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Why Oregon's wearing blue-and-gold uniforms that say ‘Webfoots’ against Washington

This is different, even for Oregon.

Oregon gets new uniforms literally all the time. This year’s have included a comfortable, day-glow pajama look and another designed to make the Ducks look like actual ducks. They’ve been better than the 2-3 Ducks’ play on the field, for sure.

But Oregon’s new ensemble for Saturday’s game against Washington (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX) is a significant change of pace.

Oregon's new uniforms, torso Oregon Football

These look like Cal uniforms at first glance, but they’re actually a call back to a period in Oregon history before the school even went by "Ducks," and well before Phil Knight turned his alma mater into a lab for everything Nike.

Oregon put together a fun, informative presentation about why the Ducks are wearing these things this week, so we’ll put some highlights below.

First off, the obvious question: Why are the Ducks suddenly the Webfoots?

Oregon's uniforms, torso Oregon Football

That’s rooted in the past. Oregon started playing football in 1894 and didn’t have a mascot, so people referred to the team as the "lemon yellow," like their uniforms at the time. The team was still 50 years or so from become the Ducks. Instead, they started to be called the Webfoots, which sounds kind of ducky.

How’d they settle on "Webfoots"?

Simple. Here’s a quote from a local paper at the time, the Eugene Guard:

"The grounds will be somewhat muddy tomorrow, but that never stops an enthusiastic football player. In fact Webfoot boys would rather play on a muddy field than on one that is dry and solid."

Makes sense! The school started to officially use the word Webfoot in 1902, in a yearbook. The community eventually didn’t like that, and "Beaver" caught on for a bit.

Oregon went through a protracted debate about the name of its mascot. The team officially became the Webfoots in 1932, before Ducks caught on for good later on.

More from this uniform:

Oregon's new uniforms: shoulder Oregon Football

The jerseys have song lyrics on the shoulders. Those are the lyrics, the program explains, to "The Mighty Oregon March," the UO fight song that debuted in 1916.

And here’s the helmet, with an Oregon state flag:

Oregon's new helmets, with a state flag Oregon Football

This is different, but it’s different in a different way than Oregon is usually different.