As many long-time readers of BN undoubtedly know, one of the biggest pet peeves surrounding our football program has been the abject failure of Chianti Dan, Morgan Center, and Adidas to provide the football team with high-quality, good-looking uniforms that honor the traditional UCLA uniform look - the proper shade of blue, full shoulder UCLA stripes, and the classic Clarendon style numbers (past discussions on uniform failures in Westwood here, here, here, here, here, and here).
But, good news is on the horizon! It appears that Adidas, having finally figured out how to get Clarendon numbering on UCLA uniforms after doing it for the Gary Beban throw-back uniforms in 2009, the all-white alternates used in that infamous loss to Southern Cal in 2011, as well as the L.A. Nights alternates from 2012, will be rolling out Clarendon numbering on our regular home uniforms instead of the generic block numbering. At least that's the logical conclusion after UCLA offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch posted this on Twitter two days ago:
Make you feel some type of way pic.twitter.com/PqENr3f5u1
— Caleb Benenoch (@CalebBenenoch74) June 3, 2014
Now, since Benenoch arrived in Westwood in the summer of 2013, the Bruins haven't worn a single uniform set with Clarendon numbers (with last season's "L.A. Midnight" alternate set featuring a stylized block number) and UCLA hasn't had anything in our traditional home blue with Clarendon in recent memory. The odds of Benenoch's photograph being a practice uniform is somewhere between slim-to-none, given that UCLA has always recycled the prior year's uniforms as the practice uniforms for the Spring Game.
Regular readers will recall there was extensive discussion of why Clarendon numbers on our uniforms would be awesome:
First, let's take a look at the alternate uniforms we've rolled out over the recent past, which began with the very awesome Gary Beban 1967 throw-back uniforms we wore against Washington in 2009, followed by the now infamous all-white alternates worn against U$C last year, followed by the all-navy blue "L.A. Nights" alternate worn last night against Arizona:
Every one of those uniforms needs to be worked into our regular rotation. The old-school throw-backs should be worn at least once a year, and we should work in the alternates on a semi-regular basis, or at the minimum, work in components of the alternates (for example, use the standard gold helmets and pants with the L.A. Nights alternate jersey). And those Clarendon numbers look pretty sweet, don't they?
Now, our football team has had some pretty sweet heritage in the old school uniforms featuring Clarendon numbers. Gary Beban won our only Heisman in that style. Cade McNown and DeShaun Foster lit the Pac-10 conference up week-in and week-out in Clarendon style uniforms, and dammit, it just looks cool:
Quick side note: we really need Adidas to get our pants the right shade of gold. Look at how much sharper DeShaun looks compared to Cade and Gary. Just saying. But I digress: the Clarendon font is pretty much the standard for our football uniform for most of our program's history and a quick glance through eBay finds you the following jerseys for sale:
Moreover, if you closely examine Benenoch's uniform, you'll notice that the uniform is made of the "super-stretchy" Adidas tight-fit material of recent vintage, and unfortunately, still features truncated half-ass "shoulder stripes" instead of full-length actual UCLA shoulder stripes. All-in-all, what that does prove is that this isn't an old uniform that the uniform guys dug out of a closet, slapped Benenoch's name on and distributed as a practice uniform. Nope, it appears that this pretty conclusive proof that our Bruins will be playing in uniforms with Clarendon numbers, which seems oddly appropriate since we're all expecting a certain #17 to put together a special, national title contending, Heisman trophy contending season, like we expected from a certain #18 all those years ago.
It's a big step in the right direction from Adidas. Let's hope they can put their heads together, maybe take some cues from Nike (who managed to figure out how to put full length shoulder strips in their modern tight-fit uniforms), and get UCLA true, full-length, honest-to-goodness iconic UCLA shoulder stripes on our uniforms. One step at a time, I suppose.