Last week, we gave a hearty thumbs-up to UCLA's new "L.A. Nights" navy blue jerseys the team is wearing for its game against Arizona this weekend.
But we had no idea how much coach Jim Mora loved the new uniform combination. And when we say loved, we mean loved. Love loved. Like wanted to marry it and have 10,000 of its babies loved.
"I hope people can appreciate that I love our home uniform," Mora said. "I think it's the best uniform in the country, and we're not trying to be disrespectful at all to our heritage by wearing these, but if you think about it, we're going even further back than the Gary Beban era. So, beside the fact the numbers are blue instead of gold, it's the same thing that Jackie Robinson wore.
"It's not something that we'll do a lot. The kids get excited about it. It helps in recruiting. But I feel very strongly that we never want to go too far away from what UCLA really is, and that's our beautiful regular home uniform. But I'm excited to see them."
But Mora doesn't want the excitement over the new threads to overshadow the game, so he's having his players practice in the new helmets and the new cleats Thursday.
OK, I know that sounds strange, but UCLA never gets away from its baby blue, white and gold. So, for these navy uniforms to see the light of day is a big step for the Bruins.
"We're wearing the new uniforms, which we don't want to be a distraction, so we're going to come out here tomorrow and put the helmets on, put the shoes on," Mora said. "I've had every kid go in and get fitted. It's exciting for them, it is. But we want to put the excitement away before we get to the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. That's kind of our philosophy. We need to wear them -- they're beautiful, they really are beautiful. They incorporate a lot of what UCLA is -- the old numbers."
Even though the navy jerseys are new to us modern era football fans, Mora wants everyone to know that his new crush has deep roots in UCLA lore.
"I went back into the Hall of Fame, and I noticed that they have Kenny Washington's jersey hung up, and it's navy," Mora said. "I noticed Jackie Robinson used to wear navy when he played here. So we really are going way throwback, and it will be good."
Hey, we think the uniforms look great and we understand the love affair. As someone who grew up in the Bruins' backyard, it's nice to see them take a step away from modern tradition but embrace the history of the program with their new digs.
Now if only USC would break out those black helmets we've been hearing about.
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H/T Coaching Search
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