GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jason Rivers and UH have been successful regardless of uniform color.
White has been right for UH
With black unavailable, UH will wear white uniforms vs. Georgia
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What's in a jersey?
Undefeated Hawaii has been successful regardless of the uniform color it has worn this season -- black or white, road or home.
Georgia got first pick of a uniform in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day, selecting an all-black scheme -- the same one Hawaii favors.
Kicker Dan Kelly has something in mind to counter the No. 4 Bulldogs.
"It's kind of an idea that (slotback) Davone (Bess) had as well," Kelly said. "You know how Georgia has their black uniforms, we were thinking like maybe just a white-out. White helmet, white jersey, white socks, white shoes."
Coach June Jones hadn't heard of Kelly's musings, but said the Warriors would go with their standard road whites.
Some players, such as slotback Ryan Grice-Mullins, don't pay it much mind either way.
"Everybody likes the black uniforms, but our whites is nice too, you know," he said. "When it comes down to it, it's just a uniform. We're going out there ready to play. Tell you the truth, that's never really been a factor to me."
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Once the hallmark of Hawaii's futility away from Aloha Stadium, the Warriors' road white uniforms have become a symbol of the team's grit and resiliency against long odds in their first BCS bowl season.
On four occasions during the regular campaign -- road games at Louisiana Tech, San Jose State and Nevada, and the home finale vs. Washington -- the Warriors pulled off comeback wins through a number of different playmakers and heroes.
There was some consistency there, however. Gerard Lewis' batted pass, Colt Brennan's rousing fourth-quarter and overtime performance, followed by Myron Newberry's interception, Dan Kelly's kick and Ryan Mouton's pick. All of that occurred when the Warriors donned their white-and-silver road garb.
Not surprisingly, coach June Jones has no problem with his Warriors wearing their roadies in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against No. 4 Georgia on New Years Day, where the Bulldogs, the designated home team, claimed their all-black uniforms as their attire of choice.
Jones has already used the white uniform as a motivational tool once this year, when Hawaii needed a win against Washington as the last step to punch its ticket to a BCS bowl game.
Junior slotback Davone Bess viewed Jones' choice to go with the light jerseys at home in their last game at Aloha Stadium as a symbol of what the team had accomplished all year long with its season on the line.
"It was a surprise, but I think the reason why he did it was because every game we had this year on the road, you know, meant something, and I guess he wanted us to finish this thing out right," Bess said. "We had some close calls in those white uniforms, but we came through and persevered."
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The Hawaii football team has celebrated five road wins and one home victory in their road whites this season.
A perfect 5-0 road record -- and eight straight away wins going back to last season -- underscores just how successful they've been with them.
Kelly and Bess had batted around the idea of going with a complete white outfit -- shoes, socks, the whole 9 yards -- in an effort to "white-out" the Bulldogs.
"If Coach Jones liked it he would approve it, and he would take care of us," Kelly said. "UH has never really shortchanged us when it comes to uniforms and equipment."
Of course, Kelly hasn't approached Jones about the idea yet. He was just playing the "what if" game.
In the past, the coach has used the uniforms to display a flair for the dramatic. In the early years of his coaching tenure, Jones used to bring out the all-black jerseys for big games in lieu of the home greens, but the latter was gradually phased out until the solid dark became the rule instead of the exception.
"Tell you the truth, players have no say with what goes on with the uniforms," said Ryan Grice-Mullins, Bess' fellow slotback. "It's all Coach Jones. When we just come in the locker room on Saturday (against the Huskies), that was our first time even seeing it ... 'I guess we're wearing white today.' That's the thing about Coach Jones; sometimes he likes doing something different. He goes with it, whatever he feels."
If Jones has anything special planned for the Sugar Bowl, he wasn't about to let it out of the bag.
"Well, we're the visiting team, so we have to wear white," he stated simply.
These days, that's no longer a bad thing.