Retro uni’s unveiled; Nate now 50-50, at best?

First, the new WSU uni’s are officially public knowledge. Here’s the first official picture:

Retro uni's unveiled; Nate now 50-50, at best?
Man, don’t “F” with Bruce and Braidwood! Yikes.
The story in the Spokesman is interesting, as they now suggest up to 8 different looks are possible! I like the black shoes at home, and the simplistic overall appearance. Like the equipment guy said, these really won’t be going out of style, where the crazy stripes and stuff like that, well, look very turn-of-the-century now.
Here’s the story:
PULLMAN – A few years have passed since the retro jersey craze started spreading across the nation, and it would appear that Washington State has finally come up with the most fitting answer for the trend.
Instead of selling jerseys that look like something out of a locker room from decades ago, the Cougars have decided to put those jerseys – or something like them – back into the current locker room.
WSU will be sporting a new look this fall and it is, in a phrase, old school.
Gone are the flashy stripes up the sides of the jerseys and the Cougar logos on the sleeves. In are jersey numbers, pro-block style and all, on solid-colored tops.
“That’s something that will stand the style test of time,” said Milton Neal, WSU’s director of equipment operations, the man who suggested the change to head coach Bill Doba. “This look will never go out of style. The stripes and all the stuff coming to points had run its course. Every junior high school across America looked like us, which is fine. But we wanted to change.”
Working out of their basement laboratory, or more plainly, the equipment room, Beal and assistant Josh Pietz concocted a look that’s more Drew Bledsoe than Devard Darling.
Doba’s basic requests for the new jerseys were player satisfaction and some degree of complexity (i.e. not Penn State).
And to that end, Beal and Pietz consulted with a score of current WSU players and came up with a mix-and-match scheme that would allow for up to eight different looks in every game.
“I like the plain, old-school style,” quarterback Alex Brink said. “I liked the stuff on our old jerseys, but it got kind of old with the stuff on the shoulders. And it’s good to have a new look. Those uniforms kind of personified a different team, those three 10-win teams. There’s a different group of guys in here, a different coaching staff.”
At home, the Cougars will wear crimson tops, most likely with gray pants sporting a tri-color crimson-white-crimson stripe down the sides. And on the road, it’ll be a white top with a crimson collar plus crimson pants with a white-crimson-white stripe. WSU will stick with the Cougar logo that was on last year’s helmets, with the gray base at home and the crimson on the road. The Cougars will also use different shoes – black at home and white on the road.
The eight looks for each game become possible because WSU can switch helmets and pick from four styles of pants that will work in Martin Stadium or on the road: the crimson, the solid gray, the gray with the stripe, and a white pant with a similar stripe. It’s enough to make an equipment guy’s dreams come true.
“The pants – we got options with pants, which we love,” Neal said. “(The players) were all for it. They wanted to get back to basics, where we’re not flashy. It kind of gives you that old-time feel where we’re just going to buckle it up and play smash-mouth.”
(And video gamers can breathe a sigh of relief, too; EA Sports’ wildly popular NCAA Football game will have some form of the new jerseys in this year’s game.)
Love them or hate them, the new uniforms do beg one question. Does it actually mean anything on the field? Last year, the Cougars made significant changes from their normal jerseys three times and lost two of those games. The biggest change – crimson pants at Arizona State – led to the biggest loss on the road all season.
“No. I don’t think it makes any difference,” admitted tight end and team co-captain Troy Bienemann. “But you know what they say … you can’t play good if you don’t look good.”
Now, Nate McMillan – Heard Mike Kahn AGAIN on KJR on Saturday, and while he said on Thursday that he was 75-80% certain, at least, that Nate would be back (“I can’t imagine him looking his wife in the eye and telling her they are leaving Seattle.”), well, now it’s looking a lot darker. Kahn’s estimate was, after what he was hearing early Saturday, was that it’s a flip of the coin at this point. He also heard that the starting offer isn’t going to double the $4+ million, but would start in the $6-million range, and would be for 5 years (5 years, $30 million from what he could gather). Compare that to 4 years, $16 – $18 million Seattle is offering, and it’s a pretty big difference over the life of the deal. One of Nate’s biggest concerns off the court is his son and his high school basketball career. Well, Kahn said Nate’s already been told he can use the Allen jet at his disposal during the year, and it’s one hell of a quick flight from Portland to Seattle! It wouldn’t be hard to fathom Nate waking up, having a 2-hour team practice, followed by a few hours of watching video and scouting stuff, and then leaving by 5 PM and getting on a plane to be in Seattle by his son’s 7 PM tipoff.
One other scary thing has been ownership’s constant crying poor mouth over the last few years. They have done so much of it, you would really have to have a lot of questions as to whether or not they are going to do what it takes to keep the team in contention, year in and year out. If I was Nate, this is the perfect time to get some real answers as to what the heck is going to happen in the future?
He also went on to say that Nate has been unhappy with ownership for the last year at least, and disappointed they didn’t want to talk extension at the beginning of the year. Well, at the end of the year the guy is the hottest coaching candidate around, and the Sonics came back and said “let’s talk deal” while Nate said “where were you 9 months ago??”
On the court, it wouldn’t be a huge pressure situation, with a team full of kids with a franchise that is rebuilding, Nate could really mold them in his likeness. He wouldn’t be expected to win for at least the first 2-3 years. In other words, Kahn specualted that while a lot of people scoff at the idea that Portland is a viable situation, for Nate, it might be too good to pass up.
The deadline is on or about Wednesday, and we’ll know something really quick after that.
My gut? Mr. Sonic has coached his last game in the green-n-gold. He’ll be introduced in Portland by the end of the day on Wednesday, at the latest.
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