondered if the Ute players might get confused with black home jerseys, instead of the usual red. After all, one of TCU's main colors is black.
Quarterback Brian Johnson, who it might affect most since he has to pass to the right receivers, doesn't think it will matter. After all, the Utes' starters wear black in practice, so they're kind of used to it.
"I think it will be cool, it will be fun," he said.
In a way, the Utes are taking a bit of a chance with the blackout. If they don't win the game, the black jerseys may get the blame.
After having a surprise blackout in 2007 before a win over Auburn, a planned blackout didn't work so well for Georgia this year against Alabama, as the Bulldogs fell behind 31-0 on their way to a 41-30 defeat.
However, last week, Cincinnati's blackout worked against South Florida, as the Bearcats knocked off their nationally ranked opponent."We've been looking forward to it all year," said linebacker Mike Wright. "Hopefully, it will be fun and turn out great for us."
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