CHICAGO — Micah Hyde might’ve spilled the beans on Iowa’s Nike Pro Combat uniforms.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz kind of hinted around it on Thursday. On Friday at Big Ten media days, Micah Hyde let it slip. To his credit, he did keep it a secret for four months.
The details are fuzzy, but Iowa will wear this uniform for the Purdue game on Nov. 10. It likely will be designated the Veteran’s Day game. Last November, the Hawkeyes honored veterans with a Stars and Stripes Tiger Hawk on one side of their helmets.
Plain and simple, most players love these and so Iowa is going to give players what they want. It’s also a recruiting tool, which has been an emphasis in this Ferentz 2.0 with the new coordinators for 2012 and reconfigured staff.
“I just hope we line up and play well,” Ferentz said. “I think they look good. It should be well received, I would think.”
The color silver is involved. The jersey will be different. The helmet may or may not be silver. Of course, there was no image to be had on Friday.
“I haven’t put it on yet,” quarterback James Vandenberg said when asked how he looked in a silver helmet. “It’s some sort of silver uniform. I haven’t seen the helmets yet, but it’s not black and gold, I know that. I haven’t seen the helmet, but I’m sure it’s going to be sweet.”
The silver helmet thing is unconfirmed. Paul Federici, director of football operations, and Greg Morris, equipment manager, are involved, Vandenberg said. Federici came up with the striped stadium seating chart in ’10 and the card stunt last season.
It also sounds as though players will have a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard — on their nameplate instead of their name.
Vandenberg said he has a friend who’s done two tours of duty with the National Guard in Afghanistan. “We’re going to try to represent all the branches of military service,” Vandenberg said. “It’s a great idea. The jerseys look really sharp. It’s something we all embraced.”
“Silver helmets, I think,” Hyde said. “I’ve only seen them once. I know we’re wearing silver pants, silver helmets and some black-and-gold jersey with black cleats. We don’t wear black cleats very often. I’m pretty sure we’re wearing black cleats.”
Ferentz has brushed off the Nike Pro Combat question in the past. But Oregon and its never ending combinations of uniforms has gotten national attention. Basically, everyone is doing it, so why not Iowa?
“I think it’s an awesome change,” Vandenberg said. “Coach Ferentz might not be totally into it, he’s a little more old school, but I think it’s something the players and recruits especially like to see. It means a lot to players. To be able to see those jerseys, they’re really neat and it’s kind of fun.”
Along with Ferentz’s sentiment, Vandenberg didn’t think it would make him a better player. He said that jokingly, of course.
“I think it makes Kinnick that much more rocking,” Vandenberg said. “The louder and rowdier they are, the tougher it is for our opponents.”