Typically, the locker room and players lounge are sanctuaries for the football team. It’s just them, their sweat-stained gear and a couple tables piled with food.
Last night, however, the mood elevated a bit. Right around dinner time, a camera person, a pair of media relations guys and a writer (me) came into their territory, and with us came the new uniforms.
Cam Lawrence, Tyler Russell and Gabe Jackson were called back into the equipment room to put their new jerseys on so they could unveil them to the team and take a few pictures. Now, separating the locker room from the equipment room is one long wall with a big, open window cut out in the middle.
Despite their bigger-than-usual proportions, multiple players at a time squeezed their shoulders and heads through the window to catch a glimpse of their teammates, most of them with nervous smiles on their faces like a kid tip-toeing across the kitchen to the cookie jar while mom is in the other room.
Then, out to the players lounge, where freshman defensive tackle Quay Evans was eating a plate of chicken the size of my torso, wide receiver Joe Morrow was flexing for the camera and offensive lineman Tobias Smith was walking around working the room and cracking jokes.
They were probably excited about finishing workouts for the day, too, but there was a certain air of anticipation as the guys waited to see the uniforms they’ll be putting on every Saturday this fall.
Finally, out came Lawrence, Russell and Jackson. Most of the sounds in reaction were oohs and ahhs, with the occasional “alright, I like that,” followed by lots of smiling, head nodding and looking to the person next to them to see if they were smiling and nodding their head, too.
Then came the examinations. “Hey, come here, let me look at that thing on the back.” “Tyler, let me see what that feels like.” “What does that say on the inside, Gabe?” “Cam, get over here man, let me fix your sleeves.” And plenty of, “Where is mine?”
Once their teammates got their fill, the three uniformed footballers stepped outside for a little photo and video shoot. You can see a lot more of the uniforms, with pictures, descriptions and plenty more over at HailState.com, as well as the video above, but we do have a few pictures here, as well.
You’ll notice the stripes down the sleeves of the undershirt with the banner ending. Those line up with the thick stripe on the top of the shoulder pads, with the jersey number separating the two.