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Deseret Morning News graphic
An artist's rendering of the new University of Utah football uniforms designed by Nike.

Utah football is getting a new look.

Fresh off an undefeated season and the Bowl Championship Series, the Utes are getting new uniforms and a slightly lighter shade of red on their helmets.

The Nike-made jerseys will sport a design similar to those of the University of Miami. The Utes plan to wear red tops and white pants at home and white tops with red pants on the road.

Senior linebacker Spencer Toone, who joined other team leaders in choosing the new uniforms, said several options were explored.

"We decided that this style would be best. I think it's going to look real sharp," said Toone, who didn't have a problem with the old look. "They were just a couple of years old. They renew them every couple of years, and I think we are about due. It was kind of cool that they let the team decide what we wanted."

New head coach Kyle Whittingham has no problem with that. He, admittedly, spends little time worrying about uniforms.

"The players chose them," said Whittingham. "And if they're happy, I am happy."

Toone said that's just the way Whittingham is.

"He could care less what we look like as long as we're ready to play and we play well," said Toone.

Toone and several teammates were consulted on the changes by Robert Wiscomb, Utah's director of equipment operations.

"We needed to replace the red jerseys (embroidered with the Fiesta Bowl logo), and this was a great opportunity to let the team, the players, decide with which style we wanted to go," said Wiscomb, who expects the new gear to arrive soon and be in place for picture day in August.

The uniforms, which have a stripe that begins on two ends in the front and stretches across the back, will include "Utah" across the front and include a breastplate with the school logo on it. Nameplates will still be included on the back.

Utah's helmets, on the other hand, will be tweaked a little bit. They'll still sport a shiny candy apple finish, but the red color has been lightened to better match the Nike red on the uniforms. The company that reconditions the helmets for Wiscomb customized a color for the Utes.

"We had a lot of people that were not happy about the helmet not matching the jersey," said Wiscomb. "So we changed the color slightly to come closer."

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Last year, the Utes chose a deeper shade of red to accentuate the finish on the helmets.

"Some people made comments about it. It was kind of hard to see. Sometimes it was really noticeable and sometimes it wasn't. People in the crowd noticed it," said Toone. "I think it's going to match a little bit better this year."

At one point in the process, the Utes considered wearing white helmets this season. That thought — prompted by initial difficulties matching the red uniform color — didn't last long.

"We talked about it. There was also a black helmet in there that we looked at," said Toone. "But we like the red."

EXTRA POINTS: Three Utes on the spring roster have been declared medically ineligible to continue playing. Injuries will sideline junior offensive lineman Steve Dahl, sophomore defensive lineman Tony Castaldi and junior defensive lineman Nik Sonntag . . . Running back Joe Johnson, a sophomore who rushed for 41 yards on 11 carries in five games last season, has asked for and received permission to transfer to another program . . . "Utah Man" John Beck, a junior walk-on from Park City, has chosen to leave the team . . . Utah's locker room at the Smith Athletics Center is being remodeled. Once complete, it will include several amenities, including a couple of flat screen televisions.

E-mail: dirk@desnews.com