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NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS: Q&A; with Paul Lukas of Uni

By Huskerlocker @huskerlocker

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We had the opportunity to chat with the man with perhaps the keenest eyes when it comes to sports aesthetics, Uni Watch’s Paul Lukas. The thread inspector spoke with us about his beginnings, Nebraska’s uniform tradition and the controversial black uniform/helmet rumors.
HL: How did Uni Watch get started?
Paul: I got the idea for Uni Watch in 1999. I'd spent most of the '90s writing about the details of various types of design -- brand design, product design, industrial design, etc. -- and it occurred to me that I could apply that same sensibility to sports.
Also, my girlfriend at the time was getting really sick of seeing me pointing at the TV and saying, "Look at his socks!" (or whatever) every time we watched a ballgame. "You know, Paul," she said, "maybe you need an outlet for this." That's how Uni Watch was born.
HL: There are schools out there who have hundreds of uniform combinations (Oregon, Oklahoma State), some with very few (Nebraska, Penn State). What do you feel motivates a team to have a handful of uniform options as opposed to hundreds?
Paul: Most teams have only two or three uniforms (that includes most teams with "normal"-looking uniforms, not just super-plain designs like Nebraska and Penn State) -- that's the norm. So what motivates the teams that have a gazillion mix-and-match options? They like to generate attention, obviously. And merch sales.
HL: When you’re watching a game, do the uniforms stick out as much as the play calling?
Paul: Apples and oranges. But let's put it this way: All other things being equal, I'd rather watch a visually attractive game. Most of all, that means a grass field -- football looks like crap on AstroTurf or FieldTurf.
HL: What’s your favorite college football team’s uniform currently?
Paul: I generally go for the classics -- USC, Auburn, Florida State, that type of thing. Also, I love the colors green and gold, so I often like Baylor's uniforms (although not this season -- those pants are a joke).
HL: Do you have a favorite helmet type? (I.E. Revolution Speed)
Paul: No. I'm not a big helmet guy. I mean, care about the helmet color, the logo, the stripes, etc., but I don't fixate on the different brands and models like some people do.
HL: Based on your aesthetic opinion, which Big Ten matchup shows the conference’s two best uniforms?
Paul: At the risk of sounding clichéd, probably Michigan and Ohio State.
HL: Of all Nebraska uniforms, which would you say are the best the Huskers have ever worn?
Paul: In 1969, many schools wore a helmet decal to mark the 100th anniversary of college football. Most of them wore it on the side of the helmet, but Nebraska wore it on the front, in the "forehead" area. I like that.
HL: If you could change one aspect of Nebraska’s current uniforms, what would it be and why?
Paul: Go back to regular jersey fabric instead of Adidas's "super-stretchy" fabric, which makes the sleeve stripes look all wavy and distorted.
HL: It seems like teams have gone with the “When in doubt, paint it black” mentality (See: Arizona State, Stanford, Georgia). What’s the allure of going “Full-Vader?”
Paul: Black is cool, black is bad-ass, black makes you look tough, etc. Or at least that's the thinking. It's always seemed ridiculous to me. If black is one of your school colors, great; if not, don't wear it.
HL: There was rumor of Nebraska wearing black helmets and uniforms this season after a Texas Tech shell with Nebraska logos affixed was seen on Twitter. Do you think Nebraska should break out some black once or twice?
Paul: See above.
HL: A hot topic when it comes to Cornhusker uniform debate is pride stickers. Most fans seem to be against this concept, but if Nebraska decided to go with them for a season as an experiment, what design would you tell them to use?
Paul: Excellent question. Hmmmm...Little ears of corn? Li'l Red's face? Eh, maybe not...
HL: Let’s say Nebraska and Adidas come to you and asks you to design a Nebraska alternate. What vision do you have for the Cornhuskers?
Paul: Ha-ha, you can't fool me with your trick questions -- everyone knows Nebraska shouldn't have an alternate jersey!
Follow Paul on Twitter for all breaking uniform news: @UniWatch and be sure to visit for tons of news and views when it comes to the latest sports threads.
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