Friday, Sept. 5, 2003 | 12:55 p.m.
The color is called "lightning," but some who tuned into Oregon's opener against Mississippi State last Saturday thought the Ducks' jerseys were a bit jarring.
Jake Curtis of the San Francisco Chronicle said the neon yellow uniforms with green trim "resemble space suits in a cheap sci-fi movie."
Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Times said the uniforms made the players look like "rubber ducks rather than mighty ducks."
On sports radio talk shows the jerseys were roundly criticized, except from die-hard fans.
"We thought the same thing that everyone else thinks at first. But they're growing on us I think," quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "Give them a chance. Nobody likes anything new when it first comes out anyway."
The level of attention showered on the new uniforms was such that Oregon coach Mike Bellotti fielded questions about the issue during his weekly teleconference with reporters.
"I think it's all in the eye of the beholder," he said.
Bellotti said that this was the first week he could talk to recruits, and all of them loved the bright yellow uniforms, saying "they were striking, they looked good."
The coach said quite a few of the parents liked them, too.
It is unclear whether the full yellow uniforms will ever make an appearance again. Bellotti said the Ducks have about nine possible combinations. The Ducks will wear their home greens on Saturday when they host Nevada at Autzen Stadium.
And there is one thing to be said for the new unis: The Ducks are 1-0 in them.
"We're just taking it one game at a time and the heck with what everybody else says," Clemens said. "We're going to do our best to get W's and at the end of the season nobody is going to be saying, 'Well they won a lot of games but they had ugly uniforms.' We're just focusing on the game and people can say what they think."
NGATA UPDATE:@ Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata won't be back for at least three to four weeks at the earliest, and may face surgery.
Ngata damaged ligaments in his left knee during the first quarter of Oregon's 42-34 victory over Mississippi State last Saturday.
"It's a huge blow simply because it takes away one of our true difference-makers for our defensive line, but it also hurts our depth," coach Mike Bellotti said.
The injury to the 345-pound sophomore tackle was the second blow to the Ducks last week. The team also lost senior offensive lineman Joey Forster last week.
Tests showed a torn ligament in Forster's right knee, and it was possible he could miss the season.
Given the success the Ducks had against Mississippi State, Oregon will go again to both Jason Fife and Kellen Clemens on Saturday for the home opener against Nevada. Clemens started and made 14 of 21 passes for 247 yards and three scores, while Fife was 8-for-8 for 111 yards and a touchdown in a 42-34 Oregon victory. Bellotti said if it isn't broken, don't fix it. "I feel good about the way we prepared and what occurred," he said. "And hopefully that can continue the entire season." ... Oregon has won 18 straight nonconference games at Autzen Stadium, while they have won 10 straight home openers. ... Nevada opened its season with a 24-23 victory over Division I-AA Southern Utah. Like Oregon, Nevada also employed a two-quarterback system in the first game: Andy Heiser completed 11 of 19 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Jeff Rowe was 8-for-13 for 85 yards and a touchdown.