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‘Blackout’ uniforms something to look forward to for Rebels

14 Sep , 2015,
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UNLV senior quarterback Blake Decker (left) and senior safety Peni Vea show off the Rebels’ new black uniforms during the Mountain West cheap nfl jerseys Media Days on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

On a Tuesday morning in July on the second floor of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, UNLV’s Blake Decker and Peni Vea opened their presents. Christmas came early and Santa was dressed in black.

Decker and Vea, both seniors and the Rebels’ reps at Mountain West Football Media Days, got the first look at UNLV’s new black uniforms. It’s one of three new designs — the cheap nfl jerseys china options also include scarlet and white; helmets are scarlet and gray — but black is the one that matters. Black is the one players most want and it’s what they’ll get for the first time Saturday at 7:35 p.m. when UNLV hosts No. 13 UCLA at Sam Boyd Stadium on CBS Sports Network.

“We’re probably two of the oldest players in college football, but we’re still excited about it,” said Decker, who turns 25 at the end of the month. “It gets us fired up.”

But why is that? The feeling isn’t unique to football or UNLV. In fact, it feels like a universal truth that players from the youth level upward prefer, desire and demand black uniforms.

UNLV’s men’s basketball team generally alternates its red and black road jerseys every other game but makes sure that the back-and-forth drapes them in black for cheap nfl jerseys free shipping the biggest games. A 2011 video, one of many like it on YouTube, shows Ohio Bobcat football players’ reaction to finding out their long-standing request for black uniforms was fulfilled, and it’s not unlike the Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer unwrapping a Sister Act VHS tape on a long ago Christmas morning.

As far as cheap nfl jerseys from china or uniforms go, black is so accepted as the gold standard that even some players who feel excited by it can’t really explain why.

“I have no idea,” Decker said. “It’s almost like it’s a little rebellious, like it’s a little controversial.”

Coach Tony Sanchez used myriad color combinations while at Bishop Gorman High, and nothing put a charge in players like seeing the black uniforms in their lockers. It was guaranteed to be a hit at both levels because it’s been the color choice for a specific identity throughout history.

“You think about the Old West, they dressed in black,” Sanchez said. “You think about Darth Vader, he’s in black. There’s just something intimidating about black.”

Sanchez originally told the players that their only blackout game this season would be on Halloween against Boise State. Then he went up on stage two weeks ago at Premier UNLV, a large student gathering that’s one of the university’s oldest traditions, and the crowd’s response at the UCLA announcement proved it’s not just athletes who get excited about these things.

Of course, while everyone at Sam Boyd this weekend is encouraged to wear black there won’t be any replica jerseys floating around. The new uniforms were revealed in April, several months after Nike, licensing companies and merchants determine what they’re going to have on their racks this season.

Lids has exclusive rights to sell UNLV merchandise at sporting events, so walking around the Sam Boyd concourse you will see several different T-shirt and hat designs but only last year’s red jersey design with a new number, Devonte Boyd’s No. 83. The same jersey is available at Rebelbooks across the street from UNLV’s Student Union; however, there are no football jerseys for sale at the adjacent UNLV Bookstore, which is run by Barnes and Noble College.

That should change next year, though it’s too early to guarantee a black option will be available. As long as the bottom line is a factor though it’s very likely to happen.

Lest people think the Rebels care only about their threads, Sanchez said he’s always understood the role and limits of things like new jerseys and hype videos.

“You recruit with cool and you keep with substance,” he said.

One of UNLV’s four captains, senior tight end Jake Phillips, tried to explain the jersey appeal as something that makes players feel more powerful. Honestly, though, he’d rather discuss UCLA’s defensive ends.

“Of course everyone says you look better you play better, but for me it’s just about how you play on the field,” Phillips said. “It’s not really about what you’re wearing.”

It’s true that results are what really matter, and in an effort to reach those goals UNLV should do whatever it can to help. Jerseys that players love are part of that.

As for why they love them so, sometimes the simplest explanations are the best ones.

“It’s like AC/DC man,” Sanchez said. “If you like AC/DC, you like black. We’re all ‘Back in Black’.”

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